Scottish pop-rock quintet Dancing on Tables on their upcoming EP, their new sound, coming of age and more
Scottish pop-rockers Dancing on Tables have been taking the UK (and the rest of the global music scene) by storm. With only two releases off their upcoming EP, they have already proved they are THE band to watch out for this year.
Dubbed by some as the new Coldplay, in just 3 months, the band has garnered over 100,000 monthly followers, one million streams, five Spotify playlist features, and they've just wrapped up their first UK tour. Coupled with industry backing from Shazam, Music News, Sofar, Napster and NME, to name but a few, the band is soaring and exceeding expectations both sides of the pond.
Formed in their last year of school, schoolmates Robbie McSkimming, Callum Thomas, Hamish Finlayson, Gregor Stobie and Michael Waterworth bring an eclectic range of influences to create an infectious pop sound. The boys have spent their last teenage years earning plaudits for their ‘dreamy melodies wrapped up in luring harmonies’; with their debut EP 'Don't Stop' receiving national UK radio airplay.
With the combination of two contrasting yet befitting lead vocalists, their music could be described as the perfect marriage of skillful songwriting inspired by John Lennon and Paul McCartney combined with the exciting energy from The Libertines and Foo Fighters.
In April, Dancing On Tables unveiled their massive new single 'Twenty', an up-tempo power-pop anthem with a soaring guitar hook and dreamy choruses. The song concludes their first EP, which is slated for a June 1 release. The single shows the evolution of the band and their uncanny ability to combine pop melodies with a real rock groove.
Last month, the band rolled out a second single 'Body', a "fun and free song" written on a cold rainy day in Aberdeen and recorded in Edinburgh armed with cowbells, drums, bass and a lot of attitude.
We had the opportunity to interview Dancing on Tables via email to discuss the new EP, their new power-pop sound laden with massive hooks, the music scene in Scotland in the band's early days, influences, their songwriting process and more. Read the full interview below:
Meaww: Your new single 'Twenty' sees a much more aggressive sound, leaning more towards a power pop anthem. Is this a sign of your new sonic feel?
Dancing on Tables: As a band we love to try and vary our sound as much as possible. A common feel for our songs just now is that the choruses are catchy, but we love to explore as many sounds as we can. We have been incorporating more new sounds as we have progressed, before the recent string of singles, there were only guitars, whereas recently we have started to incorporate more types of synths as percussion. We really love to play this song live so I can see similar styles songs appearing in the set.
Meaww: The lyrics of ‘Twenty’ echo an existential crisis at age 21. Could you take us through the songwriting of the track?
DoT: I think that turning 21 is such a strange age to reach. It seems that there or so many new responsibilities you take on as well as a lot of expectations for you to grow up and get a job. When we were writing 'Twenty', we wanted it to be a message to everyone that we love music and being in a band and that this is what we want to do. It was written around the same time as 'Body', which I feel is resonated through the overall attitude of the two songs. Coming to an age where you have to “grow up” is a strange one and I think everybody feels like this at some point.
Meaww: Dancing On Tables sounds like a name that definitely has an interesting backstory. How’d you come up with it?
DoT: We started the band as a way to get out of classes at school, it started to get more serious and we had gigs confirmed but we had no name. We were at a party and had to think of a name and saw people dancing on tables, and thought that would be an ideal name and then it just stuck!
Meaww: Growing up in Scotland, what kind of music were you exposed to? Who are your biggest influences?
DoT: We have had such wide range of influences as a band. Coming from Dunfermline we have all taken huge influence from Big Country, and love their sound. Individually, we all have different influences too, ranging from Robbie’s love for punk to Gregor’s love for funk and jazz. We love having diverse influences and blending them together. Scotland has always had such a buzzing music scene with so many different styles of bands around to see. All the music is at our doorstep as well. There are so many bands you can come across that will influence you. Punk music has always been strong in Scotland, which although is not our genre, is definitely something that influences us in order to write big energetic songs.
