Tenement Records founding father Riley Briggs:
‘Aberfeldy is my band…It started with some sad songs I wrote after my partner left me and moved with the kids to Dumfries & Galloway, around the same time that my previous band (a synth/prog musical homage to Erich Von Daniken called “Firestone-Legend Of The Hawk”) broke up amid some acrimony. I got a regular gig playing for peanuts at the infamous Royal Oak pub in Edinburgh and also formed a Zydeco band – once we performed, unwittingly, for some minor Japanese royalty; another time for JK Rowling. Neither got the rounds in. Better was when a tipsy fiddler called Sarah from Orkney heard me sing and offered to form a band with me. She may have got them in, I can’t remember.
I got in touch with my old friend Ken, whom I had met years earlier via a music shop ad (“Wanted – Bassist For Punk Band”). We never got the punk band together, but he did give me his spare vinyl copy of “Marquee Moon” on our first meeting, an act of cultural altruism I have never forgotten.
Ian joined on drums-he had form, used to be in WIN! (“You’ve Got The Power” etc). I can’t remember how we met – pub, I’d guess.
I also got to know Jim around this time-he had a recording studio and I had songs, so we all got together and let the magic happen. After a few sessions, we thought another girl was needed, so we found Ruth, who worked in the bar connected to the studio, and an album began to take shape. For long-forgotten reasons, we thought that recording everything in one take around a single microphone, in mono with no overdubbing was a reasonable way to work in the 21st century. The album took a year to complete. Rough Trade(!) records heard it, dug it, signed us on the spot. That album was 2004’s “Young Forever”, now widely regarded as an instant classic.
Timing was spot on – the world was alive to the “New Sound Of Young Scotland” (Franz Ferdinand) and wanted more! We played at SXSW festival, where we discovered Paolo Nutini and put a good word in for him. We travelled the world, also giving a leg-up to James Blunt and the Scissor Sisters. Ian left, Murray joined.
Rough Trade wanted more “product” to sell, so we cracked off a second album (“Do Whatever Turns You On”,2006) in record(!) time and well under budget. However, our use of illuminatti symbolism in the video for “Hypnotised” ruffled a few feathers and, heartbroken, the label set us free, their hand forced by sinister controlling interests.
By now, the famed excesses of “the road” had begun to take their inevitable toll, and Ruth and Sarah said their goodbyes. The band line-up evolved gradually to include Chris, Kirsten and Poppy, as a third album (2010’s “Somewhere To Jump From”) took shape. This line-up proved unwieldy, so we wisely slimmed back down to a three piece (or “power trio”) and, at time of writing, are formenting our fourth.
And the name? I named it after the Perthshire town where my granddad kept a static caravan. I stayed there one summer while my parents separated.’