Thought Glasgow was the hub of music in Scotland? Think again. With Young Fathers and Hamish Hawk spearheading the scene on the other side of the M8, Edinburgh is looking as musically colourful as it has for many a year. Redolent, an alt-pop quintet based in Leith, are one of the area’s most exciting new prospects. They’ve just signed to Columbia, released their debut EP ‘make big money fast online now’ and are relishing living their lives as full time musicians.
“We come in [our studio] every day as if it’s like a full time job now, which it is,” says lead vocalist Robin Herbert. Both him and the rest of the band adorn dark eyelids when we catch up with them on a sleepy Friday evening, but it’s no wonder they’re knackered. The group have a massive backlog of tunes to sift through and release which stretch back almost as far as the 10 years they’ve been together. “We finished our latest EP at the end of 2021, but the music we have coming up, some of it was written like five years ago,” says Robin. “The album we’re planning to do was already written before this EP came out. We’re just hoarding all of these tunes!”
Hoarders they may be, but there’s a freshness to Redolent that jumps out of their new EP. Tracks like ‘Space Cadet’ blend undertones of The xx with angular synths and drums while the EP title track flows with catchy melodies and lyrics that talk about the struggles of attaining a career in music. Ironically, it was this song that brought the band to major labels’ attention. “It all kind of came out of nowhere… I’m still confused by it,” says Robin. “We’ve jumped from working with nobody to working with a really great team of people at Columbia. That’s very exciting to me. But the thing that scares me the most is also that! Pressure and not wanting to fuck it up is obviously scary. But I think we can live up to the standard and do enough work that justifies us having this label backing. I want us to make the most of it.”
A distinct sense of Scottishness is integral to the band’s ethos. This sense of place is most visible in Rob’s vocals, which wholly adopt an authentic Scottish twang. “The thing I’ve always liked hearing throughout my life is a real sounding vocal,” he says. “I think a lot of it just comes from really singing in your own voice that you already have and not putting on an American accent. It’s just more relatable to me if you hear the Scottish element in it.” This also flows into the band’s lyricism which adopts local colloquialisms, embracing the way the group speak in day to day life.
Now, opportunities for Redolent lie farther from home than ever before. They’re currently prepping for one of the biggest live dates of their lives at SXSW in Austin, Texas. “We’ve never played outside the UK – we’ve only been to England once, so to be playing in Texas is pretty mental,” says Rob. Potential Is lying at the band’s fingertips and it could be easy for them to realign their sights to dizzying new heights. But keeping a sense of grounding, which Rob showcases by speaking so candidly throughout our chat, will certainly go a long way in allowing the band to truly realise their own visions. “I guess our lens has shifted a little in that we’re looking to connect with as many people as we can, in a way that isn’t too cynical for us,” Rob ponders. “We’ve been trying to ‘get somewhere’ since 2012 and a lot has definitely changed. But now we’ve grabbed the chance, we’re going for it and it’s fucking great.”
Words: Jamie Wilde