I first heard of The Begbies while having a browse through Twitter finding some new bands to listen to. I stumbled on a video for their track ‘Ashleigh’ and I’ve been a fan ever since. Fusing Ska, Punk and Indie influences the band have a great sound that their loyal fanbase eat up at their gigs, most recently their sell-out King Tut’s show as part of the venue’s New Year’s Revolution series of events.
Hailing from West Lothian, The Begbies started off their career as a band in 2009 after a chance meeting at a Babyshambles gig. The 5-piece is made up of Stuart, Liam, Gary, Alex and Elliott. Over the past few years the band have been perfecting their craft and tightening their live performances; a fact appreciated by their rabid fan base who follow them here, there and everywhere, bouncing from the first note to the last.
When recording they use La Chunky in Glasgow, a studio Liam advises pushes the band to their maximum potential. This is clear on their debut album It’s Not Good Music, It’s Good Grammar which shows off the bands influences perfectly. With tracks including ‘Something About Niki’, ‘Ashleigh (Scott G Remix)’ and ‘Pythagoras Theorum’ there’s not a bad track on it – I’ll challenge you to hear ‘Ashleigh’ and not bob about at the very least. The album is really excellent, like The View and The Libertines getting together to make a Ska-pop album but with a slightly different end result than you’d expect.
We caught up with guitarist for the band Liam Corbett to shoot the breeze and find out a bit more.
Firstly, can you introduce us to the band?
The band consists of Stuart Arfield (vocals), Liam Corbett (guitar), Gary Ovens (guitar), Alex Paton (bass) and Elliott Hart (drums).
For any readers who haven’t heard you yet – how would you describe your sound?
We are a ska-inspired indie band or ‘Skindie’ as we like to say. Think The Clash and The Specials merged with The View and The Libertines but not quite as good as any haha!
How and when did the band meet?
Stuart and I grew up with each other in Knightsbridge, Glasgow. We learned to play football together and we learned to drink together so we thought “lets learn to be in a band together”. We started as a 4-piece playing punk-inspired tunes but wanted to add a new dimension to the band so recruited Gary. Gary used to play on the local scene but he played acoustic stuff, which we aren’t normally into. Gary was different but instead of singing Adele covers to impress the girls, he played The Buzzcocks, The Libertines and The Beatles. We then added Paton, who I knew from school, and then finally young Elliott.
What’s your fanbase like?
Absolutely mental and we love it! They follow us everywhere and always bring the bounce. They honestly make it all worthwhile, I know that’s such a cliché thing to say but they do. They chant our name at our gigs, they even chant our name at other people’s gigs haha!
What can people expect from your live shows?
Energy, sweat, tears, blood, Frankie funnels, singing, dancing and the occasional swear word.
How do you go about writing music as a band?
We like to argue about a new song for a week, call each other names, not speak to each other for a week then somehow, at the end of a two-week cooling off period we are all best friends again and have a new tune haha! In fairness we all come up with new ideas. Me and Stuart write most of the lyrics but everything else is an open forum.
And what’s your recording process?
We are lucky that we found the best place creatively for us in La Chunky studios in Glasgow. Johnny Smilie and all the gang there are amazing. They know how to stretch us to get the best out us and it always comes across in the work. We recorded the album there. We also recorded ‘Ashleigh’, ‘Something About Niki’ and ‘Tales of a Lonely Ex’ there as well. We love the place.
What’s been the best gig you’ve played as a band to date?
We are lucky that we have played some amazing shows down the years. We supported The View last year at a sold out doghouse in Dundee which was incredible. We headlined the o2 Academy late last year but our best ever show has to be our headline show at King Tuts last week. To sell out King Tuts, with the help of the support acts, is incredible. The crowd was so up for it on the night, the place was bouncing. The feeling on stage was electric. As a band we could feel that the night was special. We had done a few interviews before the show for the press and at various points during the show I looked out and seen the interviewer’s crowd surfing haha! That’s when you know it’s a special night.
What are you most looking forward to as a band this year?
We have a new video coming out early January which is always exciting. I think people also look forward to seeing our videos as we always try to make them funny. We are supporting Twisted Wheel and The Modern Faces in February and could have our biggest show to date lined up for February as well but you’ll have to keep your ears peeled for that. Oh yeah and Elliott should finally get pubes this year haha!
What were the bands highlights in 2013?
The release and success of our debut Album It’s Not Good Music, It’s Good Grammar was a massive highlight. We basically wrote 8 brand new tracks for it as we didn’t want to just release stuff that we had been playing in our set for years which worked out great. We played some huge shows and some massive stages, think the only big stage we haven’t played in Scotland now is the world-famous Barrowlands. We released a new video, ‘Something About Niki’, which was watched and endorsed by none other than Ewan McGregor, which is always nice.
What are the band’s plans for 2014?
We are hoping for the Holy Grail for unsigned bands – some festivals. I think we would do so well at a festival. The type of music we play makes you want to dance and enjoy yourself, exactly what is wanted at a festival.
Where can people hear/download your tracks?