Given how long they’ve been around, it’s remarkable that The Mars Patrol are still to release their debut album. But that’s exactly what the talented Edinburgh six-piece are set do on 20 August.
Human Condition is proceeded by the band’s excellent new single, Not About You, which features an accompanying video directed by John Hardwick (Travis, Noel Gallagher, Arctic Monkeys, Jake Bugg).
Stalwarts of the local music scene, The Mars Patrol have been honing their stirring alt-rock sound over a series of rapturously-received EPs and singles.
The outfit’s new material examines fresh, untouched territory, directing listeners to interesting features, and placing themselves in sunny positions to weather winter months.
Ahead of the release of Human Condition, AAA caught up with The Mars Patrol’s frontwoman, Davina Divine.
- Most memorable Capital event?
Surely the tram extravaganza of 2007-2014, no? Just kidding! I think for me it must have been way back when I was a kid and they had the first Hogmanay Street Party. It was so exciting and I couldn’t believe how busy it was.
- Who would you choose to headline Edinburgh’s Hogmanay?
That’s a tricky one… someone like Aerosmith or Dolly Parton would be good as everyone knows their tunes – although they’re not Scottish. Travis maybe…
- Favourite old-fashioned boozer?
The Ensign Ewart up by the Castle is cute for a wee dram. There’s lot of great old pubs around The Royal Mile. You could spend a day walking from top to bottom having one in each – if you made it to the bottom, that is.
- Favourite style bar?
The Dome on George Street is pretty grand, especially at Christmas as they make such a great effort with the decorations.
- Favourite restaurant?
Sushiya on Dalry Road is definitely a favourite. It’s not that big inside – maybe only six tables – and you usually need to book, but it has consistently nice food and sushi is always a good fun tea. I’ve also had a good few meals at Three Birds in Bruntsfield. The Grain Store on Victoria Street – one of my favourite streets – is also great with its old stonewalls, candlelight and Scottish produce. Oh, and I had a good meal at this wee French Restaurant called Cafe St Honore – just off Thistle Street – for Valentine’s Day this year. I’d recommend that, too.
- Do you love or loathe the Festival?
I love it! It’s great to have all that culture on your doorstep. We’re actually playing the Festival this year, which is exciting (Saturday, 20 April). It’s easy for locals to dislike the Festival and I spent years avoiding it, but when you think about it, how great it is for our town to attract such a massive amount of artistic people, including some world class ones? I always feel bad if the weather lets us down, though, as they make such a big effort to do stuff outside, too. But as the saying goes “there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing”.
- Favourite art gallery?
I actually studied art and got a degree from it, so I’ve spent a lot of time in galleries. Art is so subjective, though, so it’s worth spending time exploring all of Edinburgh’s galleries to see what’s your cup of tea. I like the National Gallery on Princes Street.
- Favourite cinema?
The Dominion Cinema in Morningside is my favourite. It has the big sofas to sit on, so you can feel quite at home sipping on a cheeky wine as you watch a film. Last film I saw there was the new Star Wars.
- Favourite live music venue?
I think that Liquid Room has a good shape and sound. We also played an intimate acoustic show not too long ago at The Voodoo Rooms, which had a really cool vibe.
- Favourite walk in or around the city?
Oh, there are quite a few walks I enjoy doing. We’ve got a dog, so up by the reservoir near Currie is nice. And up at Flotterstone there is a good walk, too. The Water Of Leith is another one, and quite often I spend time walking around Bruntsfield and Stockbridge, as I like all the independent shops.
- Favourite shopping area?
As above, probably Bruntsfield, Stockbridge and Morningside for the cute independent shops and nice coffee. I also like George Street, too.. .a different vibe, but also good on the right day.
- Favourite piece of architecture?
You could walk about Edinburgh for days looking at its architecture – it’s stunning and has such a traditional and homely feel to me. I love all the little closes between the buildings, too. They can take you on such a journey and have amazing history. It’s easy to see where writers like JK Rowling sought some of their inspiration from. St Giles’ Cathedral on The Royal Mile is impressive, obviously the Castle itself, the Scott Monument, and buildings like Fettes College and Donaldson’s School For The Deaf are stunning.
- What’s the biggest change you’ve seen in the city?
I suppose I’d say there’s probably a lot more traffic these days – a lot more people and housing, like most places. There’s less good music venues and not really any record shops any more, which is a shame.
- Favourite festival?
T In The Park can be great fun and they usually have a good line-up of bands. We actually had the pleasure of playing on the BBC Introducing Stage which was fab. The Fringe, obviously, too.
- Favourite Edinburgh band ever?
That’s so difficult. I don’t have a favourite Edinburgh band as such, but I like The Incredible String Band and The Beta Band. Also Idlewild.
- Favourite local hero?
Hmm, tricky one. I suppose I could mention my distant relation, Sean Connery… he did reasonably well considering he used to be a milkman. My great auntie is his auntie… whatever that makes me? She is still alive and has told me some funny stories about him. I bump into his brother quite a lot as we both live in the Corstorphine area. I’ve never met Sean, though… we could do with him in our next music video!
- Sell Edinburgh to a tourist in no more than ten words…
A proud and memorable city that holds onto your heart.
To find out more about The Mars Patrol visit www.themarspatrol.squarespace.com