Scotland has officially adopted Occasional Flickers, and vice versa. It seems that Giorgos Bouras had quite the love affair from afar when he fell for a slew of Scottish tunes while living in his homeland Greece. Such aural adorations have brought the Flickers to Edinburgh, now transformed from a bedroom-bound one-man outfit into a rallied troupe that's on par with his heroes, making mellifluous indie pop that makes you feel just fine. Giorgos spills it.
Indie pop from Greece to Scotland. What's your story?
The Flickers started as my own project when I was still in Athens, and I recorded most of the first album alone in my bedroom before moving to Scotland. But right now we are a quite multicultural band with members from Scotland, Ireland, Poland, the U.S. and Greece. There are not really Greek elements (apart from my accent...), mostly because in Greece, rock music is mainly following the international trends, as elsewhere I guess.
Tell us more about your ensemble
It took me sometime to decide to start with a new band after moving to Edinburgh, but once we started playing together it felt right. I am very happy to be surrounded by great musicians. Everyone in the band has their own commitments: Jamie Scott performs as The Japanese War Effort, Bart Owl plays with eagleowl and many other bands, Ailig Hunter's main focus is contemporary classical music, Ola Rek has just started her own project Long Long Walk Home and our drummer Ryan Marinello plays guitar and keyboards with My Tiny Robots. The contribution of my friend Sergios Voudris from The Voyage Limpid Sound - a multi-instrumentalist who owns pretty much every vintage instrument that one can imagine! – is really very important in the recordings. Because he lives in Athens, we mostly work via Internet, by exchanging audio files. In the past I would write a song and then I would record most of the instruments myself (including the ones that I can't really play!), which was quite boring and limiting. Now, we are working on the songs altogether: I will just bring a song and the guys will write their own part as we are practicing. It's just so exciting to see how a song comes alive during a practice and to be able to share your enthusiasm with a band.
Your music. We hear the old (Velvet Underground) and the new (Belle and Sebastian). Agreed?
Actually, most of our influences come from the past. I really love the '60s and bands like Love, The Byrds or The Velvet Underground and singer/songwriters like Fred Neil, Nick Drake, Bob Lind and Donovan. However, I'm not sure how audible these influences are on our songs. On the other hand, my love for Scottish pop bands - such as Camera Obscura, Belle and Sebastian, The Pastels and the Postcards bands – was one of the reasons I came to Scotland. Hmm, as for the songs. I always had this idea about pop songs: euphoric music with bitter lyrics. I avoid writing love songs as much as I can. Our music usually has to do with growing older, not fitting in the society, escaping from the dullness of big cities, etc.
Vinyl pressings of yours are sold in random places worldwide. How did that happen?
I guess that has to do mostly with our label. Plastilina Records is based in Peru, but they are trying to reach an audience in as many countries as they can. They are doing really great work and it's good to see that more and more great bands are signing to the label (Hi-Life Companion, Indurain, Hari and Aino to name a few).
Your album art is pretty. Who does that?
The artwork for the album was made by Ola Rek who plays with the band. She is mainly a sculptor but she also makes illustrations and I'm a big fan of her work. She also made the cover of our latest single as well as the cover of Paul Wirkus's 'Déformation Professionnelle', which is very pretty.
Is there another album in the works?
Yes, we are working on our second album, and the first to record as a band. Hopefully, it will be out later this year and the only thing I know is that it will sound quite different from the first one.Oh, and that it will include two songs from our last year's single 'When the Sky Looks So Gray' on Cloudberry Records. There will also be a reissue of 'Scattered Songs' in the Philippines which sounds quite exciting.
Anything special to look forward to on the 22nd? Will you bring your harmonica (say yes)?
Haha! Yes, we will surely have a harmonica! We are thinking about playing a quite loud set this time, comparing to our last one which was an acoustic set. We will be selling our first album “Scattered Songs” as well as a few copies of our very first 7” single “Rain Until Monday” which was released in 2003...
The Occasional Flickers will perform at Sneaky Pete’s on 22nd of February along with Crystal Stilts, Jesus H Foxx and //FAST// DJs.