Published: 12/12/2013 13:08 - Updated: 12/12/2013 12:44

Local Band Spotlight: Stellar ambitions

The Stellars
The Stellars

FOR a relatively young band, The Stellars have a very clear ambition.

"Within a year we want to be the biggest band in Inverness," lead singer Darren Macrae declared.

Things are already off to a good start for the band, who have already booked a place at Glasgow’s O2 Academy in January after impressing the judges in the SoundWave Music Competition for unsigned talent, and releasing debut single Lucy in the New Year.

The band had its origins when guitarist Steven Barclay spotted Macrae on a work break and asked him if he wanted to be in a band.

Drummer John Seath, an old friend of Macrae’s, was added to the number when he came round to his house one night and started banging on a drum kit. It was only later that Seath said he had only been joking around.

Completing the line-up are bass player Andrew Birnie and guitarist Aiden Macleod, all of them committed to making new music with classic Brit rock influences.

"All of us are on the same page," Macrae said.

"We have got our own kind of thing musically, but we wouldn’t know how to do what we want to if it wasn’t for bands like The Beatles, the Stone Roses or Oasis."

At the heart of The Stellars are the songs written by the Barclay and Macrae partnership.

"I always wrote songs myself, but nothing compared to what we can do now," Barclay said.

Macrae in turn describes himself as a better songwriter than a musician, but though he usually provides the lyrics with Barclay adding the melody, it can also work the other way round.

Taking their name from Macrae’s interest in space, the band started off with some low key acoustic gigs back in February, but it was as the group added newer members that things really began to take off with shows at Aberdeen’s Lemon Tree as well as in Glasgow and Fort William.

"We don’t want to get caught in a spiral as one of these bands that just keeps playing the same venues," Barclay explained.

"We need the support of the Inverness music scene because that is where we are based, but we never wanted to play Inverness the whole time."

The band’s debut single, Lucy, was not even the song they meant to release when they went into the studio to record, but when they played it back, they all agreed it was the song they had to release.

"You can stream it just now on Soundcloud, but it’ll be released online in February," Barclay said.

"We’ll probably do a launch show in Inverness and a few others across the country. We’re starting off the year with the gig at the O2 and that will be the biggest date that we’ve done.

"At the O2 we will be among the 12 best unsigned bands from across Scotland, but it feels natural and it also feels like we have deserved it. We have worked hard and we are the most deserving band. We definitely have plans for 2014 and we’re hoping to get involved with some of the festivals. It’s going to be a big year for us."

• The Stellars support Red Kites at The Ironworks, Academy Street, Inverness, on Sunday 14th December.

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