This is my seventh interview with Lets Play God, I’m sure. After meeting them 5 years ago, I’ve followed their career as both a fan and a friend of the band. In this time, they’ve released two albums, had members come and go, they’ve played Les-Fest (now Wildfire), Hammerfest and to crowds all over Scotland.
After drummer John Coll announced last year that he was leaving the band, Lets Play God found a new drummer (well, he was actually recommended by John!) in the form of Liam McDonagh and buckled down, writing new music and booking shows for this year. Now, with new songs and a new drummer, the band are back in business! First stop – Amsterdam this weekend!
I caught up with the lads last month in LoFi studios for a quick catch up!
The past few years have seen some twists and turns for Lets Play God. How has Liam joining the band affected you and is there a different dynamic?
Whole band: OOOOH.
Sorry. Where did you get the band name from?
Rob: I think it’s been more fun. Definitely more fun. It’s kind of like getting ‘back to business’ for me, anyway.
John 2: I found it easier than I thought it was gonna be.I thought John would be really hard to replace and it’s not that he wasn’t – it just happened a lot faster than I anticipated.
Rob: When John left, it was kind of like an uphill battle. I just thought, ‘fuck, here we go’ then Liam showed up. It was actually similar to how it happened with Alex – we walked downstairs in the Solid, asked if he wanted to try out, two weeks later he’s in the band. It was a lot easier that way than just guy, after guy. And this guy has to deal with his cats every night… (Looks at Liam) do you have cats?
Rob: Aw sweet
What’s wrong with cats?
Liam, how are you finding Lets Play God? Did you struggle to adapt to the style?
Liam: A little bit. Obviously, they had a whole back catalogue to learn and there was three weeks until the next gig. I had to learn around 30 songs.
Liam: (laughing) yeah… It’s quite cool that this soon I’m getting to write new stuff with them, already.
Rob: I think it’s cool that also, the first gig that we played our new stuff. Every song was rushed, really but you (Liam) really showed up, and the way it was then is the way it is now. It’s pretty cool.
You’re going to Amsterdam soon, that’ll be a challenge. Both in terms of travel and winning over an unfamiliar crowd. Are any of you nervous about any of it?
John 2: It’s just the same as anywhere else, really. I mean we sometimes play in Glasgow and get two people in so if it happens in a place where nobody really knows us, it won’t be any different I don’t think.
Rob: I’m not worried about winning people over. It’s more getting people there to win over. Getting the bodies in is the worry but playing for them? Nah. It’s Amsterdam!
How do you feel about the local scene, currently?
Rob: What scene? That’s what I think of it.
Rob: I think we tried that years ago. I think we tried to kind of start it. And we saw some people’s true colours so we moved away from it. Which I think most bands have done. I think it’s a fallout from the whole thing that got started – people trying to make something that’s not really there.
Alex: I would say it really depends on the style. For me, I see a lot of different ‘scenes’. Like, the hardcore scene is really big, and it’s thriving. In terms of this kind of style, our band. I don’t really see it. I don’t know how to explain it.
Feels like it’s been the same bands for years?
Alex: It’s sad because it seems like they have each other’s backs.
Rob: It’s hard to make a scene when every band seems to be splitting up every few weeks. You can’t make a scene out of that. Usually a scene is – if you think, this is going back a long time but think of Bay Area- that was 4, 5 bands and that was it. They stuck together, they went out, then they had the Big Four. We don’t have anything like that.
Does it feel stagnant?
Rob: Yes. So I’d rather we did our own thing and did it well. I’d rather we didn’t always play with the exact same bands, never meet new people. I’d rather we toured and met – God knows – staying in this guitarist’s house, stealing your shoes and all that shit. I mean that’s funny! Your mate wouldn’t do that to you so why play with your mate?
John 2: All based on true events.
Tell me one thing you’ve learned, as a band, in the last year
John 2: (laughing) I don’t think I’ve learned very much…
Rob: For me, there’s no one thing but stick to your own guns, do your own thing.
Alex: Learn to not give a fuck as much. If you want to go do something, do it. Instead of waiting for such and such to get back to you.
John 2: Stop trying to make other people happy. Just… do it. Don’t be a dick about it but, do it. Thinking other people are important or you need them to do things, you don’t, just do it.
Rob: We might get sponsored by Nike
The last time that we spoke, you said that your main goal was having fun. Is this still the case? Last time we spoke, you’d basically gone from trying to make yourselves into a ‘brand’ and were more about, just having fun.
John 2: It has pretty much stayed the same since then, hasn’t it?
Alex: We’ve been more proactive since then, I’d say
Rob: I see it as a business that I get to have fun in. When it comes to actually playing a gig, finishing that song, get those moments – the moments you only have on stage – that’s the fun. Everything else I look at as business. That feeds into your question about the last year, actually.
John 2: I’m always looking for a way to move it forward but my main thing is still to just have fun. If it wasn’t fun I wouldn’t want to do it.
What can audiences expect from Lets Play God in 2016?
Rob: I think, out of everything we’ve done in the last ten years, it’s a lot more focused now. We’ve tried this, we’ve tried that. I think we’re more of a unit now. We know that what we do is really good. When you see us, you get it.
Liam: the new songs are very in-your-face, I think.
Rob: It did hit us at a certain point that this is where we want to be. Especially with music. Plus, we’ve got the new wheels (touring van)! We can stretch our legs… SLIGHTLY.
What are your upcoming plans?
Rob: We have got Amsterdam, that’s the next gig. We come back, and if we’re still together, we’ve got Whiskey Dick… It still feels so weird saying “We’ve got whiskey dick!”. We just found out about another gig that we’ll announce soon, too. Then, after that, a new CD/DVD and that’s us until the end of the year.
Is there anything else you’d like to talk about?
Rob: I would say. If you’re into that really heavy music, come and see us. I feel like the last CD is the closest to a live recording we’ve ever had. I don’t think we’re the kind of band that you can shove on as background music. It’s not been put on CD yet. If you want to check us out, look us up on YouTube or come and see us.
You think you’re an experience?
Rob: Definitely. Whether it’s a good one, I don’t know but definitely an experience!
Find Lets Play God on Facebook here to find out about new shows, music and things they’ve got in store or, go and see them live!
Rockclub, the Cave, Amsterdam – June 4th
Ivory Blacks, Glasgow – June 9th (supporting Whiskey Dick!)