False Bliss is a four-piece band based in Edinburgh, formerly known as DTHPDL, featuring Alastair Chivers (AC), Chris Laidler (CL), Dave Macdonald (DM) and John Muir. Their debut album, Ritual Terrains, was just released on 5th April 19 on cassette, digital download and limited-edition improvised tapes. The band spoke with The Fountain about their name change as well as moving from Song, by Toad to Scottish Fiction for issuing out their records.
TF: A new album, how exciting, what has the reception been like so far?
CL: We had a listening party for the record a few weeks back. The album was played on a loop whilst we recorded new improvisations on top. It was at Skylight in Edinburgh. The audience sat on repurposed pianos and watched us turn dials, switch lamps on and off and read from the Communist Manifesto. If you do things like this at your own listening party, you probably aren’t too concerned about the reception.
AC: I agree with Chris, the reception has been great. It means a lot to us that we have a connection with music fans.
TF: What inspired you to title it Ritual Terrains, and change the band name from DTHPDL to False Bliss?
DM: We changed the name for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the sound has evolved considerably since it began as a solo project for Al a decade ago. It’s a collaborative effort in every respect. We know where our strengths lie and run with it. Secondly, nobody knew how to pronounce DTHPDL. False Bliss encompasses where we’d like to take the music in the future; art as a route to understanding our place in the present moment whilst accepting the world as it is.
Ritual Terrains as a title shows an acknowledgment of where we’ve come from and where we hope to be. The musical paths have been laid out for us by others and we hope to follow in our own footsteps. Daily routines fade and blur into the unreal. We can’t begin to conceive of what has been normalised without our realisation yet – it’s a new world and it’s one we must understand our role in every day.
TF: And will you be promoting this with a list of exciting tour dates?
DM: We just played Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen last week, with excellent supports in each city. We were particularly excited to play two shows with Kapil Seshasayee, a musician who is truly worthy of terms that get thrown around with abandon such as vital, profound and necessary – his album A Sacred Bore examines the deadly effects of Hindu nationalism and the caste system in both India and amongst the diaspora.
AC: Sadly, these shows have marked the final time we play in a band as a four piece (at least for the time being), as our brother Dave leaves Brexit and the Tory’s behind for beautiful Canada. So it’s great all the shows featured some amazing bands in addition to Kapil, like The Honey Farm, MNDMTH, Min Diesel, Seas Starry and Puppy Fat. All the shows will be varied, interesting and exciting.
We’re going to be back very soon though. We’ve already spoken about plans later in the Summer.
TF: Where has been your favourite gig to date?
DM: We had the honour of playing at Summerhall in December 2016 with a whole host of talented musicians, for the release of a compilation to raise money for Shelter Scotland. It was a real privilege to be asked not only to contribute a track to the songbook that was being published, but to play the release night too.
TF: How has it been working with Scottish Fiction thus far?
AC: “It’s been really good. It was great working with Song, by Toad on our last EP but when Matthew decided to close the label we didn’t have a home to release the new album. Neil from Scottish Fiction was really open to working with us from the first instance, despite our weird ideas. He’s been very supportive through the whole process of getting Ritual Terrains together and has always been on hand to answer questions or get back to us about stuff.
With how we have worked on this record – Chris recorded and produced the album, Dave has promoted the Edinburgh album launch, John designed the art and I’ve looked after album promo – it’s awesome to have that additional help to get things out there. We’re very much a DIY band, but when everyone pulls together, and this includes SF, it gives you a greater sense of achievement and community.