“I’ve got no qualms about p***ing people off,” says A Fight You Can’t Win frontman Matthew Bakewell. He’s talking about the band’s campaign to win a place on Hog The Stage, the competition for Scottish acts to appear at Edinburgh’s Hogmanay – on the same bill as headliners Biffy Clyro.
“It’s over 18s anyway, isn’t it?”
He then goes on – in some detail – to give an example of the kind of between-song banter he’s become (in)famous for.
“We’re being realistic about it,” says drummer Sander, once Matthew’s active imagination’s been exhausted.
“Though we do feel we’re a good fit with Biffy Clyro.”
“And there’s a lot more people who like heavy music than let on,” adds bassist Paul.
If they did end up hogging the stage on New Year’s Eve, Edinburgh’s revellers would be in for a heavy treat indeed.
Since forming in March 09 from the embers of a band Northern Irish Matthew & Paul used to play in, A Fight You Can’t Win have stuck to their ‘manifesto’ of firing out short, powerful and poppy grunge-coated classics, as evidenced by their excellent (and over far too quickly) debut LP. [Download it – FOR FREE – here]
“It was officially an LP by 6 seconds!” says Matthew. “But we’ve broken our own rules now – one of our songs is over 3 minutes long! It’s time to move on.”
Dutch drummer Sander nods. He joined Paul & Matthew after swaying between wanting to join the band and feeling he was too busy with other commitments.
“The guys advertised on a music site saying their influences were the kind of bands I loved – Nirvana, Soundgarden, Queens of the Stone Age, Tool.”
“My wife encouraged me to go along to the rehearsal, and I was hooked,” he recalls.
As a trio, A Fight You Can’t Win have since gigged at every opportunity, taking their sound on the road around Scotland and Northern Ireland.
“One of our first gigs was at The Wee Red Bar,” says Matthew. “It was absolutely crazy, really mental.”
“And, as we went on, we met some other bands that shared our attitude – and we’ve become mates with a few, such as Hagana and Fatalists.”
Though issues outwith their control saw them having to take their foot off the gas a bit.
“Things went a little bit stagnant,” admits Matthew.
“Around this time last year, we first had the idea of getting an extra guitarist in. We thought about Dave from Hagana, then had the idea of getting a female in – we wanted a different perspective.”
Enter Lesley. After some string pulling from the depths of Facebook, a mysterious svengali put A Fight You Can’t Win in touch with one of the finest female guitarists in the city.
“She’s filled things out,” says Paul. “The extra guitar really adds to our live sound.”
“Though I’ve only played with them live once,” says Lesley, a bit nervously. “I’m still cr*pping myself at the moment!”
She needn’t worry about her trousers (nor need the audience..). Lesley is also guitarist with Edinburgh ‘angry popsters’ Jump:Press A, where she regularly demonstrates her considerable skills with the six-string.
“J:PA songs are quite intricate,” she says, when asked what the difference between playing in the two bands is. “I’ve got to be spot on when playing with them.”
“With A Fight You Can’t Win,” she says, smiling, “it’s totally different. I can go up to 11 with this lot.”
As A Fight You Can’t Win prepare for another gig (by swigging Guinness and drying their trousers – don’t ask…), we would love to see them go all the way up to 2011 on Hogmanay.
With their powerful and well-crafted grunge-pop arsenal, they’d see in the new year with a bang louder than the fireworks.
Even if Matthew does end up getting arrested afterwards.