The secret of being Britain’s best part-time band

Scottish “ska juggernaut” Bombskare have just been named Britain’s best part-time band. But don’t expect them to change any time soon, frontman Scott McCafferty tells us

If you’ve been avidly following this year’s Get Playing Campaign on the BBC, then you’ll be aware that Edinburgh-based ska outfit Bombskare were proclaimed the UK’s best part-time band in a televised competition aired on BBC 2 over the weekend.

The nine-strong act, referred to as “The Bishops of Bounce” by themselves and their devoted, ever-growing fanbase, were named the winners of the contest by a judging panel that consisted of former Joy Division and New Order bassist Peter Hook, Soul II Soul producer Jazzie B, and Ultravox frontman Midge Ure.

We spoke with the band’s eloquent and affable guitarist/vocalist Scott McCafferty on the immediate aftermath of being crowned Britain’s best part-time band.

“Let’s scotch this rumour; there was no crown, no headgear of any kind,” he deadpans. “We got a wooden trophy which we have already broken.”

Formed “just after the War of the Roses, when ska music was still in its infancy” (actually gigging since 2008), McCafferty, who works behind the wheel of a butcher’s van when not on tour with the band, jokes:

“We formed the band for the same reasons as everyone else – money, glory and free beer.”

“When we’re not in the band, we’re doing the same things as everyone else”, he continues. “Working like idiots for not enough money.

“We have nursery teachers, industrial climbers, truck drivers, joiners, and so on in that fashion.”

The ska sound that Bombskare enthusiastically convey in their energetic live shows, and has made them firm favourites throughout the UK, has it origins in 1950s Jamaica.

Seen as a prelude to the reggae genre that would go global from the late 1960s, ska enjoyed a popular resurgence in the UK during the 1970s and 80s through bands like Madness and The Specials.

On the enduring popularity of ska, McCafferty comes up with a nice comparison:

“Ska music is dance music. It’s like analogue techno, so as long as people are dancing it will continue to resonate.”

Ahead of their upcoming gig this Friday at Edinburgh’s Studio 24, the band is optimistic that their victory on the programme will allow them to continue pursuing their passion on a more frequent basis, with “more gigs further afield”, as well as encouraging more people to support talented, up and coming UK bands and live music in general.

With a packed roster of upcoming shows this year including Glasgow’s O2 ABC this Saturday and Hampshire’s Boomtown Fair in August, McCafferty and co’s years of hard work and commitment to their music seems to be paying off.

“Hopefully, the TV show will raise awareness of the fact that there are hundreds, thousands of great bands out there, playing live.

“We should all get out there and support live music, wherever it is.”

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