My Festival: Solareye

Dave Hook, aka Stanley Odd’s Solareye, answers our Edinburgh festivals Q&A

Dave Hook, aka Solareye of the Scottish band Stanley Odd

What are you doing for this year’s festival?

Only playing our first live show since January 2020! Canny wait. Equal parts weans-on-Christmas-Eve-level-excited and completely terrified of seeing and playing to actual human people again. We made a music film – The Last Night In – of a live performance of our new album STAY ODD. But we’ve never played it live in front of an audience, so this gig at Summerhall is like a live launch of the album really. Dead exciting.

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What do you most want to see this year and why?

Neu! Reekie! have got a typically mind-blowing line-up of Edwyn Collins, Loki & Becci Wallace, and the always amazing Victoria McNulty – that’ll be a great show. The rest of the Summerhall Nothing Ever Happens Here bill for the month is really great too – I hope to see Carla (J Easton)’s first live performance of WEIRDO among others. As a fellow Airdrieonian I want to catch Graeme Armstrong’s Welcome tae Airdrie at the Book Festival and the Ian Rankin, William McIlvanney talk too.

How has lockdown been for you? Has it changed you, and if so how?

Lockdown has been highs and lows as I think it has for most folks. Gutting to not be able to play for so long and to be so isolated from folks. But I’ve got a young family and it’s also been an opportunity to spend way more time with them than I would otherwise have been able to which has been amazing. Walking the kids to school and stuff. That’s been great. How have I changed? I think I feel a bit like I’m going to have to re-learn how to be sociable and to want to socialise with people a bit.

Please tell us about your first ever Edinburgh festival appearance.

Actually, I think my first appearance during the festival was back in 2003 or 4 when I was playing with a live hip-hop group called Disciples of Panic Earth – we played a show at a night called Diggin’ Deeper on the floor of the cinema in Nicol Edwards (now Banshee Labyrinth) – it was bananas. The audience packed into the seats but jumping all over the shop, the whole place bouncing and dripping with sweat.

Do you have a favourite memory of the festival?

I loved all the Unbound music nights that have been put on over the years at Book Festival in the Spiegeltent but I think my personal favourite memory is playing the Queen’s Hall with the Electric String Orchestra in 2003 – the arrangements that the orchestra did were phenomenal and it was a joy to play with them.

Please name a piece of music that sums up the past year for you.

Ha. Certainly the song that I associate most with the last year is Long Legged Larry by Aesop Rock. A song about a frog with an XL hop. It’s become a staple in our house and both ma wee boys have learned to rap the lyrics. I also pure love Rachel Sermanni’s Lay My Heart. It was such a perfect song to sum up Celtic Connections and all the musicians actually getting to play together after a year. Love it.

Thank you! We’d love to buy you a drink. What do you want from the (socially distanced) bar?

When we were in New York, Scruff Lee, our guitarist, invented the Short Island Iced Tea. It’s basically a free-poured Long Island Iced Tea in a half pint glass. Still a lethal beverage but in a smaller glass. I think maybe a round of Short Island Iced Teas might be a good way to start off the first get together in a year and a half. Cheers.

Stanley Odd play Summerhall on Saturday 14 August as part of the Nothing Ever Happens Here programme. www.summerhall.co.uk

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