Casual Sex interview: ‘We’re just following our gut instincts’

On the Radar – No: 237: Glasgow foursome Casual Sex are a band every bit as fun and irresponsible as their chosen moniker, and this past year the group have been spreading their wicked art-punk seed all over their hometown and beyond.

Drummer Chris McCrory filled Chris Tapley in with everything you need to know about Casual Sex ahead of their new EP ‘Bastard Beat’ … not that they’re courting any controversy with their titles.

[Casual Sex promise ‘lipstick, sweat and a good time’ – picture: Gemma Dagger]

“We like bands with a bit of ‘bite’,” says McCrory, drummer with Casual Sex. “We’re not consciously trying to shock or offend, but it is rock and roll, so it is OK for some people to be put off by you.”

This must be true because for the most part the band’s mischievous streak has been well received.

“It’s certainly not the most practical name for search engines and it’s raised a few eyebrows,” McCrory admits. “But for the most part, there have been no problems whatsoever. Even my staunchly Catholic grandmother likes the name.”

You’d still be well advised to exercise some caution when searching for the band online though, and McCrory has noticed that they’re often confused with some less salubrious internet offerings:

“On Facebook I’ve seen couples questioning each other’s taste in the comments section, not quite understanding that we’re a band and I’ve often found myself toying with the lonely masturbators who message us thinking our page is a genuine hook-up website.”

Despite this inadvertent ‘fanbase’, the band are attracting a lot of attention just now, and have bagged an upcoming support slot on Franz Ferdinand‘s US tour. “It’s incredibly exciting and is all a bit surreal,” McCrory laughs. “Clearly ideal for a band trying to move away from Franz Ferdinand comparisons…”

While they’re enjoying the current buzz, all of the members of Casual Sex have been part of Glasgow’s music scene for a while now in various incarnations:

“Casual Sex all started with Sam [Smith, vocalist], as a musical outlet after his tenure with Mother & The Addicts. Sam met Ed [Wood, guitar] in a club toilet (I don’t know which club, nor do I know the circumstances), Pete [Masson, bass] met Sam through making a solo record at The Green Door and I was introduced to Sam after finishing an album there with my band at the time, Male Pattern Band.

“It’d be interesting to list the bands and projects we’ve been involved with in the past – it’d take some research to do,” McCrory continues. “Between us we make a lot of music. Pete & I have a studio side project we often escape to, I also have a bizarre alter ego called Loverman who makes weird sound collage/midi cassettes and I’m just about finished an album with a new, as-yet unnamed band that should be out sometime next year.”

This wealth of experience has served them well, as they’ve emerged with a sound which is both recognisably their own while also taking inspiration from classic rock and post-punk. It has definite traces of the Mother & The Addicts DNA, but with the sex appeal dialled up to eleven.

“It’s funny, there is a very definite Casual Sex sound but we weren’t ever aware of it, nor were there any deliberate aesthetic decisions made to shape it,” says McCrory.

“We just follow our ears to sounds that excite us, our sound is the sum of our influences and experiences and people can take from it what they will. We were, however, more than a little puzzled at all the Franz Ferdinand and Orange Juice comparisons. I don’t know if we’re consciously trying to ‘rip it up and start again’ but we’re certainly not revivalists by any stretch of the imagination, we don’t look back and yearn for something that’s gone. We’re just following our gut instincts, making records that get us (and hopefully the listener) all hot and bothered. Making records that we’d want to hear.”

Thanks to their day to day work the band have had plenty of time to shape those instincts as well:

“Sam and I are both sound engineers by trade,” says McCrory. “I record and produce bands at my own studio, Shady Lane, in Erskine and Sam does the same at The Green Door in Glasgow – so we are both making records all the time…we’ve amassed a lot of material!

“I think because of our unusual studio habits we’re a band in constant flux, so to me this record is an important stepping stone for Casual Sex. It not only points towards, but opens up several possible futures for the band, and it makes me very excited about our debut album.”

Casual Sex
[Casual Sex on stage at Wickerman Festival – picture: David P Scott]

For any Franz Ferdinand fans over in the US who get along to the shows early enough, McCrory promises “lipstick, sweat and a good time”, and after the stateside dates there will be a few chances for UK audiences to enjoy some live Casual Sex this winter.

“We’ll be touring France just as the EP comes out, but the big one for us is at Sleazie’s on November 22 with Halfrican and Ubre Blanca,” says McCrory. “We’ll be back up in Pete’s home town, Inverness before the year is over and we’re also planning on embarking on our first proper Scottish tour in the new year.”

It’s clear, however, that all of this is simply a pre-cursor to the real event that everyone is waiting for:

“There’s a big part of our calendar marked off for finishing our debut album, nothing excites us like new music.”

The ‘Bastard Beat’ EP is released November 11. Follow the band’s movements on Facebook and Twitter.

Casual Sex play the following shows:

17 October CMJ Mission Sound New York
19 October Tower Theatre Philadelphia w/ FF
20 October Orpheum Theatre Boston w/ FF
22 October Hammerstein Ballroom New York w/ FF
23 October QC Metropolis Montreal / FF
24 October Kool Haus Toronto / FF
8 November Stereolux Club, Nantes
9 November Theatre Barbey, Bordeaux
10 November Boule Noire, Paris
22 November Nice n Sleazy, Glasgow – EP LAUNCH
29 November Hoxton Bar and Grill, London
20 December Mad Hatters, Inverness

Chris Tapley

What do you think of Casual Sex? Will you be going to see them live? Post a comment below (just register first), on Twitter with #wow247 or on our Facebook page.