Scottish DIY punks Cleavers get on BBC Radio – an indie feel good story

January 18, 2012

Editorial Pissings - Rants, raves n' randoms from the desk of Music Vice editor Brian Banks


Are you an independent artist searching for that next step? The next rung up the ladder? That seemingly intangible ‘break’? That’s you and a million other aspiring artists.

It’s easy get disheartened but here’s an indie success story in the making that may raise your spirits on a dreary winter’s day…

Elgin, Scotland based hardcore punk band Cleavers have made a breakthrough onto BBC Radio Scotland. The band first got played on the BBC Scotland in December. This January Cleavers were included in BBC Scotland’s 35 Scottish Artists to watch in 2012 by DJ Vic Galloway. Given that Cleavers only formed in late April 2011, that’s quick progress.

(Oh… and a month before they made it to the BBC, I featured Cleavers on the Music Vice magazine podcast Radio Wunderbar. Back slaps.)

So, how do you get your band on the BBC within a matter of months? Unless you have an “in” or are sleeping with a DJ, there’s no certain short-cut to getting onto FM radio. Nothing is easy in life or music, and to make it you just have to work your tits and nuts off. I’m no mathematician, but here’s a formula that might help…


Or failing that, just ask yourself ‘What would Black Flag do?’

In their few months of existence, Cleavers have been recording and releasing music prolifically, mostly demos. Armed with a cheap mixer and free recording software, the band wrote and recorded their first EP by May and gave away hundreds of copies of Cleavers wrote and recorded their first EP by May, giving away hundreds of copies on CDR. They have also been playing any show they can, from their small town in Moray, north Scotland to the big cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh. Led my Danny Crombie, a DIY enthusiast and artists, they have also been promoting themselves over Tumblr by posting demos, videos and artwork.  Cleavers have also been selling their own self-made T-shirts – and I mean actually selling them.

Working hard and making music is the most important thing.

“We properly formed in May and played our first gig two weeks after that, the promoter said we’d only play 3 shows and disappear…. Hmmm.” – Cleavers frontman Danny Crombie, speaking to Music Vice today.

The latest demo from Cleavers is easily one of the best things I’ve heard out of Scotland so far this year – and infinitely more pleasant than the noises being made by Alex Salmond. Download the latest Cleavers demo for free here and check out “Casual Box” below.

And you may not be hearing about Cleavers in the NME anytime soon, but apparently the Highland Times just called them for an interview. Danny Crombie remains grounded. “All this shit is “happening” and yet we still only have 189 Facebook likes”.

And what’s next for the group?

“Mutli-mullion album deal ideally. Or tons more crude t-shirts, more vinyl, more tapes, less CDRs and more adventures around the UK, (and hopefully Europe), in the Deadmobile before it totally packs up.”

© Brian Banks, Editor, Music Vice

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Brian Banks

Editor and Founder, Music Vice Magazine. Writer. Photographer. Poet. From Scotland. Not Ireland. Proudly based in Toronto, Canada. Rock N' Roll Don't Pay The Rent... 

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One Response to Scottish DIY punks Cleavers get on BBC Radio – an indie feel good story

  1. Brian Banks on January 18, 2012 at 6:04 pm

    For a Canadian comparison, this would be a bit like a band from Moosomin getting on the CBC.

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