5 The lib — :39 Septeiiiber 1988
Unlike many Scottish bands who have been signed to major London labels. the Indian ('iiy'ers‘ haven‘t had the benefit of a protracted buzz in the music press or the industry at large. the main reason being that they were snapped up by Virgin Records a scant few months after their first gig. and haye played feyy liye dates since then. 'l‘hcir prompt deal is made that bit more remarkable by the fact that alter the first few dates the group was disbanded by its singer and founder Nigel Slcaford. and a completely new one put together in its place. their debut. in late February at
lidinburgh‘s newly-opened Mecca of
style. 'l‘he (‘ity ( ‘afe. \\ as a low-key affair. with few of those present knowing what to expect. A contriyed ja// pop group seemed the most likely. nothing that would disturb the patrons or the bright btit cold afternoon too much. Sure enough. they began to play in a cool. loyx -key style. \y ith ia/x being an obvious influence in some of the chord y oiciiigs and moods. moods yy hichl noticed. as the set progressed. were getting uiisettlingly near the bone. the heart of the beast appeared at first to be a temperamental sequence r pulsing ayy ay the musical patterns at the back of the ‘stage'. and its patterns complemented the clean white lines of the decor. the musicians at first appeared merely to be filling in the parts that had been left otit of the mighty key board's memory.
'I‘hat left the singer. Nigel Sleaford. a slight. bespectacled figure in a dark suit. and the songs he'd \y ritten. It quickly became quite clear that the music was more than iust accoiiipanimcnt to the tasteful decor. and more than iust bits and pieces pinched from obyious sources. .-\s a body of songs they had an identify all their on n: the sort of bittersyy eet. dt’aiiia-ladcn pieces that become cherished company in late nights. pcrceptiye and sometimes painful pieces.
Most important. Sleaford sang about feelings. atid yyas using his skill yy ith \yords to get them across. not as a means of erecting a barrier to hide behind. lines like ‘I .oy'c is best made \Vith the rent paid‘ could both raise an appreciatiye smile and a sigh of recognition. Here “as a songyy riter of not inconsiderablc talent.
'l‘hc (’ity' (‘afc line-tip yy as only c\ cr meant to be Nigel and a collection of helpers. Not long altei‘. he disbanded it and put together a group n hich yyould \y ork as a tight unit to interpret. arrange and contribute to his songs. .-\lso in the audience that day was .'\\ i'il. yy ho at the titite yyorked for the pop management firm Schoolhouse. and is noyy enioy ing the rare asset of haying experience on both sides of the business. She had sung. in a strictly non-creatiye supporting role. for lidinburgh bands like Bananas and l).(‘. Iillis. but yyas ‘completely knocked out' that afternoon.
“l'hey \yere iust completely original. completely different. I still can't fitid a band that I can compare It's quite eitibat‘assing. actually.
Spotted by The List earlier this year. The Indian (iiyers have just been signed up by Virgin. As The List presents its second Rock Report. detailing what‘s on offer for young. rising bands (page '.".’). Mab talks to Indian Giy'ers‘ lead singer Nigel Sleaford. They appear in Edinburgh on 28 Sept.
when people ask yy hat it's like. because I can't e\'en find a combination of bands that I can say it‘s like. 'l'hat‘s yy‘hat knocked me out. And him ( Nigel ). He looked so powerful. I mean. iioyy he’s calmed doyy ii a lot. but on that particular day. yy ith ncrycs and ey crything. he yy as iust larger than lifcf
\\'ith .-\y ril. guitarist Simon (the archetypal bedroom musician. this is his first band) and the addition of real the drummer ( ’ieorgc (he of the shayed head and long limbs). and Nigel picking up a bass. the Indian (iiyers haye reached the ideal that they'y‘c been steadily moy ing towards: the familiar stage image of a 'real band‘. It's a subicct that‘s
been discussed with great
importance in any talks he had ys ith
any of the members or their manager. and .-\\'ril is certainly glad ofthe opportunity to contribute to a band‘s music at last.
