Aberdeen rapper M2 ready to drop new track 'Local Shop'

Masked Aberdeen rapper M2 is ready to ring bells with the upcoming release of his second single, Local Shop, scheduled to drop this Friday, 9 June.

Local Shop showcases M2's unique approach, combining his distinct flow with hard-hitting lyrics that leave a lasting impact. Drawing comparisons to Abra Cadabra from OFB and displaying similarities to the late rapper Pop Smoke, M2 exhibits an undeniable talent for delivering compelling verses.

Speaking about the release, M2 was typically understated and hinted that even better releases are in the pipeline. He said, "Local Shop was written a long time ago, but I've just decided to release it now so that my fans can enjoy it while I cook up some more fire stuff."

That perfect complement

Accompanying the release is a music video shot and directed by Gary Melvo, with assistance from Matty Lusher from Between The Lines Prod. The collaboration promises a visually captivating experience that perfectly complements M2's musical style.

Filmed in Aberdeen, the video captures the raw and gritty essence that defines M2's music. With its urban backdrop and captivating visuals, the video perfectly complements the energy and authenticity of the track.

M2's future looks bright

M2 burst onto the scene with his impressive debut single, "Bambino," leaving listeners eager for more. As a rising star in the Scottish drill scene, he's gaining recognition for his talent and unique style. With a growing fanbase, M2's future looks bright, and his upcoming releases are highly anticipated.

As M2 continues to make a name for himself, fans can expect big announcements and exciting developments throughout the year. So keep an eye on this emerging talent as he solidifies his place in the Scottish music scene and beyond.

Hours lead Tzusan and Shogun on Scottish tour

Hours, the Aberdeen Hip-hop platform known for championing music from the North East and beyond, has just revealed news that'll excite Scottish hip-hop enthusiasts. Acclaimed artists Tzusan and Shogun are embarking on a highly-anticipated nationwide tour across Scotland this summer, showcasing their incredible talent to audiences country-wide. They'll play Captain Tom's in Aberdeen on 24 June.

Shogun, a platinum-selling Scottish rapper, has already made a name for himself in the music industry. His impressive skills were showcased on BBC Three's The Rap Game. This further solidified his status as a rising star in the hip-hop scene.

Unique styles and captivating lyricism

Joining Shogun is Tzusan, a contemporary MC/Producer whose solo release in 2022, titled "WSPSNSYRP," garnered international acclaim. He even secured a nomination for Best Hip-hop at the Scottish Alternative Music Awards (SAMA).

The tour is dedicated to promoting their highly-anticipated collaborative album, "Lead Wetsuit Schematics." This album promises to be a compelling blend of individual talents, highlighting their unique styles and captivating lyricism.

"Lead Wetsuit Schematics" boasts an impressive lineup of guest artists, including the renowned Grime artist Manga Saint Hilare. Additionally, Sonnyjim, a collaborator of the legendary MF DOOM and Jay Electronica, also contributes to the album. A real boost for this musical collaboration.

Vagrant Real Estate | co-founder of HOURS | Photo by Chris Sansbury / POST

A dynamic and thriving music scene

The tour will see Tzusan and Shogun performing in several key cities across Scotland, including Aberdeen. Audiences can look forward to the electrifying energy of these two talented artists.

For those eager to be a part of this remarkable journey, tickets for the shows are now available for purchase through Eventbrite. This is an excellent opportunity for Scottish hip-hop fans to immerse themselves in the dynamic and thriving music scene, supporting these exceptional artists as they embark on their Scottish tour.

With Tzusan and Shogun joining forces and taking their music on the road, the Scottish hip-hop scene is poised for an unforgettable summer.


Straight Outta Mannofield: Aberdeen music scene supports young people

POST readers know that Aberdeen has a rich music scene. But now it's coming together to support a local community group. Mannofield Explorer Scouts, an Aberdeen Scout group, has taken the initiative to create a compilation album titled "Straight Outta Mannofield."

The project aims to raise vital funds to provide unforgettable experiences for the youth while showcasing the incredible talent of local musicians. Set to be released on 30th June, the album features 20 renowned artists from Aberdeen and the northeast, including The Xcerts, Cold Years, and The Little Kicks.