Meaww: You’ve attained success at such a young age. Scottish Sun and Variety have both ordained that you are the ‘New Coldplay’. Your lyrics have been likened to that of Lennon and McCartney and your energy to the Libertines. How does it feel to be compared to such legends?
DoT: It’s always an amazing feeling to be compared to such huge bands. We love the way that bands like the Beatles and Coldplay have managed to create totally new and different sounds for different albums but manage to keep a distinct familiarity there, which has definitely been something that we have tried to incorporate in our sound, as well as using two lead vocals to create energetic songs in the way the Libertines have done. Bands such as the Beatles and the Libertines have always been huge influences on us both as a band and as individuals so to hear those comparisons always feels great and makes us think we are doing something right.
Meaww: Your new EP drops on June 1st. Apart from ‘Twenty’, can you take us through a track-by-track breakdown of the other songs?
DoT: The EP includes 'Oh', 'Missing', 'Body', 'Twenty' and a bonus track that nobody has heard before. 'Missing' and 'Oh' definitely take a more romantic approach in terms of songs, whereas 'Body' is definitely the fun and free song with an attitude, and Twenty is definitely the biggest one of the EP in my opinion, I think the chorus is so big and we all love to play it live. The bonus track is an acoustic, which we are equally excited to bring out as we have never brought out anything like it, We are so excited for it to be released as it has been a long time in the making, for us it acts like a timeline in what has been an amazing year writing and recording.
Meaww: Who’s producing the EP? What was the atmosphere like in the studio during the recording process?
DoT: Femke Weidema is our producer and Label executive. She has such a hands-on approach to the production and the writing and it is so nice to have a fresh pair of ears help us develop what we do. She is such a talented producer and has been so good at introducing electronic and synth aspects to the music. Recording the EP with Femke was so fun. It always starts with getting the basic instruments down and then we all work together to add extra bits. Femke takes the songs away and then produces them adding all the great synth parts that are in the new tracks which is something we had never done before.
Meaww: You’ve got a string of big music festival slots lined up. Which one are you most stoked about?
DoT: Generally we are so excited to be a part of so many great festivals. Belladrum is a big one for us as it’s our biggest Scottish festival date! I think we are all really excited for Latitude as it’s a huge festival and a great opportunity to get down and play to an English crowd. The lineup is amazing as well with bands like Belle and Sebastian, and Wolf Alice who have been big influences in our music. Generally we are still quite new to festivals only starting them last year so we are still so excited for any festival that we play, the different stages are always cool and playing at new locations means it’s always fun seeing brand new people enjoy and vibe with our music.
Meaww: How is the new EP different from 2016’s ‘Don’t Stop’? What’s the first thing that’s noticeably different?
DoT: I think the complexity of the songs is a big difference. When 'Don’t Stop' came out, we really wanted to bring out big guitar songs. We just wanted to have brand new music out as soon as possible when we were recording 'Don’t Stop'. The new EP explores a lot more styles of songs, with Femke adding more depth to the songs with electronics and synths which really make the songs stand out. A lot more time was taken with this EP in order to make sure we were all really happy with it. We have developed the way we write as well, and I think the EP shows a more mature style of writing. Overall, I think this EP has been much more of a group project with everyone really looking to adapt and advance our original sounds to make something we are really proud of.
Meaww: We can’t wait to get more from you guys. When can we expect a full-length album?
DoT: Right now, we are focused on getting singles out and showing everyone what we can do and how diverse we can be. I think we will be doing another EP after this one and putting out as much music as we can. As a band, We like to take things as they come, and right now we want to keep developing our sound and bettering ourselves as a band. We definitely will be looking at an album soon, but no solid plans yet. This EP definitely shows our listeners the new direction that we are going in with a more refined and energetic sound. However, we are still learning and moving forward at this stage, and I think we want to make sure that when we make an album we are pleased with it as a body of work.