dirty talk David Pollock finds out what’s in a name and how to get your heroes to work with you from Warmduscher frontman, Clams Baker Jr

‘What does “warmduscher” mean?’ echoes the artist known as Clams Baker Jr, who fronts the band of the same name. ‘It’s an old German insult which my friends there used to call me it’s like calling someone a wimp or a punk, like they take warm showers. Which is funny, because the word looks so macho. In fact, a lot of people think it must mean something dirty.’ It’s a name which represents the music they make, as most recently heard on this year’s third album Tainted Lunch; dirty, macho Southern-style rock, with a soulful, soft-centred heart.

Warmduscher are Clams’ (Craig Higgins Jr) thing, although he used to share the band with Saul Adamczewski of Fat White Family. Recorded by producer Dan Carey, the new album was essentially a live recording, each side made in a day, with a couple of days for subsequent overdubs. The album strays through garage rock, funk and disco; Clams says he was ‘a cassette boy’ who grew up with artists like James Brown in his youth. His influences range from Butthole Surfers to Parliament to gangsta rap to noise electronica, and two personal heroes appear on this album.

‘It’s just asking, man!’ he

says of how he got Iggy Pop and Kool Keith to guest. ‘Iggy was playing us all the time on his 6 Music show, and I thought it would be amazing to get him to record an intro for us so I asked his manager, wrote the words for him, and he did it over the phone. Kool Keith I had spoken to years ago and he was up for doing it, but I couldn’t afford him. I asked again this time and he was down for it, he’s even doing a video for us! It’s how this band works anyway, because everyone is all over the place, but somehow it all comes together and works.’ (David Pollock) n Warmduscher play QMU, Glasgow as part of The Great Western, Sat 23 Nov.


As Songhoy Blues get ready to headline The Great Western Glasgow’s new multi-venue music and arts festival the Malian desert blues collective talk to Robin Murray about forging connections, the importance of politics to their music and their love of bagpipes

S onghoy Blues are a band on a mission. Formed in the aftermath of civil conflict in their native Mali, they feel duty bound to tell the world about their struggle and the rich culture that propels them forwards. It’s a journey that has taken them around the globe, and when we finally track down the group’s Aliou Touré, they’re somewhere in New Mexico travelling to their next show.

‘You know, it’s always joyful for us to be onstage,’ he beams. ‘If you can do that forever, we’d be more than happy to do it.’ Music for Songhoy Blues is a means of bringing people together, of smashing down boundaries and having an incredible time while doing it. ‘Music is the best love we share together,’ he insists. ‘The language and the culture doesn’t matter it’s just the feeling people get and the love we share with them which is most important. We are proud to see people across the world jumping on our music.’ With two stunning studio albums under their collective belts, Songhoy Blues recently unveiled their brand new EP ‘Meet Me In The City’, boasting an exceptional cover of Fela Kuti’s uncompromising afrobeat statement ‘Shakara’. For this band of Malian migrants, politics and music are naturally intertwined. ‘We are a band that is fighting against what is going on in Africa all the political corruption,’ Aliou states. ‘People fall in love with our music and most of them ask us about the meaning, the lyrics, the background story. We feel responsible for that, to write something that they can understand. Then we can entertain each other, and they can know the feeling, the background message behind our music.’ It’s a radical message, he adds, one perhaps driven out of the political arena: ‘So, what about putting the message through the art, or the culture?’

52 THE LIST 1 Nov 2019–31 Jan 2020

The band toasted the recent release while staying in Mississippi, a location key to the emergence of the blues. Indeed, the new EP contains a Junior Kimbrough cover, a nod towards their American cousins, that connects the blues to its African origins. ‘When you hear that, you straight away realise the link between the blues and the music we play,’ he says. ‘Literally, when we hear that blues from Mississippi, we hear ourselves straight away inside it.’ Currently making plans to get back into the studio, Songboy Blues are relishing the opportunity to take their stunning live show to new crowds and new faces. It’s an overwhelming cavalcade of ideas, utilising the deep roots of Malian culture in a startlingly new way. ‘Every time people come to a concert venue they listen to it, and they hear it, and they enjoy it from a different angle. Some of them hear the message, some of them are interested about the energy and the groove, and some of them are interested about the melody. I want people to take as much as they possibly can from our music.’

Continually touring, Songhoy Blues touch down in Glasgow for The Great Western festival in November it’s a city they know well and the thought of returning to Scotland is a tantalising one for many reasons. ‘The pipes!’ he beams. ‘I love that instrument!’ Indeed, Songhoy Blues are living proof of music’s eternal power to forge connections. ‘The journey is all about that,’ he comments. ‘For us, the journey is much more important than the objective. When you travel you find those links between cultures and the links between human beings. We’re all the same.’

Songhoy Blues, Queen Margaret Union, Glasgow, Sat 23 Nov; part of The Great Western, various venues, Glasgow, Sat 23 Nov,