Best Girl Athlete

Exclusive, previously unreleased tracks

The compilation album, available for pre-order on http://mannofieldesu.bandcamp.com, encompasses a range of genres, from indie and rock to alternative, jazz, blues, and folk. It showcases established acts that have toured the world and emerging artists, offering listeners a snapshot of our remarkable music scene.

"Straight Outta Mannofield" promises a great musical experience, with exclusive, previously unreleased tracks by artists such as The Xcerts, Best Girl Athlete, The Lorelei, CS Buchan, and Wendell Borton. This compilation is a celebration of local talent and a testament to the dedication and generosity of the artists who have donated their songs to the project. Their support demonstrates the power of community and the impact that can be achieved when people work together.

The Xcerts | Photo credit Zak Pinchin

Incredible opportunities for young people

The brainchild of Mannofield Explorer Scouts' leader, Eoin Smith, "Straight Outta Mannofield" is the result of a collective effort. The Explorers actively participated in the album's development. From the album's title and artwork, designed by Explorer Scout Lewis Bodkin, to the selection of tracks, the young people were at the forefront of creating a project that truly reflects their experiences and aspirations.

The funds raised through this compilation album will play a crucial role in supporting Mannofield Explorer Scouts' mission to provide incredible opportunities for young people in Aberdeen. As the largest Explorer Scout Unit in the city, they bring together over 30 individuals aged 14-18, offering a youth-led program that fosters personal growth, friendship, and skill development. Especially in these challenging times, where the pandemic has emphasised the need for safe spaces and engaging activities, the role of Scouts in nurturing resilience, self-expression, and a sense of community has become increasingly important.

Cold Years | photo credit Adina Scharfenberg

Immense musical talent

"Straight Outta Mannofield" not only showcases the immense musical talent of Aberdeen but also serves as a testament to the power of collaboration and the dedication of Mannofield Explorer Scouts. By pre-ordering the album or donating, you can support this fantastic cause and contribute to the memorable experiences that will shape the lives of Aberdeen's young people. Celebrate the remarkable music scene of the northeast while investing in the future of our community.

For more information, follow Mannofield Explorer Scouts on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

New Chef the Rapper Payday delivers spectacular summer vibes

Chef The Rapper has announced the release of the single Payday featuring Katherine Aly this Sunday. The highly anticipated track drops this weekend and is already making waves. We think it's going to put a smile on your face.

Continuing his rise following his BBC Introducing Scottish Act of the Year nomination in 2023, Chef The Rapper plans to release a new single every month for the next year. Payday is just the first. It's worth noting that this track earned Chef his prestigious nomination and has gained him airtime on BBC Radio 1.

Funky bass-line

We love the irresistible combination of Payday's funky bass-line and uplifting disco synths. These elements create a playful and cheeky anthem that celebrates the joy of embracing life. Chef's energy combines with Katherine's jazzy vocals to create a dynamic flow that shines throughout.

Chef The Rapper is rightly thrilled about the release of Payday. He shared his excitement, saying, "Everyone who listens to it has a smile on their face…nothing can make me more proud than making people smile." The song has been teased on Chef's social media platforms, generating significant interest and anticipation. Chef has been performing the track to packed-out venues in Aberdeen and Edinburgh. He's also been making waves at Tallinn Music Week in Estonia.

Chef the Rapper continues to impress

Bruno Mars and Pharrell fans will know just what to expect with this track. Chef the Rapper continues to impress with his impactful delivery and charismatic presence. This blend builds a vibe guaranteed to put you in the mood for an epic night out.

Stay tuned to Chef and Katherine's social media channels as they unveil a series of content related to the creation of Payday. From behind-the-scenes glimpses to new covers of popular songs and playful reaction videos, their upcoming releases promise to keep you engaged and entertained.

You can pre-save Payday, so it's ready to listen as soon as it's released.

Monza Express announce catchy new single 'Back of The Queue'

Aberdeen-based band Monza Express has announced the upcoming release of their latest single, Back of The Queue. This new track, released on 2 June, combines nostalgic 60s-inspired sounds with a modern twist, drawing influences from iconic bands like The Beatles and The Stone Roses. Monza Express has garnered a dedicated following in the city. The band have also signed a new record deal and are ready to make their mark.

