Ben Hillman and Gav Prentice are the clever two behind Over the Wall, another aurally-efficient outfit to form on Scotland's west coast. They've just relaunched the poetically-titled 'The Rise and Fall of Over The Wall' EP with plans to record an album by the end of summer that will surely soak up some more of the duo's jangly, melodious, somewhat playful but contemplative pop sounds. Both Ben and Gav tell The List all about it.
How and when did you get together? Where are you based?
Gav: We started Over the Wall years ago with the lofty ideal of having a collective of musicians and artists that would all help each other out and be centred around the night that we were putting on in the old Stereo in Glasgow. We met in the student halls right next to that, where The 78 is now. We were playing on each other's songs at those nights and it ended up feeling natural to take the name and become a duo. This would have been in the summer of 2006, so you could say that's when Over the Wall - as in the band belonging to me and Ben - started, although the idea was there for a while before it. It slowly became our main focus and has just built momentum from there.
Interesting names for your collaborators on your MySpace page like Orchestral Manoeuvres in Kelvingrove Park, the Over the Wall Male Voice Choir. What else have you got?
Gav: That's kind of a joke, I suppose you could say those are umbrella terms for people who we rope into playing with us. The great bulk of what we do is the two of us, but we like to use a lot of different sounds. On the E.P. we have our good friend Ally Stuart playing cello, he's actually also a DJ and does Men and Machines, which people might have heard of, and Kim Moore from Zoey Van Goey plays viola, and both do a cracking job. There are quite a lot of bands now doing that 'everything but the kitchen sink' set up where they get their cousins and aunties onstage playing triangle, and that can be really fun, but that's not our thing. The centre of the dynamic is how we interact with each other, the two of us.
Tell us about your EP. When was its release? How have you risen and fallen?!
Gav: It was originally released in late November 2008 but had a bit of a relaunch last month because to be honest it sold faster than we or the label thought it would! In fact we've nearly sold out that run so they'll have to make more. It's funny you have all this 'limited edition' banter until there is an actual demand and then you're like "Sod that!" It got picked up on radio a bit and we've been playing more outside of Scotland so it's done us proud. The 'fall' in the title is a prediction, that's luckily still to come, although I'm not sure you can really say that we've risen yet to be honest. I'm quite proud of it, Ben, can you listen to it yet?
Ben: Yes, I can now. There was a long period of time after the release where I couldn't stand listening to it at all. Not because I thought it was bad but simply we had spent so long recording and tweaking things that it had turned into some kind of monster that was out to destroy me.
Tell us more good news for OtW and 2009? What's been good so far and what's to come?
Gav: We just played the Cottingham Springboard Festival, which is just outside Hull, and it was awesome - if incredibly hot. The final night, in Manchester, of our tour last month was amazing, one of the best gigs ever. Our gigs in Glasgow in June at the We Were Promised Jetpacks album launch at King Tut's and with De Rosa at Oran Mor should be brilliant, then in July we're going to start properly working on our album. Although the gigs in June should be great I think we're both looking forward to laying off performing for a month and just recording. Oh, and we've just seen a rough cut of the video for 'Thurso' and it looks amazing.
Ben: We are just entering the early stages of recording that difficult first album. I think the cliche comes from the fact that when no-one has any expectations of you, it's more difficult to disappoint people. When you inevitably do, people know that that wasn't an easy feat at all.
What kind of album purchases or illegal downloads have you made recently?
Gav: I spent a small fortune on the new Aiden Moffat record in the elaborate board game packaging, but it's worth it because it's brilliant. I had high hopes for the Meursault album and wasn't disappointed. And I've recently rediscovered Jethro Tull, and they are really very good. I don't really do the downloading thing.
Ben: I just bought Dear Science by TV on the Radio. It's been out for quite a while now but I just bought it the other weekend and I love it. I bought it on the Compact Disc medium which I never normally do because they always break and scratch. I knew we were going to Cottingham for this gig and wanted another CD for the car so we could all enjoy it on the way down. Unfortunately we forgot all the rest of the CDs, so for the entire journey we had a mixture of TV on the Radio and local radio. I have to be honest now and say I didn't tire of either.
Over the Wall play with We Were Promised Jetpacks at King Tut's, Glasgow on June 15; With De Rosa and Brother Louis Collective at Oran Mor, Glasgow on June 23.