The Vapour Trails are an Aberdeen based band influenced by their love of 60’s
stalwarts like the Beatles, the Byrds, Love, Buffalo Springfield, the Who and the
Kinks. You’ll also hear a healthy dose of later bands like the La’s, Stone Roses,
Rain Parade and the Smiths.
The Trails were formed in 2017 by father and son songwriters Kevin and Scott
Robertson. Kevin taught young Scott some guitar basics, who quickly surpassed
his dad’s meager guitar skills and set into his record collection for inspiration.
Before too long the two started writing songs, and the Vapour Trails were born.
The VT’s became complete with the addition of the indispensable Nicholas
Mackie on guitar and co-vocals, old friend Kenny Munro on drums, and the
newest Trail Chuck Milne adding his groovy bass to the mix.
For every song you record how many end up in the bin?
My son Scott and I write the songs for The Vapour Trails. Initially we record them as demos and store them on SoundCloud. I can honestly say we waste nothing. Songs can always be improved or altered as time goes by. Sometimes a song sounds great from day one but in some cases, you need to go back to the recorded demo and enhance it. An example of this in our band is the title track from our new album ‘See You in the Next World’. Two separate unfinished ideas, one from me and one from Scott, were merged together to create one cool track. Nothing’s wasted!
When was the last time you thought “I just wrote a hit”?
Songs should always live up to a bands or songwriter’s own personal standards that will differ band to band or songwriter to songwriter. Our standards are set based on melody. We don’t strive to write hits but we believe all our songs are melodic and tuneful. All our songs are potential hits in our own minds haha. Maybe some other people would think they are good enough to be hits, who knows!
Is recording a record easier than getting heard these days?
Making music is at musician’s fingertips more than ever these days. Computer-based daws and plugins are easy to find and are pretty affordable. Talent is still required though to make good songs and most people need help with mixing, mastering, artwork, etc in order to make a full record. There are those who do the whole thing themselves but most need help. As for being heard, it’s hard without backers. Record labels, promoters, radio stations, etc are attracted to good tunes. I think the answer is to get good at the song making and along with a little luck, it will become easier to get heard.
Playing music in front of a crowd, what’s all the fun about?
Because Scott and I are songwriters who play in a band who play to crowds often, from the first note of every song written you’re wondering how it will sound live. Creating little symphonies in your head and imagine what it will sound like within a full band setting is part of the fun. The buzz comes the very first time you play a new song to a crowd. Gauging the response, feeling the tune click in a live setting and just getting the tune ‘out there’ is the final chapter in the whole process. The other buzz we get from playing to a crowd is that often crowd members dance to our music. We are like a 60’s dance band living in the 21st century haha!
With every song you write are you still learning to become a better songwriter?
The answer is a huge YES. Scott and I are always striving to get better at playing and writing songs. The day you think you know it all is the day you should look in the mirror and draw a letter ‘P’ on your forehead, ‘P’ for pretentious. I have so many heroes in music and to write one song anywhere near their standard would be the ultimate musical achievement.
released August 2, 2019
The Vapour Trails is:
Scott Robertson – 12 string guitar, 6 string guitar, vocals, bass, keys
Kevin Robertson – Vocals, rhythm guitar, harmonica, keys
Nicholas Mackie – Vocals, rhythm Guitar
Andrew Crossan – Bass
Kenny Munro – Drums