Singer Fraser Bateman, who wrote Back of the Queue, explained that the track is about moving on. He explained that it was about "accepting getting a bit older, things changing around you, leaving things behind or being left behind. The starting lyrics were based on my daughter wiping her hands on my T-shirt when she was a toddler.

"It’s the first time we’ve used a harmonica on a track and it fits really well. We’ve opted to tie the release in with our Cavern Club set. The single will drop 15 minutes before we hit the stage and we're buzzing for it."

A Blend of Influences

Monza Express is a five-piece guitar band that skillfully blends influences from various musical legends such as Oasis, The Who, Foo Fighters, and David Bowie. Their diverse inspirations enable them to deliver a unique sound that resonates with classic and contemporary rock fans.

Drawing from the golden era of Crosby, Stills & Nash and the revered Teenage Fanclub, Monza Express brings a refreshing fusion of styles to their performances.

Photo by Darren McAllister / DMCaptures

Growing Recognition

With a track record of wowing local audiences, Monza Express has steadily gained momentum and recognition. Their single, 'Back of The Queue,' has been a staple in their live set since 2021, consistently receiving an enthusiastic response from fans.

As streaming numbers continue to climb, the band's talent has caught the attention of Floortom Productions. The local indie label signed them up. This exciting development further solidifies Monza Express as a rising force in the music industry.

Eager to expand its reach, Monza Express plan to take its music beyond Aberdeen's borders. Next month the band is scheduled to perform at the world-renowned Cavern Club in Liverpool. This opportunity signifies Monza Express's growing reputation and the demand for its captivating live shows.

The next step for Monza Express

As Monza Express gears up for the release of its latest single and prepares to make its mark on the global stage, its blend of influences and infectious melodies promise an exciting musical journey for fans of all ages.

Their recently signed record deal and upcoming performance at the historic Cavern Club show Monza Express is primed to captivate audiences far and wide.

Back of The Queue is released on 2 June on Floortrom Production. You can pre-order it here.

New track inbound from Yxng STUNNA

Always keen to share new work from Aberdeen musicians, we’re excited to tell you about a new track from rising rap sensation, Yxng STUNNA. His upcoming single titled "Exit" is slated for release on April 28th.

Originally from Lagos in Nigeria, Yxng STUNNA has been making a name for himself in the Scottish rap industry, and "Exit" is a powerful and emotive track that showcases his lyrical flow. The single, which has been mixed and mastered by STB Productions, will be available on major streaming platforms such as Spotify and Apple Music.

"Exit" marks Yxng STUNNA's second release of the year. His previous work has garnered critical acclaim, and his growing popularity has earned him a strong following among rap enthusiasts. But that's not all - there are rumours of an EP or Mixtape in the works, which may feature exciting collaborations with Anas84, a Spanish artist, and "Drako," an Atlanta-based rapper known for his work with industry heavyweights like Lil Baby, Moneybagyoo, and Quando Rondo.

With his undeniable talent and ability to switch hip-hop styles, Yxng STUNNA is definitely an artist to keep an eye on. Mark your calendars for April 28th, as "Exit" promises to be another impressive addition to his growing discography.

You can pre-save the track here.

Rise Up! returns to celebrate Black and People of Colour creatives

Rise Up!, a two-day festival celebrating Black and People of Colour creatives in Aberdeen and Scotland, will return next month. The festival takes place on 5th - 6th May. It'll be hosted at the Music Hall and The Lemon Tree and is curated by We Are Here Scotland, commissioned by Aberdeen Performing Arts.

Rise Up! is a celebration of unity, creativity, and expression. It promises to be a bit of a feast for the senses with an exciting program of events. The festival will showcase the talents of Black and People of Colour creatives from Scotland and beyond. The festival's events will begin with a keynote speech from Yahya Barry, a leader and consultant in culture, heritage and the creative and screen industries.

Rise Up! Festival Poster

Rise Up! features diverse performances

One of the festival's highlights is a cabaret kicking off the weekend's performances on Friday, 5th May. The event features diverse performances. These include poetry from acclaimed Scottish writer and performer Courtney Stoddart, a comedy set by the hilarious Safeena Rashid, and a dance piece by international talent Dorine Mugisha.

