Bite the bullit
Suga Bullit‘s beats are back and a name change wasn't enough to throw top sleuth Fiona Shepherd off the trail to the dance ﬂoon
Four years ago The List put a rising Edinburgh dance posse on the cover under the banner ‘Sugarbullet: The Beat That's Sweet To Eat‘. They were. it was mooted. ‘a punk band who play dance music‘. They took their name from the Maoist saying about shooting ‘sugar-eoated bullets‘. They didn‘t ignore the drugs and deprivation on their doorstep but they took an idealistic stance on wider issues too and deliyered their eclectic expressions via their assured debut album Ulll'tf/lllt’d. a collection of songs which could have had the impact of a Tricky or a Poitishead album. or at least have mirrored the considerable success of Glasgow‘s ()ne Dove.
Howey er. Sugarbullet responded by doing a Stone Roses. retreating into a world of contractual wrangles and lawyer-led litigation. and like One Dove (now minus l)ot Allison with a batch of recordings in limbo) generally taking their time over their world domination enterprises. Never ones to bow to a large company's idea of a commercial direction. Sugarbullet found themselves alienated and then dropped from Virgin Records. They continued writing. collaborating and
doing the occasional gig and somewhere along the line there was a name change to Suga Bullit.
‘lt‘s more cartoony.‘ explains Seanie B. aka Shaun .\-'lc(‘abe. keen snowboarder and unoll‘icial spokesperson for the Suga Bullit conicderacy. ‘We‘ve always wanted to be a hit more abstract. ll~ we had our own way we wouldn't have band photographs: we‘d have cartoon characters. and it's developed into that because we've had time to play around with ourselves and from the hip hop tag scene. \Ve're just trying to get cheekier.’
‘We’ve always wanted to be a bit more abstract. If we had our own way we wouldn’t have band photographs; we’d have cartoon characters.’
During their time on Virgin the group was marketed neatly as a core trio .\lc(‘abe. Kenny MacLeod and singer l//.y Coonagh — with some of their chums in the background. Tracks were to be song-based. with plenty of lyrics and singing with instrumentation held. to an extent. in check. Other Edinburgh pop-based dance acts like The Chimes and Botany 5 were cited as kindred spirits.
The reality is slightly different. Today's Suga Bullit experiment more with mixes. Their current single consists of eight tnixes of their track live And l)irect‘ ranging from breakbeat to soull‘ully ambient and demonstrating the true reach ol‘ their musical ambitions. Izzy is still very much on board but the extended Suga Bliliil family includes rappers and
Suga Bullit’s creative spark
remixers and connections with like- minded outtits like (‘oco 6'; The Bean.
‘\\'e prel‘er things to be homegrown. to
come from our backyard.‘ says .\lc(_'abe. ‘lt is a collective but it‘s a solid collective. lt's open to fresh ideas but it knows its direction and we're working towards that.‘
(’omparisons with Bristol‘s the Wild Bunch - the Massive Attack we know and love today -- has certainly not escaped Suga Bullit.
'l'idinlmrgh's at that level where it‘s a city but it's small enough for everyone to know each other or know someone you know.‘ says McCabe. ’lt’s like Bristol in a lot ol‘ ways - same kind of vibe. same kind ot‘environment. same kind ol‘ people. You‘ve got a lot of working-class people surrounding a minority in the centre with money. lidinburgh's like that. it's really cultural but at the same time there‘s a lot of people who've got nothing and they've got to striye hard.‘
True to the generally laid-back nature of their recordings. Suga Bullit are taking their time preparing for the release ot‘ their album. The cake‘s been baked but they're going to hold oil before icing it. MeCabe is adamant that that will not be a summer job. He wants ‘to be out there in the summer‘. However. he feels that the sabbatical from the public eye is coming to an end.
‘All our ideas are coming together at last without having a record company saying “I think you should be doing this because it‘s the commercial way to go" because l think it something can believe in itself. in time it will pay for itselt‘.‘
.S'uyeu Bill/[I is new single. ‘IJ't‘e xim/ /)I'I'('('I' is will Itmi'.
um:— T for you at Strathclyde
Glasgow’s got the bends: Thom Yorke's Radiohead headline at T In The Park
T In The Park looks all set to build on the success of last year’s two-day sun-tilled frolic in Strathclyde Park. The planning is at an advanced stage, many oi the bands have been booked, Japanese noodle makers are working flat out and the event’s organiser, Stuart Clumpas, has put in a repeat order for the scorching weather which helped make T In The Park ’95 such a stormer.
As you might expect, the guiding ethos has been to create an event which is bigger, better, wider and deeper even than previous outings. There are five stages this time around to last year’s tour: King Tut’s Web Web Hut/"ME stage has split into two separate entities; the main stage and dance tent will continue to showcase the best of music’s big-hitters and breakbeat tixers, while a new addition rides into town in the form of the ceilidh tent, a forum to show the rest of the world that the modern Celtic music scene has more in common with the wildest tribal party than the half- assed tiddles and fusty sweaters of stereotype.
The bands contirmed so far run the gamut from unsigned acts such as Oasis tribute band, No Way Sis, to stadium tillers like Pulp and Radiohead. In between the two extremes of size there are equally large differences in types of music with the likes of the Saw Doctors in one corner facing up to the oft-the- wall talents ot Beck and The Amps in the other. Teenage Fanclub lead the Scottish contingent’s charge while the tabloids will be mounting their own charge to get at Keanu Reeves and his band, Dogstar.
important as the music is, there are other reasons for heading along on the weekend of 13/14 July. Watch out for the return of the skateboarders, an Internet tent, movies, performance art, games and the stomach-churning delights of the tairground. It’s gonna be a big day out.
See back ca war for full list of continued bands to date and ticket inlamratian.
The List l9 Apr-2 May 1996 39