WHEREAS many acts have their social media fine-tuned, photoshoots edited to perfection and press releases crisply written, The Dicksons aren’t as polished.
They know that, though. And more importantly, they don’t seem to mind.
They are unashamedly themselves. A rough-around-the-edges group of lads who are engrossing themselves in as many nights on stage as they can, never passing up an opportunity to perform to a crowd, no matter the turnout.
And performing live is what they do best.
Why is that? They haven’t fallen into the trap of chasing success at the expense of pleasure.
The twenty-somethings all attended Inverkeithing High School and they haven’t lost the sense of youthful exuberance they used as fuel when finding their feet when they formed in late 2015.
They continue to thrive off it.
And after hearing of their achievement in landing a finalist spot in this year’s Press Live Music award, Martyn McGuire, Greig Brechin, Liam Chalmers and Liam Howard told Press:ON it was a feat they couldn’t quite believe.
They said: “None of us knew we were in for it. It shows that we’re being recognised, though. Our live music is who we are as a band.
“We’ve picked up more and more fans every time we’ve played.
“The scene in Dunfermline is so strong right now. It’s probably the strongest we’ve seen it.
“It’s building up to one or two bands just going out and smashing through big time now.
“Everyone knows each other. We go out and support other bands as well, and that’s important to help the scene grow.
“There’s so many bands being recognised nationally, like ForeignFox and Moonlight Zoo, and it does make you up your own game. Everyone helps each other. We all take inspiration from different places. It also means you’re never short of quality support bands for gigs!
“If we were to win the award, it would build up our profile and almost validate ourselves in a sense, as venues would see that we have an award to our name which may lead to better gigs down the line.
“Do we have to be suited and booted for the awards night, though? We’ll be like The Beatles.”
They’ve worked hard to find themselves among the scene’s more reputable names, and although not set in stone, they have goals in mind to continue their progression this year.
“Our plan is to bring out a new single every few months to keep our momentum going. We want to stay as active as we can so people don’t lose interest in us. Usually, when you release new material, there’s that large spike of interest where everyone is talking about you, but it fades. We need to be persistent.
“We rehearsed for a long time before we started gigging, to make sure we were fully ready for it. We wrote our first EP Chemical Love very quickly – probably in just a few months. We were practising two or three times a week and we were writing all the time.
“When we did the EP, we were constantly writing and it starts to flow more naturally in comparison to just a single.
“Liam (Chalmers) is the man for the lyrics!
“The majority of our songs have a local backstory to them.
“Alma Street Wall (a single on Chemical Love) is in Inverkeithing. When we were at school, we would sit on the Alma Street wall at lunch and have a chippy.
“Releasing Alma Street Wall helped us win Inverkeithing – that song really won them over big time. It’s like the national anthem of Inverkeithing!”
Liam (Chalmers) recalls walking into the local shop and being instantly recognised as “that guy from the video,” referring to the professionally-made music video that accompanied the homage to their hometown school memories.
The launch of the six-track Chemical Love was held in PJ Molloys in July last year and, after their second headline, ‘The Dicksons Ruin Christmas’, at the same venue capped off 2016, they are now set to make it a hat-trick of headlines with their new single launch a night after the Press awards on June 3.
“Performing at PJ’s is like being a football team and playing at home!”
Their next single, Revolution Dreams, is a change of pace from their usual fare, and is rather a social commentary on the state of the world rather than the home truths they’ve previously shared.
A further single, Lost in Bolton, is of a self-explanatory nature, and will be released by the end of the year.
Arriving to a point where they can boast three headline spots to their name is an indication of how far they’ve come since their genesis, where even their band name was causing problems.
Liam Howard laughs and adds: “When we started out, we were initially called The Dregs, and when we released our first song, Chemical Love, I put it up on Spotify. I was aware there was another band called The Dregs but I just assumed it would separate the two. It actually got added to their Spotify profile and they had thousands of monthly listeners. I knew we were going to get in so much trouble! I couldn’t undo it! I had to phone up the Spotify support – it was a nightmare!”
A nightmare start that they failed to let haunt them.
They’ve kicked on from that and King Tut’s in Glasgow has opened its doors to the West Fifers twice in August and January.
“King Tut’s was amazing. The whole buzz about the place is incredible. It’s such an iconic venue. As far as unsigned bands go, it’s one of the biggest in Scotland if not the UK. All of our favourite bands have played it.
“It’s quite intimidating walking up those stairs with all your favourite bands’ names on the steps.
“We all met up in Inverkeithing and went through together after renting out a bus to take us. There must’ve been about 60 of us walking from pub to pub in Glasgow that night!”
That sense of involvement with their fans and mates transcends onto the stage, too.
“The way we are, we really feed off the energy from the crowd.
“When we start going to gigs away from Fife, we’re not going to be able to ask our fans here to travel through all the time. It’s a lot to ask. Everyone has a great time but we want new people to find us as well. We enjoy the night as much as they do.
“I think that’s one of the reasons people like us, we don’t take ourselves too seriously.
“A lot of bands these days are so focused on becoming famous faces they aren’t enjoying it as much. You get in a band to have fun. If you’re not enjoying, what’s even the point? It shows on stage, too. The crowd can tell if you’re faking.
“We have fun. That’s why if we turn up for a show and there’s only six people, we aren’t going to care. As we’ll still enjoy it.
“Unless we physically can’t be there, we’ve never said no to a gig. Ever.
“People are paying money to come and see you. You need to put a lot of effort in.
“You need to be on the same wavelength as the people who are coming to see you as well. We think it should be one experience for everyone involved. The crowd shouldn’t be separated from us. It’s about the night.
"If you want to listen to the songs, you can do that online or on your phone. It’s all about the night.”
What can you expect when you see The Dicksons live then?
Well, Martyn’s inked in his passion for Rock ‘n’ Roll with a chest tattoo, and it’s perhaps no surprise that the band share his love for the classics.
“Energy, adrenaline-fuelled rock ‘n’ roll. One hundred miles an hour. No gimmicks. That’s us.”
If you don’t believe them, you can check their Facebook page for ticket information for the single launch in PJ Molloys on June 3. Support is to be confirmed.