Rise Under debuts on Saturday, 6th May. It's a new strand of the festival aimed at 12-17-year-olds. It will include workshops exploring filmmaking, music, and screenprinting, hosted by rising Aberdeen musician Chef the Rapper, film practitioner Sara Stroud, and visual artists Caitlin Dick and Phoebe McBride. There will also be an Open Mic showcasing new talent in music, spoken word, poetry, and creative expression, hosted by Aberdeen poet and spoken word artist Mae Diansangu.

Workshops and panels

Rise Up! also offers workshops with decolonisation and pro-liberation coach Ravideep Kaur, and widely published writer Andrés N. Ordorica, who will explore the power of friendship in 'An Ode to Friendship'. The festival will host a series of panels exploring important and thought-provoking themes. This will include discussions on mental health and well-being, generational experiences, and uncomfortable conversations in safe spaces.

The festival will conclude with a night of music at The Lemon Tree, featuring pop/R&B girl group 4TUNE, singer-songwriter Rue Cooper, musician and singer Djana Gabrielle, and Aberdeen-based Iranian DJ Pooyan Saadati.

Loved Seeds

Finally, in a new initiative to support Black and People of Colour artists in Scotland, We Are Here Scotland has collaborated with Look Again to celebrate the launch of their upcoming exhibition 'Loved Seeds'. Poet Noon Eldin and artist Helen Love will host a performance combining clay, poetry, and projection to create a three-dimensional family tree of the nine children of an enslaved woman from 1832 Jamaica.

We Are Here Scotland founder and director Ica Headlam said: “I'm pleased that for another year We Are Here Scotland is working in partnership with our friends at Aberdeen Performing Arts to produce our second Rise Up Festival. Last year we were able to provide a platform for a multitude of artists and creatives from our community. And this year's festival is a continuation of everything we developed last year, whilst also highlighting the importance of providing a platform for Black and PoC artists and creatives from the North East of Scotland and further afield.”

Overall, Rise Up! sounds like it'll be even bigger and better than last year, with an exciting program of events that celebrates the creativity and diversity of Black and People of Colour creatives in Scotland and beyond.

Chapbook - A link to the North East’s Folk Music History

Some of the very first words of Scotland’s mid-twentieth century Folk Revival commended the folk music of Aberdeenshire: speaking in Edinburgh in 1951 the folklorist Hamish Henderson ushered in the revival movement while praising the ‘fine rumbustious quality’ of Buchan folksongs.1 The North East had long held a significant position in the history of Scottish folk music, and with the development of the Revival over the following two decades the area’s stature as a centre of folksong would become even more renowned.

I am a PhD student researching the Revival in Scotland. I have a dual purpose in mind in writing this article: to share with you a little of Aberdeen’s musical history, especially as it relates to the Revival movement; and to seek out anybody who may have old copies of Chapbook, the Revival magazine of Aberdeen Folksong Club, who might be able to help me with my research. First, let me sing for my supper.

A reputation for folksong

The North East’s reputation for folksong dates back at least several centuries. Danny Couper, fish merchant and co-founder of Aberdeen Folk Club, explains this history through the area’s links with fishing and farming.2 Fishing communities all over Scotland have traditions of song and choir; more local to Aberdeen are the Bothy Ballads, written and sung by North East farm workers and named for the basic farm buildings in which they lived. Aberdeenshire was also home to many Travellers who took part in an active oral culture which included singing and storytelling.

The area’s strong links to ongoing musical traditions attracted people interested in folksongs and ballads for many years before the Revival: 91 of Francis James Child’s seminal collection of 305 ballads, from the second part of the nineteenth century, are from Aberdeenshire;3 while Gavin Grieg and James Bruce Duncan’s revered collection, from the start of the twentieth century, includes nearly two-thousands songs recorded in the North East.

All ears turned to the North East

Unsurprisingly, then, when the Scottish Folk Revival of the mid-twentieth century got underway all ears turned once again to the North East. The Revival was a far-reaching movement to re-introduce the people of Scotland to a style of folk music which many, especially in urban central-belt areas, knew little about. Spanning the 1950s and 60s, the Revival had different intentions for different people: to ‘save’ what was seen by some as a dying culture; to regenerate that culture and give it a renewed vitality; to show that the everyday culture and experiences of normal people were worthwhile, meaningful and powerful; and to address political issues through this form of popular culture. With so many aims, the movement also spanned a range of activities.

