JOCASTA Sleeps, a band with strong Shetland connections, played their highest profile gig to date at T in the Park last weekend.
The half-Shetland, half-Glasgow four-piece were one of a host of upcoming artists to play a set on the T Break stage at the Kinross festival in Perthshire on Sunday evening.
Speaking to The Shetland Times after the T in the Park show, frontman Callum Wiseman said: “It was awesome, it was really good. Better than we could have hoped, there was a good crowd and a really good response as well. I think it was the first time there were folk singing the words; a lot of people had seen us before, we were getting messages for weeks before from people saying ‘we’re looking forward to seeing you’.”
The group have been together for nearly two years, officially forming under their current moniker in March 2007.
Wiseman, 21, was originally from Sandwick and latterly lived in Vidlin before leaving for the mainland to study at college in Ayr, later moving to Glasgow. Terry Balfour, who was brought up in Voe, also plays in the band along with bassist John McGinley and drummer Niall McGarvie, both of whom are from Clydebank.
Having played an estimated 60 gigs in Glasgow over a 12-month period, things appear to be taking off for Jocasta Sleeps this year and they have also performed at the Rockness and goNorth festivals. They have been in London for four dates this week before heading off to play a series of shows in the Midlands later this month, while they are also on the bill for the Belladrum Festival in the Highlands in early August.
With huge changes afoot in the music industry at present and even top artists making higher and higher proportions of their income out of playing live rather than selling recordings, the group are not pursuing a record deal at present and are going down the route of trying to build up a fan base through extensive touring.
Wiseman cited the band’s main influences as American indie groups including Death Cab For Cutie, Jimmy Eat World and the Killers; he says the latter have had a particular impact on the faster mood of some of their songs. He also pointed to the influence of the big thing in Scottish guitar music at the moment, Biffy
Clyro, and 70s country-rockers the Eagles for their use of four-piece harmonies.
All three of Wiseman’s fellow band members contribute harmonies, a trend which has recently been brought back into fashion by the heavenly tones of the stunningly baroque Seattle five-piece Fleet Foxes.
Jocasta Sleeps have performed in a number of prestigious venues in Glasgow, including Oran Mor in the city’s West End, and following a headline show at King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut in November, received a glowing review from STV. They were said to be “reminiscent of early Idlewild in all the best ways” and were described as taking “a pinch of Biffy Clyro’s stop-start/quiet-loud style” and complementing it with Wiseman’s “heavily accented tones”.
Jocasta Sleeps have yet to perform live in Shetland, but they intend to remedy that by playing a tour of the Highlands and Islands at some stage. They are also tentatively planning to release their debut, as-yet-untitled, single in September or October. You can hear some of their demo tracks on the band’s website at www.myspace.com/jocastasleeps.