On the Radar – No 232: Little is known about Dundonians Model Aeroplanes, even though they’ve appeared on the BBC’s elite list of bands chosen to play this year’s T in the Park, writes Harris Brine.
Throwing their moniker and native city into a Google search engine casts up only two songs, ‘Mexico’ and ‘Any Damn Kid’. Both songs point to a parallelogram collective with Scottish sides of Bwani Junction and Fatherson, and acute angles of We Were Promised Jetpacks and Foals, although Model Aeroplanes are significantly more summer sunshine than thunder and lightning.
They will take to the festival’s BBC Introducing stage less than five months after playing their very first gig, mirroring the feat of the stage’s Saturday night headliners Discopolis back in 2011.
We caught up with the band ahead of what will be only their sixth live appearance to find out their origins, their plans for an EP and how they will be celebrating the 20th birthday of a festival which is almost as old as each member…
First off, thanks for your time. With only two tracks and little information about you available online, Model Aeroplanes are somewhat enigmatic. Can you let our readers in on the (short) history of the band…?
We met at high school and, sharing an interest in music, we began to get together at breaks and lunchtimes in the school’s music department. In December, Model Aeroplanes launched using Facebook and Twitter as our primary means of sharing music and gathering interest. We already had two pre-recorded demos online and a few other song ideas but this is when we really started to develop into a live act. We applied and were chosen to be part of the Scottish Music Centre’s ‘Hit The Road’ project. This was a string of dates in Stirling, Dundee and Paisley with two other young Scottish bands – The Extracts and Old Pretender. This experience led to us working with our current manager Paul.
We secured a support slot with The View in May at 20 Rocks in Dundee which was an incredible experience being, for both bands, a hometown show. After recording our debut single ‘Crazy’ in early May, our manager pushed it to various industry personnel and as a result we were asked to play an ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Artists and Publishers) showcase at Queen Of Hoxton in London. We are actually doing this interview on the long drive back up to Dundee.
You’ve already managed to secure a slot on T in the Park’s prestigious BBC Introducing Stage, which is nearly five months to do the day since your debut show. How did the slot all come about?
As we mentioned, we recently recorded a single ‘Crazy’ and pushed it to various industry people. A few of the people at DF Concerts really liked the track and forwarded it on to the BBC Introducing team. Soon after that we received a phone call from our manager to say we had been offered the last slot on the BBC Introducing stage at T in The Park. This was incredible news to us as we hadn’t any idea of the interest our track had generated in us in such a short period of time. We never believed we’d be playing at T this year, we are all completely ecstatic and honoured.
The two tracks available online are little snippets of the Model Aeroplanes sound; filled with catchy summertime hooks, collective rousing vocals and a bit of youth. What bands do you draw from for your sound?
This is always a difficult question to answer as across the band we are influenced by a huge variety of artists and musicians. A lot of them being young British bands, with the likes of Bombay Bicycle Club and Foals, stretching to classic acts like The Beach Boys, who are a major influence on the writing of our vocals and accompanying harmonies. We always try to incorporate a certain energy in our music which seems to come fairly organically and naturally when we write music together.
When is the debut EP set to released and what is it called?
We have not currently decided on the tracks we would feel best about contributing to our first EP. Despite being in the early stages of the band our writing has quickly become very fluid and we polish off songs very quickly, which makes it an issue trying to decide on our favourites sometimes! It would be next year that we would commit to our first EP as this gives our sound further time to develop and for us to feel fully happy with the four songs we would sell to the public and promote ourselves with.
Are there any themes running through it? If so, can you tell us about them?
The formula to writing our songs is already well established and regardless of us being completely new on the scene, our sound has progressed heavily from our first show in Stirling five months ago. Themes in our songs are constantly changing but they are definitely there and we aim to make our live show and records flow as well as we can, it’s a really key element to our writing and will definitely be present within our first EP. You’ll just have to look out and buy it for yourself to see what they are!
You all appear to be quite young chaps. Did Model Aeroplanes have a curfew at their first gig?
Thankfully not – our parents are quite relaxed towards our musical lives and leave us to do our own thing, all the while showing a strong support and interest in all we do. They understand that being successful with the band is all we want. We have all decided that we want to put other things aside and focus fully on Model Aeroplanes. We have now finished school and have much more time to develop the band.
It’s been an incredibly successful start to 2013 for Model Aeroplanes. What would you like to achieve by exactly a year from today?
Who knows what opportunities might come our way over the next year but we hope to be doing a lot of shows across the UK, possibly a supporting tour with a bigger band and just hope that our fan base keeps growing at the rapid rate it has been recently. We would love to get more slots on big British festivals next summer but as we are already noticing most good opportunities [we] can be fairly spontaneous and unexpected so we are just going to play everything by ear.
Finally, it’s the 20th year of T in the Park. What will you be doing to celebrate?
We plan on going all out. We might even celebrate with a crate of Capri Suns after the show. We felt quite disappointed as we didn’t expect to even be attending T this year so you can understand we are over the moon to be performing at its 20th year. We are very excited to be spending the Sunday night with our friends at the campsite.
Model Aeroplanes take to the BBC Introducing Stage at T in the Park on the Sunday (July 14).