‘\\'e’t'c taking so much out of the sequencer and putting it into real liy'e performance. We had to restructure ey'ei'ythiiig aiiyyyay . so it is more like a real group in terms of structure and style.‘
When not performing. Nigel Sleaford speaks thoughtfully iii a
Northern burr he hasn‘t lost after nearly a decade in Scotland. Any questions about his group yy ill be met with a conteiiiplatiye examination of the issues and the rationale behind their decisions. ('onsequetitly you I can learn a lot about the man and his l music in a short time. but it doesn’t l
make good Smash Hits copy. the photo session for the [.in coy et' goes superbly. but Nigel frets oy er yy hat his musician friends \inI say about the glamorous image.
A feyy nights after I speak to .’\y ril. Nigel will expand on the perception of the Indian ( iiyers as a band after the session lccl of What he describes. yy itliout taking a breath. as 'the first line-up ofthe current incarnation of the liidiaii (iiyei's'. 'l‘he ‘yyork stations" of key boards. the large drumkit iii the centre. the onstage amps Vibrating the air betyyeen the I performers. ey en taking into accountl the acceptable leyels of harmonic distortion that causes. He seems l
almost too concerned that his songs need the sugar of a recognisable rock-based presentation to .s\\ ectcn their consumption by audiences.
'ch. it is \y ith the audiences expectations in mind. the reason being to present the material to as sympathetic an audience as possible. We yy ant them to be sufficiently open that they can hear and like the songs. then. yeah. rightly or \y rongly . you lime to make some compromises to their expectations of yy hat they yyaiit to see yy lien they 're looking at someone on stage. By and large. it‘s at least reasonable to expect the semblance. ys ell. the reality of people playing the music. \Ve're not gonna hide the fact that there‘s a machine doing things. but then that ptits us in the same camp as ey cryonc else these days.‘
But before any misunderstaiidings arise. ‘Al'ltc aim yy as ney ct' to \\ i'itc mechanical music. the aim \y as to \y rite music using machines as helpful tools'.
'I'ltc second demo. made at l’alladium Studios \y ith the hen line-tip. proy ed to bc a killer. giy itig Nigel's soiigsa more sympathetic backing. and intense peaks they hadn't knoyy it before. .»\ \ci‘sioii of ‘l .oy'e ( ‘oinc l)oyy n‘ syyclled otit \y itlt a pulsing synthbeat and tremendous keyboard flourishes comes across as a Dionysian fren/y in the company of such glacially beautiful moments as ‘I lead I Iappy‘. Virgin shy R scout Danny Van Iiiiiden (despite the first name. one of the feyy Aek R \sonieii ). came up to l'idinburgh to see the (iiy crs perform at the .-\ssembly Rooms.-\II)Sbenefit hcrcompany had originally been alerted to the (iiy ei's' existence by a lay ourablc \y rite-up in The /.(\I earlier in the year \y as giy en a demo. and as she droy e back doyy It to l.ondon l'eyytitind the tape oy er and oy er again. listening to nothing else. In the time I‘d got back.‘ she says. ‘I ' kiieyy this “as something I'd hay e to see Simon Draper ( \irgin .\Il)l about first thing on Monday iiiorning.‘ '
When the baiid “we actually signed. copies of the demo \yct'c giy en to all heads of department as a
matter of course. the response from all of flicm \\ as unusually
? enthusiastic .\|thoiigh the fiist
single \yoii't be out iiiitil .laiiuai'y . the company kiioyy tliey‘ic on to a \yiiiiiei‘. It‘s impossible to extricate fioiii the l Indian ( iiyeis the sti iking figure of then manager I )a\e Raiiisdeii. \\ ltitsc tlc\itlliifi lit the band fuels and is fuelled by his siiigIe-iiiiiided energy to do the best for them that lie