A caricature of the folk revivalist Hamish Henderson on the back of Chapbook 2.5

In its first decade, the 1950s, a lot of the Revival centred around finding and recording folksong singers. The largest amount of so-called ‘collecting’ was carried out by workers from the School of Scottish Studies at the University of Edinburgh. Folklorists from the institution, such as Calum MacLean and Hamish Henderson, utilised new portable technology to visit and record singers, storytellers, and other people who took part in traditional culture all over Scotland. Many people who collectors revered for their knowledge of folksong were from the North East, including Jessie Murray, Jimmy MacBeath and Jeannie Robertson – all singers who many involved in Scottish folk music nowadays would still think of very highly.

Aberdeen Folksong club

By the turn of the decade, the collecting-focus of the early years was giving way to growing public interest in folksong. In the early 1950s, a series of ceilidhs had been organised in Edinburgh as part of the People’s Festival, designed ‘By Working People for Working People.’4 These introduced people to folk music, demonstrated that the tradition had not yet disappeared, and set some on their own path to folk revivalism. From the late 1950s through to the end of the Revival, a growth of public-facing activities introduced new audiences to longstanding folksingers and generated a huge uptake in folk singing among fresh enthusiasts. Commercial records were published, print and broadcasting media gave increasing time to folk music, and across the country folk clubs and festivals were founded.

Aberdeen Folksong Club was founded in 1962 by Danny Couper, introduced above, and Arthur Argo, a journalist and great-grandson of the previously-mentioned collector Gavin Greig. Most folk club meetings in this period followed a similar set-up: an invited guest would perform several times across an evening, and the rest of the night would consist of ‘floor spots’ where club members and the audience could contribute. Where Aberdeen Folksong Club differed was in the ongoing vitality of the musical culture which surrounded it.

An excerpt from Chapbook 5.3 of the tune and lyrics of ‘Busk, Busk’ as sung by Cathy Stewart

While clubs elsewhere in Scotland might have to look around the country for guests, singers local to Aberdeen were also some of the hallowed names of the Revival. Well-grounded as it was in the region’s traditional music, though, the Club could also draw in larger acts; Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger, Jean Ritchie, and Martin Carthy all topped the bill at Club nights or festivals within a few years of its opening. Couper explains how, for Argo, Northeast songs were part of a ‘global context’;5 for many involved in the Revival, at Aberdeen Folksong Club and elsewhere, folk music spoke to the international experiences of working people.

The revival and Chapbook

Aside from live performances, Aberdeen Folksong Club also played another major role in the Revival: the Club magazine Chapbook, published from 1964 to 1969, became the de facto publication of the Scottish movement. The magazine was edited by Argo, initially in Aberdeen and later from Edinburgh, and Ian Philip and Carl MacDougall, who brought perspectives from the West of Scotland. Chapbook took its name from small, cheap paper booklets sold as street literature mostly throughout the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries.

The magazine, which regularly ran to over 30 pages, contained matters relevant to both the Aberdeen and national folk scene: new and old songs, notices and reviews of events and records, and discussions on topics ranging from the state of Scottish folk clubs to William McGonagall’s relationship with ‘folk-poetry’. Some magazines also contained more miscellaneous content, like cartoons of prominent folkies or instructions for homebrewing beer!

3 – A selection of Chapbook magazines and Aberdeen Folk Festival programmes

As I mentioned at the start of this article I am researching the Folk Revival in Scotland and, given the forefront position of Chapbook within the movement, very keen to study as many copies of the magazine as I can. My research looks especially at the Revival’s cultural-political position and, as part of this, I’m interested in how people took part in, viewed, and talked about folk music during the period. Chapbook offers a great window into the Revival, demonstrating what the people running and attending folk clubs felt should be shared with the national movement. Some copies of the magazine are available through libraries in Edinburgh, but the collections are far from complete and aren’t the most accessible to me at present.

