Gutsy, authentic and multifaceted rock from these Scottish proggers
FOR MANY BANDS, living communally is part of the rock’n’roll dream – for EBB it’s simply what they do and an important element of their shared identity. Wintering in their base, an arts collective in rural Scotland, lead singer and guitarist Erin Bennett, Kitty Biscuits (percussion, backing vocals) and producer-bassist Finn McGregor (aka Bad Dog) bask in the warmth of the hugely positive reception for current album, Mad & Killing Time. Its central tale of how love can be found between the most unexpected people in the most bizarre circumstances is told through a winning combination of eclectic storytelling and strong songwriting. “God, we’ve had incredible receptions from various different online and print publications; good, great, really killer reviews,” Bennett enthuses. “People have really listened to it from beginning to end, which is what we wanted. It’s like a film that takes you on a journey,” continues Biscuits. Although EBB’s official recording career covers barely three years, the band share connections that go back much further.
Initially finding common cause personally and musically after an accidental meeting in the US in 2005, they formed strong bonds as friends and collaborators in various combinations over the next few years. A personal tragedy ultimately forged the present band, when Jo Heeley, Bennett’s civil partner and bandmate in folk rock trio Syren, passed away after a short illness in 2012. “When Jo died it was just appalling and [Erin] went down like the Titanic,” reflects McGregor. “And we formed the Erin Bennett Band around her to kind of get her going.” Although Bennett continued writing and performing, the evolution into EBB was marked by 2019’s Death & The Maiden EP and fully bloomed during lockdown. “We completely smashed that [backing band] model, we were locked down together… and played for 18 months,” says Bennett. “It was very much about live jamming and the prog,” agrees McGregor. That prog derives from the rich and varied influences and experiences of EBB’s members, which include folk, classical, performance art, shock rock and poetry or “symbiotic twins of American classic music and European innovation and eccentricity,” suggests Biscuits.
Plans for this year will invariably include more gigging. “We’re going back on tour again to promote the album. We’ve got a number of dates, some of which we can’t reveal just yet,” teases Bennett. “We just want to get out and play live. There’s an energy and feedback, which we need as artists,” Biscuits adds. However, being a majority female band, gigging has thrown up issues with punters, for instance, assuming they must use backing tapes to produce their live performances. Thankfully, as Bennett is quick to observe, “In the last year or so, we’ve had an awful lot more respect and good nature than we have had previously.” New material is also on the horizon, but what might the band use as subject matter? Kitty Biscuits has already decided, “Death, life, agony and love! And lots of hummingbirds and aquatic, amorphous, iridescent creatures!” Of course.
From "Limelight - EBB" Prog
Issue 138 Reprinted with permission.