THE importance of role models in the family is not to be underestimated – especially when the role model turns out to be one of the coolest men in pop.
Attic Lights frontman Kev Sherry didn’t fully appreciate the significance of his mum’s cousin David dropping in for his tea when he came home to Scotland from his new life in New York. Not until he saw him on TV.
Kev, set to release the second Attic Lights album next month, said: “I remember my mum telling me when I was about seven that I had a cousin who was on Top of the Pops. I was like, ‘No I don’t – that’s just for famous people’.”
At the time, New York art pop band Talking Heads were at their popular mid-80s peak, with songs like Once In A Lifetime, And She Was, Road To Nowhere and Burning Down The House winning them radio airtime, millions of sales and an enduring sense of cool.
But to Kev, second cousin David Byrne – their lead singer – was just a guy who sometimes popped in to see his mum.
Kev said: “They all grew up in Dumbarton. David moved to New York when he was about eight but he and my mum always stayed close over the years.
“When he made it with Talking Heads he would always send over some vinyl albums. But when my mum explained who he was and showed me a Talking Heads record, I was like, ‘If he can do it, I can do it’.
“It gives you licence to think that way. People think that’s a different world and in Scotland there’s that thing of, ‘Don’t be daft, be realistic’. But I think because it seemed almost normal to me after that it seemed somehow possible to think about
being in a band. Obviously he did it far more spectacularly.
“Mum played Talking Heads constantly. I associate them with her Hoovering on a Saturday afternoon.
“I said that once to David after my mum passed away. He said their producer Brian Eno always referred to them as Hoovering music too.
“But I intentionally didn’t make music sounding like them because it might look like you’re trying to take advantage of your family.”
Kev is preparing to resume frontman duties with his band, re-emerging with new LP Super Deluxe after the breakdown of their deal with Island Records.
They switched last year to Spanish independent label Elefant, home to fellow Glasgow jangle-pop outfit Camera Obscura. With a batch of new songs, the band are at last set to follow debut LP Friday Night Lights.
It has been a long time coming but Kev is confident it’s worth the wait, even if fans might notice some changes.
He said: “There’s some darker stuff there because some of us went through some tough personal stuff.
“But there are also a couple of funky disco numbers because Colin McArdle (bass and co-vocals) and I are big Motown and Philadelphia soul fans.”
And he’s determined that their own fans won’t have to wait as long between albums two and three.
“We have another album’s worth of songs, so there’s definitely another album there,” he said. “We want to keep doing it. Why wouldn’t you?”
Attic Lights’ album Super Deluxe is out on May 6. New single Say You Love Me is out now, and they play Nice N Sleazy on May 26.