Can you help in finding copies of Chapbook

I would therefore love to hear from anybody who might have an old copy or two tucked away that they would be willing to let me look at (for my purposes a photocopy would suit just as well as the real thing!). If you might be able to help please contact me via email at ruth.salter@ed.ac.uk.

Although the focus of this article has been historical Aberdeen Folk Club is, of course, not a thing of the past. The Club, which has long since dropped ‘song’ from its title to reflect the post-revival growth of instrumental folk music, still meets regularly. The group can be found every Wednesday at the Blue Lamp, 121 Gallowgate, beginning from 8 pm for an 8.30 pm start. Singers, instrumentalists and listeners are all welcome for sessions and open mic nights, and the Club also hosts occasional concerts from visiting artists. Aberdeen Folk Club just celebrated their 60th birthday and are still one of the top clubs going, winning Club of the Year at the most recent Scots Trad Music Awards. The prize is demonstrative that that ‘fine’ folk song Henderson identified in the North East in the 1950s still has a home in Aberdeen.


1 This event was the first Edinburgh People’s Festival Ceilidh, which I discuss more below. A recording of Henderson speaking these words can be found at the Lomax Digital Archive.

2 Quoted in Ewan McVicar, The E****o Republic: Scots political folk song in action 1951 to 1999 (Linlithgow: Gallus Publishing, 2010), p. 137

3 Les Wheeler, ‘Traditional Ballads in North East Scotland

4 Hamish Henderson, ‘The Edinburgh People’s Festival, 1951-54’ in A Weapon in the Struggle: The Cultural History of the Communist Party of Great Britain, ed. by Andy Croft (London; Sterling, Virginia: Pluto Press, 1998), pp. 163-170 (p. 165)

5 Quoted in McVicar, p. 261

Namebliss on the mic in the foreground of a live performance, while Vagrant Real Estste DJs in the background wearing a Scotland football shirt

Biggest Belief - new track from Vagrant Real Estate and Namesbliss

Aberdeen Producer Vagrant Real Estate and rapper Namesbliss have released a new track titled 'Biggest Belief.' This introspective anthem is a relatable gem and is now available to stream everywhere. The duo recently completed their first international music festival at Future Echoes 2023 in Sweden, where they premiered the track. It was also named the BBC Scotland Introducing Track of the Week on March 11th.

A testament to their musical talent and ability to create something relatable and inspiring

This is the second single from their upcoming collaboration album. It has an incredibly well-balanced mix of an irresistible rhythmic melody and a harmonic hook. The track has also been infused with 'light and hope' delivered by DeeRiginal, a fellow UK artist whose work shines through. This track is a soul-quenching listening experience you don't want to miss.

Vagrant Real Estate smiles to the camera. he's wearing a checked shirt and a black t-shirt
Photo by Chris Sansbury / POST

'Biggest Belief' invites listeners to look within themselves and find hope, inspiration, and motivation. Namesbliss's lyrics are relatable and brooding, making them easy to connect with. The song is also beautifully produced and really showcases Vagrant Real Estate's talent.

This latest release from the pair is a testament to their musical talent and ability to create something relatable and inspiring. 'Biggest Belief' is a song worth your time, an excellent reminder that hope and positivity can be found even in dark times.

Biggest Belief is available now

Namesbliss and Vagrant Real Estate have delivered a true gem. This song is a perfect representation of their musical talent and their ability to create something that is both relatable and inspiring. If you haven't already, spend a little time with this track.


Temp Check: The Little Kicks' Steven Milne

The Little Kicks released their highly anticipated fifth album 'People Need Love' this week. Their first since 2017's successful 'Shake off Your Troubles.' The release sees the lead singer and songwriter Steven Milne explore the darker side of life while maintaining their infectious guitar-led vocal pop positivity.

Listen to the album on your favourite streaming service now.


The band recorded most of the album in 2019 and completed it in 2020, but the pandemic pushed the release until now. With so much love and effort put into the recording, they wanted to give it the very best chance to shine.

It's a very busy few days in Steven's life. We caught up with him ahead of the release of the album and fresh off a successful True North festival (Steven is an artist booker for Aberdeen Performing Arts). The Little Kicks also have live dates on the schedule across the country, so we are delighted that he took some time out to answer our questions.

