By John Curley
Among the up-and-coming UK-based acts that are gaining notoriety these days are Glasgow’s rock/pop/electronica trio GoGoBot. They’ve been getting airplay recently from some of the UK’s most respected DJs. Jim Gellatly of Glasgow’s Clyde 1 radio named GoGoBot as one of his “10 for 2010” at the start of the year.
GoGoBot are comprised of Marko Kelly (lead vocals, guitar. keyboards), Rosie McClune (bass, keyboards, vocals), and Gordon McNeil (drums, vocals, production).
I met Rosie McClune in March 2007, when she was playing in New York City with the all-female Glasgow-based quartet The Hedrons. I was really knocked out by Rosie’s musical talent. She is a fantastically talented musician, and has great stage presence as well. I recently conducted an e-mail interview with Rosie, in which she discussed her current role in GoGoBot among other topics.
How did you come to join the band?
Rosie McClune: I’ve known Gordo and Marko for years, played with Gordo in a previous project before I joined The Hedrons. My friend was playing a gig in Glasgow and I thought I’d head up to watch, and coincidentally GoGoBot were playing as well. I arrived just in time for their set and thought they were awesome for a two piece. I got talking to Gordo afterwards, and he was talking about becoming a three piece and asked if I’d be interested in playing bass. Of course I was, so that was that.
Since the band already existed as a duo prior to you becoming their third member, was it a difficult adjustment for you at the beginning?
Rosie McClune: Not really. They’re two very lovely, sweet guys who made me feel so welcome straight away. They’ve obviously been playing and writing together for years and work very well together, so in that sense you’d think it would be difficult but it’s been great.
If you had to put a label on GoGoBot’s music, what would it be?
Rosie McClune: Hmmm . . . it’s difficult to say. We try to make good catchy tunes that people will want to hear again and again. It’s pop/rock/electronica with a wee bit of everything else thrown in.
What is GoGoBot’s songwriting process like? Does each member of the band contribute to it?
Rosie McClune: When I joined, it was Gordo and Marko who were writing together. But how it works now is that if someone has an idea, we’ll sit round the computer trying to put it together. We all throw in ideas, and it’s mainly Marko who does most of the lyrics. But again, if someone has something better it’ll get used.
Are your musical tastes similar to the other members of GoGoBot?
Rosie McClune: Not really! Gordo is a HUGE Rush fan and he loves Muse like myself, Marko is a total metalboy but listens to all sorts of random stuff like me! We both love Justice, who are a French electronic act. Amazing.
Is GoGoBot getting airplay in the UK at the moment? If so, what stations are playing your music?
Rosie McClune: We’ve been getting some plays by Vic Galloway on his Radio 1 show and Steve Lamacq has played us on his BBC 6 Music show. Jim Gellatly is a fan and gives us regular plays on his podcast. We also got played on Gill Mills’ best of MySpace podcast, which is one of the top downloaded podcasts, so that’s cool!
GoGoBot did an interesting and entertaining podcast with Scottish DJ Jim Gellatly this past January in which he interviewed the band and you performed several songs. How did that come about? Did you know Gellatly prior to doing the podcast?
Rosie McClune: Yeah, we’ve known Jim for a while. We had a King Tut’s gig that week so we thought it'd be cool to have it clash with the gig. He’s given us a lot of support, and we’re very thankful.
What song in your set is getting the best reaction at live gigs?
Rosie McClune: Hmm . . . it’s difficult to say! I’d say maybe ‘Do You Remember.” We get all sorts of people coming up and saying they love all different songs, so that’s a very good thing.
What song do you enjoy playing the most live? And why do you like that one?
Rosie McClune: I like playing “First Class Fool” live, I think because it’s a jaunty little bassline and is just great fun to play.
Will GoGoBot be releasing a single? If so, what will the single be?
Rosie McClune: We’re hoping to release a single fairly soon, not sure what song it’s going to be. But I’d say it could be “We Are Here,” which has been getting the most airplay over here.
You were the lead guitarist in The Hedrons and you play bass and keyboards in GoGoBot. Do you play any other instruments?
