WEST Lothian band Black Balloons soar up to Inverness for the first time on Saturday.
The four-piece from Bathgate and Whitburn make their Mad Hatters debut as part of a mini-Scottish tour – following up a short tour to Sheffield, Manchester and Cardiff earlier this year.
“We’ve played Glasgow and Edinburgh, but now we want to play anywhere we’ve never played before,” said bassist Owen Wicksted.
“We learned a lot – we quite like doing everything ourselves, so we set up the tours ourselves. Next time we would be more organised and probably get bands to recommend places too.
“No-one outside Glasgow and Edinburgh really knows us, so we didn’t expect massive crowds. But after playing, we got people coming up to say they’d enjoyed it and wanting CDs, so that was good.”
The band have a four-track EP on CD and for sale digitally on iTunes and they have a video up on YouTube of their single This House – plus T-shirts.
“We invested a lot of our own money into those things,” Owen said.
“We’ve had some good support slots in Glasgow and now we’ve got some promoters who know us. We’ve supported bands from America such as DIIV and The Soft Pack at the start of this year.
“We’ve all been in different local bands, then we each decided we wanted to be a bit more serious about a band.”
Owen is going to the University of West Scotland in Paisley to study sound production and music technology and works weekends, the rest of the band work during the week, so it can be hard to get the time to play gigs.
When one of the English gigs fell through, Black Balloons were offered a bed for the night by a friend in North of Wales.
“We were really tired, but he helped out with a place to stay and got us a gig in the back room of his local pub.
“It was a typical small pub with local bruisers sitting at the bar – and us playing to three people in the back. We didn’t want to be unprofessional, but we realised everyone who was watching wasn’t really watching, they were just being polite!”
The band’s striking name came from their ex-guitarist Gav – his parting gift before he headed for Australia.
“Gav came back two weeks ago, but is going again,” said Owen.
“He hasn’t heard us play, so he’s meant to be coming with us to Inverness.
“He’ll be hearing us play for the first time!”
Black Balloons play Mad Hatters on Saturday.