Indietracks interview #15: Wake The President

Wake The President singer Erik Sandberg’s lyrics are inspired by the characters of Glasgow; to him the old men propping up bars or wandering the streets are the lifeblood of the city. The songs he sings, melancholic reminiscences of blonde girls from the past, tales of the deceit and debauchery of the West End, resonate with the slurred poetry of these men, philosophising over whisky water at the Ben Nevis. Bjorn, his quieter twin, provides the parchment upon which Erik’s commentary is scrawled, his guitar-playing channelling the clang of C86, the fury of Josef K and the jangle of Johnny Marr. Wake the President have some high-profile supporters, including BBC Radio 2 DJs Stuart Maconie and Mark Radcliffe. Both of the bands 2008 singles, ‘Remember Fun?’ and ‘You Can’t Change That Boy’, were voted single of the week on their show and soon after, they invited the band in for an on-air session. In-between all this, Wake the President have spent time on the dole, sold fruit (and chimpanzee meat, if you asked nicely enough) on Dalston market and whiled away many hours being bed-sit pop dreamers. The band’s debut album ‘You Can’t Change That Boy’ was released in March 2009.

Hi Erik, tell us a little bit about the band
We’re all football fans, half of the band are Celtic fans and the other (good half) support Rangers.

What music are you enjoying at the moment?
I’m currently involved in a musical called ‘A Time and a Place’, It’s a comedy about a Glasgow band who strike it rich in Spain. It’s the most inspiring piece I’ve had the pleasure of conducting.

Tell us about an unusual place you’ve played a gig in the past
I played at a Municipal building in Glasgow recently, James Kirk even came along… It was our album launch, I was sober for a change.

Do you have any exciting plans for the rest of the year?
Putting the album out in the States and going there to perform. There’s a label in Portland called Magic Marker who we managed to con into taking us on. We’ve also got some deals in Japan, the Philippines and Australia.

Do any band members have any particular skills, hobbies or claims to fame you wish to share?I’m good at playing with my hair. My general interests are time-wasting and avoiding ‘the world of work’ at any cost. I’ve not paid a gas or electricity bill in about 6 years, mainly due to the fact that I’ve been living in Glasgow gangsters’ flats in the west-end.

What’s going to be on your compilation tapes as you travel down to Indietracks?

Tim Buckley, Scott Walker, Felt, The Champagne Socialists, Peter Parker, Prefab Sprout, Apres Ski, Spiritualized, Je Suis Animal, The Sexual Objects, The Carrots, Depeche Mode.

Do you have any surprises planned for the Indietracks festival?
Not to get drunk.

What attracted you to play the Indietracks festival?
I enjoy bumping into Sean Pop! for a gin or two, and Stuart is just the champion. I think I’ll pinch his bum when I see him this year. Sean – are you going to buy me a gin? It has to be Hendricks Gin, though. With a slice of cucumber.

Who are you most looking forward to seeing at the Indietracks festival, and why?
The Carrots, but I hear they’re not playing any more. Zoey van Goey were my highlight last year, and Je Suis Animal – f**k me, they’re the dog’s b*llocks.

Thanks Erik – see you there!