What's next for this year's Great Escape showcase artists

This year, four incredible Scottish music acts performed at Europe’s leading festival of new and emerging music, The Great Escape, presented by Wide Days and Creative Scotland.

The whole showcase is now available to watch on YouTube:

In celebration of this, we caught up with Zoe Graham, Swim School, MEMES and Hamish Hawk to find out more about their sound, what it was like showcasing in a digital environment, and what's next for them.

They'll each be taking over our Instagram in the coming months - give us a follow so you can go behind the scenes with them.

Jump to:

Zoe Graham

Tell us about you and your sound

I’m a solo artist from sunny Glasgow and have been performing and writing material for a good few years. I would say that my sound is constantly changing, my first EP “Hacket & Knackered” featured a lot of acoustic instruments and lyrically driven songs. After a year of co-writing, learning how to write in very different styles and forms, my writing took on a more noticeable pop persona - while still retaining its lyrical story telling roots. Looking ahead, I feel my writing style has changed again, possibly to a middle ground of the two older pieces of work. But with a new twist of wonky and groovy sounds. Taking influence from artists like David Byrne, Cate Le Bon, Perfume Genius and HAIM.

How would you describe your performance style? What has it been like translating this into the digital landscape?

My solo live show is what people have seen the most at the moment. I have toured with my solo set up extensively and it has become something that is easily modulated from support to headline slots. On stage I juggle live loops, a drum machine, synth and guitar and try my best to keep the songs as efficient as possible… no 5 minutes of building loops before the song has even begun hehe.

Translating this to the digital landscape has been interesting but not too challenging… so far. Of course, like everyone, navigating a show with no audience is always going to be tough. But the incredible opportunities I’ve been lucky to get over the pandemic, like The Great Escape, have allowed me to showcase with really high quality footage and audio. I think the most important, and somewhat challenging aspect is to get right  is being able to portray a real life live feeling in your virtual showcase. There isn’t any time for stage chat, and no audience to feed off of. But somehow, once you get past that, putting in a good show is quite easy, especially when you know the lighting, sound and visuals are all professionally taken care of.

What’s next for you now TGE is over? What are you excited for in the upcoming year?

Right now, I’m doing as much writing as I can. I’m starting to explore new artistic styles and trying create music that I would listen to myself. Music that I feel pushes me into a new sonic and visual territory. I’m also dead excited because we’re GETTING THE BAND BACK TOGETHER! My band live show is something that has been under constant development for a few years, but now it’s starting to feel right, the way I want it. All covid correct, fingers crossed, we’ll be playing Liverpool Sound City in October. So I’m looking forward to get back to playing shows in new cities, solo or with my band. To be honest I’m just buzzing to do anything other than the same old dross we’ve been doing the last year… so bring it on!

Listen to Zoe Graham on Spotify

Watch Zoe Graham on YouTube

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Swim School

Tell us about you and your sound

We're a band from Edinburgh called 'swim school', we're a 4-piece guitar band. Our sound is a merge of indie and also heavier aspects such as rock and grunge, but we're not really tied down to any genre.

How would you describe your performance style? What has it been like translating this into the digital landscape?

We're very much a band that focuses on putting on a show, rather than just a gig. We focus on how the lighting will look, the way that the set is structured, interludes in-between songs, we use tracks to add more layers to our sound, everything down to how everything is set up and looks on stage too has been thought out. We really want our shows to be an accurate representation as what we want to be as a band. We've been lucky enough to still play shows that have been filmed for virtual events, like TGE amongst others, and we've tried to put in as much energy into those shows as we would do if there was a crowd watching us.

We're very fortunate that the events we've done have had a lot of production behind them, which has allowed us to perform exactly like we would live, and also had great audio and video recordings, so the quality is perfect. At our studio we rehearse set up exactly how we are when playing live, so we're thankful that it's been an easy transition from practicing to doing virtual events.

What’s next for you now TGE is over? What are you excited for in the upcoming year?

TGE has been great for us, it's a festival that we absolutely love, and since we've played the festival we've had really exciting gig offers coming through such as Latitude festival and other amazing gigs throughout the year. We're really excited for the return of live shows, but if there ever was a situation where we have to do a show virtually, we're very much set up to be able to do that now. We've got lots of support from Creative Scotland, we know the guys at Captureworks, we're very lucky to have had this experience and it's definitely another string to our bow that we can use in the future, and we're more than ready for when gigs come back this year.

Listen to Swim School on Spotify

Watch Swim School on YouTube

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MEMES

Tell us about you and your sound

We are MEMES, a duo from Glasgow formed in 2019. Our sound is raw and punk/alternative guitar music. We don't have a live drummer, so all beats are electronic and played via a laptop for live performances.

How would you describe your performance style? What has it been like translating this into the digital landscape?

We just approached TGE the same as a live show - loud and with lots of energy. We try to keep live performances a bit frantic and with some spontaneity. We were fortunate enough to have recorded  live stream performances for Wide Days, SXSW and C/O Pop ahead of TGE, so we were quite comfortable with playing to cameras only.

What’s next for you now TGE is over? What are you excited for in the upcoming year?

We're very excited to get back to playing in front of a live audience this year. We start with a sold out show at King Tut's in Glasgow supporting Dead Pony in August before shows at festivals around Europe and in England. We have headline shows on Edinburgh and Aberdeen in December to look forward to as well. We'll also be releasing some new music in the next month or so.

Listen to MEMES on Spotify

Watch MEMES on YouTube

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Hamish Hawk

Tell us about you and your sound

I’m Hamish Hawk and I’m an Edinburgh-based songwriter. Although I don’t like to think on genre too much when I’m writing music, the lion’s share of what I’ve released falls under the indie-pop heading. Lyrically driven alternative pop music, with big melodies and emotions running high.

How would you describe your performance style? What has it been like translating this into the digital landscape?

When performing live, I thrive on the energy of a crowd. Something happens to the air when an audience and a performer are fully in-sync, and I’m forever on the prowl for that kind of connection when playing live. I think it’s fair to say that online performances are hard pressed to fill the void left behind in the absence of live shows, but without them, where would we be? No shows at all!  Online events such as TGE have allowed us to put our music out there for the fans who want it, so I really couldn’t be happier.

What’s next for you now TGE is over? What are you excited for in the upcoming year?

So, my new album ‘Heavy Elevator will be released on 17th September, 2021, and should everything go to plan, the band and I are hoping to get some touring under our belt before the year is out. We’re also looking to record some new stuff as soon as possible. There’s a lot of new songs, I’m running out of notepads!

Listen to Hamish Hawk on Spotify

Watch Hamish Hawk on YouTube

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This article was published on 22 Jun 2021