Rosie McClune: I played cello for a while when I was younger and played in youth orchestras, which I enjoyed. I like to potter about on any instrument I can really! I wish I could be one of these folk who are just great at whatever they try. I started playing guitar when I was 16, and I knew I wanted to get better and eventually maybe play in a band.
Will GoGoBot be going on tour? If so, when and where?
Rosie McClune: Hopefully, when we release a single we’ll go on tour, probably focused around the UK. We’ve already done the Rock Ness festival here and GoNorth and coming up we have the Wickerman festival and Belladrum, so they should be awesome.
Do you have any plans to play in the States? CMJ in NYC in October or next year’s SXSW, perhaps?
Rosie McClune: We’d love to play SXSW, I played it with The Hedrons and Gordo has played it. It’s one of the most amazing places to play. I guess it all depends on if we get any sort of backing and money behind us!
UK-based bands have had a very difficult time getting a foothold in America in recent years. Since you toured America a few times as a member of The Hedrons, do you have any ideas about how GoGoBot can avoid that fate? And why do you think it is that so many excellent UK-based bands just don’t seem to go over well in America?
Rosie McClune: I think the most important thing is songs. And in my opinion, the UK is full of indie bands that just all sound exactly the same as each other and it gets boring for everyone. I like to think that GoGoBot are just a wee bit different in that sense. But I think for any band trying to break the US, it’s so difficult because it’s such a huge country and requires a huge amount of touring/promo, etc. Unless you win American Idol, in which case it’s all handed over to you overnight!
When you were with The Hedrons, the band supported the Sex Pistols at Glasgow’s SECC. What was that experience like, supporting a legendary act like the Pistols in your hometown?
Rosie McClune: That was amazing. We were pretty nervous about that because if the Pistols’ fans don’t like you then they’ll let you know about it. But we went down really well, and it’s one of those things you look back on and think “Holy shit, I can’t believe we did that!” Got to meet Johnny Rotten briefly, too.
In a chat we had recently, you told me that it was all about the music for you. Could you elaborate on that a bit?
Rosie McClune: Well, I’ve always just wanted to play music, anywhere. I’m not picky about where or even if I get paid for it or not. I just love playing! I’ve played in church choirs, school groups, and the like. In front of no one in some dingy wee pub somewhere, it’s all the same to me. If you’re in a touring band, you’re obviously so lucky to be there. But it has its hard parts when you’re stuck on a bus for hours and hours, then hanging around for ages when really all you want to do is the gig. You also get to meet all sorts of great people and visit places you’d never get the chance to do otherwise, so these things make it worth it.
Is the music scene in Glasgow thriving these days? Or has the credit crunch made it difficult for bands and the live music clubs in the city?
Rosie McClune: There’s quite a lot of free venues in Glasgow now, which I think is taking away from paying venues. Obviously, if you have a choice between a free gig and a paying gig, you’re going to go to the free one! I don’t actually go to gigs just for the hell of it. I get bored easily! If a band I like is playing or a friend, then I'll go. But I never just decide to go to a gig.
Are there any other Glasgow-based bands that you’d like to recommend to our readers?
Rosie McClune: I’d say check out Penny Black, A Band Called Quinn, Maeve O’Boyle, Super Adventure Club, and Camera Obscura. All excellent.
What is the remainder of 2010 looking like for GoGoBot?
Rosie McClune: God knows! I don’t even know what we’re doing next week! Hopefully, get a single release and a wee tour on the go.
To watch GoGoBot’s video for “The Survey Says Dance!”, click below:
To watch the video for “We Are Here” by GoGoBot, click below:
Additional GoGoBot songs can be heard in the music player on their MySpace page.
The podcast that GoGoBot did with DJ Jim Gellatly (mentioned in the interview above) can be downloaded for free from iTunes in the United States. To download it, do a search on “Jim Gellatly’s New Music” in the iTunes Store. Once you’ve found Gellatly’s podcast, the GoGoBot one is listed as “Episode 68: GoGoBot HQ” and the Release Date is listed as 1/24/2010. The podcast clocks in at 55:49. It’s a good listen. And if you want to hear the latest music coming out of Scotland, I’d recommend subscribing to Gellatly’s podcast. He does a great job with it. And the music he plays is top notch.
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