The Little Kicks

Let's go back to the start. The Little Kicks have been releasing albums for 13 years now. How did you meet up?

Our first LP came out in 2009 but I don’t think we really found our feet until after we released our second LP (in 2011). That album’s material was so well received (particularly when playing at festival sets) and as a result, I think we felt a lot more confident to continue.

When we then tried to vary our sound on 'Put Your Love In Front Of Me' (2013) by incorporating a bit more of a concept to the record, using more strings and synths etc it became our most popular release. So we have been quite lucky that we aren’t bound by one sound and can sort of change as our influences and tastes change.

We all met through playing in various other bands or sharing stages so being in this band as a unit now feels like a natural fit. I think it has helped that we all have varying music tastes and we have had a couple of line-up changes along the way which has kept things fresh - we jokingly compare ourselves to the Sugababes and that at one point I will ultimately be next to be replaced.

Did you have big ambitions for The Little Kicks at the time or was it a case of having a bit of fun, letting off steam and seeing where it takes you?

I think probably when we started yeah. Speaking personally as a kid in your room you want to be as big as you can get and we perhaps had bigger ambitions previously but the music is the most important thing to me now.

I like the idea of a body of work that has a natural flow and I hope that each time we follow up the previous LP with a new release that it’s a development in some way and that we are not sounding the same. Perhaps the music may have similarities in sound (my voice/ our writing and playing style) but it has to change somehow to keep both us and the listener interested.

We probably had our biggest following locally when we came out sounding like The Strokes and Interpol waaayy back but it would be dull to still be like that now – for both the audience and us. In saying that, if the opportunity came along to get out there full-time we would take it with both hands, we want our music to be heard as far and wide as possible.

The Little Kicks singer and songwriter, Steven Milne

You, yourself have had your challenges coming through covid, becoming a dad for the first time, then losing your own dad. How do you think has that impacted this new album?

Our last LP came out in March 2017 but it had been finished for a wee while so I had started sketching for what became to be this record. My eldest was born in August and my Dad died very suddenly that November and we were very close. We were meant to go to Canada the week after he died, we obviously didn’t go, and I took some time off. Obviously, that was a strange mix of emotions (having become a father and losing mine) and it did knock me off compass for some time.

The year ahead (2018) had been planned as a writing year (other than two big shows at Belladrum & King Tuts) so come Spring 2018 I would try and pick up with the ideas I had begun the year before but the songs were becoming very sad (which I couldn’t help) and not really the direction I wanted to go.

The 2017 record 'Shake Off Your Troubles' best-received feature was its positivity so I didn’t want to make a downer but I needed to get how I felt out of my system as that’s how I usually deal with things. Slowly I managed to tip the balance in the right direction and I started bringing ideas into the room and sending demo ideas around.

The lads were great about it and incredibly encouraging which made me feel better about sending such personal lyrics out – although I admit now on the almost eve of the LP coming out it is strange to think other people will hear them.

The album (I think) is, on the whole, a very positive record but my hope would be that if someone is going through similar emotions to what I experienced I hope they can hear something in the words that chime with them and that maybe it can give them some comfort.

The band originally planned to release the album last year. It must feel like this one is kind of in the rearview for you? Are you already working on the next album?

Not at all actually, it has been a pretty constant process somehow since it was finished/ mastered in Autumn 2020. During the first wave of Covid, we were literally one session from finishing the record so we had to sit at a standstill of course but in 2021 we began planning ahead.

We commissioned the artist for the artwork paintings and whittled down which to use, our drummer Scott took on a new band space for us to use and kitted it out as a studio, we had to get the vinyl designed and ordered and we began rehearsing.

I have some sketches on my phone but there hasn’t been a huge desire to work on any further new material (or much time/ things to write about!) but once this album comes out I am sure I will get some brain space to get going again. To be honest, I am really so proud of these 10 songs which are sitting ready to go and all I have thought about for some time is how much I can’t wait to get out and play them live and let people hear them.

The Little Kicks from the Ruminations Video

The Bon Accord Baths pool was a great backdrop for the Ruminations video. It really reflected the song's lyrics. What was it like filming there?

An immense honour to be honest. We cannot thank the BAB team enough for facilitating our access to the space and helping us make it work. Snap who made the video also did a fantastic job. To make that shoot happen took so much work from all sides and I am still a little in disbelief that we got in there.

Obviously being from Aberdeen and having grown up swimming there it was cool to be back in the space. Every room could be a film set it has so much character and the natural light in the pool area is amazing. It wasn’t without its challenges (illness cancelled the first shoot at a day’s notice, the venue has no power etc.) but we are overjoyed with the final result.

What do you love most, touring or recording? The three singles released from People Need Love have a nice distinctive crisp sound. How deeply do you get involved in the production of the Little Kicks music?

If I had to choose I would have to say I love being in the studio. It’s such a great way to spend time, being creative and trying things to make the songs happen together – this was especially true for this record.

We recorded in Chem19 in Hamilton with Paul Savage (his production credits are endless and too long to list) and he really elevated the songs to a different level. He knew how to push us in the right direction in terms of our performance and what the song needed (without being pushy about it) and he stopped us fussing over tiny details or ironing out creases within the mixing of the songs (which is a previous bad habit of ours). I think this is why the album has the energy it has.

Steven Milne at the piano

Paul was keen for us to attend the mixing sessions wherever possible so I was fortunate to sit in and watch him work which was really cool. As he is fortunate to have accumulated lots of outboard equipment he doesn’t believe in using lots of digital or computer effects and prefers to make sure he gets what’s going in sounding good to cut the editing or mixing work down later. So there was a lot of emphasis on getting a strong performance down.

Also, some of his techniques with microphones for the drums or how he treated guitars & vocals, blended the synths in the mix were fascinating to watch and I truly hope we get to do another LP with him, so everyone reading do please buy this one.

On some of your upcoming live shows, you're playing with the Cairn String Quartet. You've worked with before…including on the new album. What do they bring to The Little Kicks' live experience?

I love the sound of strings in music and I think hearing them live is going to be very emotive and be the cherry on the cake for the live shows we have with them. When they did their parts in the studio we were blown away by what they added to the sound and considering their current engagement is to be on tour with Biffy Clyro I am staggered they have agreed to come and play with us.

As they are session musicians in high demand it’s doubtful (unfortunately) to be something we will repeat in a live capacity after these shows so do come and see us this Autumn.

The Little Kicks - People Need Love - Artwork

Album artwork is clearly important to you. Tell us about the artwork for this new release.

We all collect vinyl and enjoy that listening experience. Our last two LPs have almost sold out of their vinyl editions so it was a no-brainer to get this one made on vinyl which allows the option to think more creatively with the artwork.

We felt like the title was a cool statement and Adam liked the artist Georgie Bell (the painter of the artwork on the sleeve) – we all agreed that having the title over one of her artworks would be a cool cover. Our friend Michael Chang helped us achieve this by spending a lot of time on the cover design (style, layout, fonts and direction) and as a result, we went to town on the vinyl edition. It has a die-cut sleeve with three different paintings from Georgie Bell that can be used as cover options and the vinyl is clear/ opaque.

The insert also has all the lyrics within as well as a dedication to my Dad. As a package, it is a truly beautiful thing.

What excites you about music? Who are you listening to right now?

I love checking out the new LP releases every Friday and I always like hearing new things. The latest things I have been enjoying at home are the new album by James Righton (formerly of the Klaxons now produced by Soulwax), Andrew Wasylyk’s back catalogue (instrumental composer from Dundee who is also in Idlewild), Nina Simone (specifically a live album I picked up) and I’ve been on a solo McCartney tip of late.

In a live capacity, I have really enjoyed Zoe Graham's 'Medicine Cabinet & Rival Saints' in the last few weeks, and in terms of upcoming records, I am looking forward to the new Arctic Monkeys LP based on the single and their last LP, which I loved.

This year the most listened to LP in our house is probably Harry Styles' last LP 'Harry's House'. It's an absolute banger.


We'd like to thank Steven again for taking the time to answer our questions in such a thoughtful and candid manner. This has been one of our favourite Temp Check interviews.

You can buy 'People Need Love' on vinyl from The Little Kicks' website, where you can also get tickets to their upcoming tour. You find the album on your favourite streaming service. Finally, please make sure to support and follow The Little Kicks on Twitter or Instagram.