(re) presenting BWANi

The have been examples of bands who have shortened their name over the years (-and one of my favourites was the way The Southern Death Cult morphed into Death Cult and finally became The Cult). 17 Seconds faves Bwani Junction have rebranded themselves BWANi and are set to release their new single ‘Make My Day’ on December 1 as the first single under their new(er) moniker.

The song was written in Vietnam last year as Rory Fairweather, the band’s singer says ‘We came up with the tune at sound-check in Hanoi, and decided to play it unfinished that night: two thousand wee Vietnamese heads bobbing up and down suggested we might be onto a winner!’

You can stream it at the top of the page.

Meanwhile, the band have announced two live dates – London’s Garage on November 12 and Edinburgh’s Liquid Rooms on November 28.

Album Review – Bwani Junction

Bwani Junction

Bwani Junction -‘Tongue of Bombie’ (Aksatak)

Edinburgh’s Bwani Junction made a great start with their debut album Fully Cocked a couple of years ago. Barely out of school, said album was a mixture of indie rock with African Rhythms and guitars ( – lead guitarist Dan Muir was taught to play by legendary Zimbabwean band the Bhundu Boys, who his father Gordon managed). And here comes the long-awaited sophomore release.

Interviewing the band back in November, when I asked where the sophomore album was – and they were being quite cagey about the name – they told me it was finished and ready to go. Despite the wait, they are prolific writers (I ran into the aforementioned Dan Muir a couple of weeks later and he played me an as yet unnamed track from their third album) but they obviously wanted to be ready.

And it’s the sophomore album that people hoped for. It still sounds like Bwani Junction, but it’s darker and more grown-up (to say ‘mature’ would sound like they were making music for people well…older than yours truly). The four opening tracks have already done the rounds as singles – and in the hand of a lesser band, the album could tail off after that. But Bwani Junction are not a lesser band, and songs like ‘Jawbone Walk’ and ‘Auctioneer’ more than hold their own up against what we’ve heard before. Sure there’s strill the African influence but there’s probably far more in common with The Libertines and Arctic Monkeys, than a certain band from North America who based much of their early career ripping off Graceland

There have been a few people in their hometown of Edinburgh who have slagged off the band because they went to private school – which seems like rather bizarre logic, after all, so did Radiohead, The Strokes and Joe Strummer. This says more about the prejudices of those who criticise them than it does about the band. They’re exactly where they should be – and their third album will hopefully continue the upward trend.


Tongue Of Bombie is out now

More from Bwani Junction

Bwani Junction

Yes, it has been quiet around these parts for the last few days, hasn’t it? But then I’ve just got back from a few days’ holiday.

And in the feed of my facebook page is the news that there is a new track from Bwani Junction doing the rounds, entitled ‘Papa Candy.’ Rather good it is too, rocks pretty hard.

Meanwhile, you can download the Discopolis remix of their last single ‘Civil War’ for free, below.

The sophomore album from Bwani Junction is due out sometime this year…

The return of Bwani Junction


Bwani Junction are to release their sophomore album this year, and the first fruits of the album can be heard in their forthcoming single ‘Civil War.’ The follow-up to Fully Cocked hasn’t been named yet (at least not in the public domain), but they have been working new songs into the set for over a year, of which ‘Civil War’ is one that has had an airing or two…

Filmed around Edinburgh, the video mixes live performance with a story -and a sense of humour.

It’s out on April 29, so cast your eyes and ears this way…

Meanwhile, if you haven’t read it yet, check out my interview with the boys at their shared flat last year right here.

Looking for more live music in and around Edinburgh?


Proud to say that I am involved in putting together and, indeed, DJing at two special gigs taking place just outside Edinburgh over this coming month.

An eclectic programme of events will launch the re-opening of Dalkeith Arts Centre.

On Saturday 22 September, Bwani Junction will take to the stage, with support from local band Carter Damm, who I played on my radio show during the fringe.

Bwani Junction, who I have covered a lot on this blog, made history earlier this year by becoming the first band to perform on top of the Forth Rail Bridge. They have recorded a session for the BBC’s Vic Galloway and this summer have performed at numerous festivals, including T in the Park, Wickerman and Belladrum. They were awarded Best Newcomer at the Scottish Alternative Awards in 2012.

Buy Bwani Junction and Carter Damm tickets here

Meanwhile, the legendary King Creosote -who surely needs no introduction here -will play the same venue on Wednesday 26 September with support from The Last Battle. They are currently working on their second album, the follow-up to their debut Heart Of The Land Soul Of The Sea which came out on 17 Seconds in 2010.

Buy King Creosote and The Last Battle tickets here.

…and I will be DJing at both events!

Live on Fresh Air!

Yup, online, live at Fresh AIr

I will be updating as we go along.

1. Blur ‘Under the Westway.’
2. RM Hubbert ‘Car Song.’
3. Nico ‘I’ll Keep It With Mine.’ Cover version of the week
4. The Last Battle ‘ Breathe Bones, Beathe (session track).’
5. Scars ‘Your Attention Please.’ (Gone but not forgotten).
6. Bwani Junction ‘She Ain’t Saying No.’
7. The Last Battle ‘Hope Is Gold (session track).’ Buy the original version from their bandcamp here
8. Carter Damm ‘Clowning (demo).’
9. Stanley Odd ‘Get Out Ma Headspace.’
10. The Last Battle ‘The Butterfly Song (session track).’
11. The Last Battle ‘Ruins (session track).’
12. Cancel The Atronauts ‘I Sold My Soul (And This Is All I Got).’

Attention: Edinburgh Music fans!


Bwani Junction – who were longlisted for the Scottish album of the year award – have been in touch. Their next big challenge is their first headline show in Edinburgh at a BIG venue next Sunday (The Liquid Room). They are doing this in conjunction with some Events Management students from Stevenson College – and would like everyone and their dog to turn up for this one.

It’s a fundraiser for Multiple Sclerosis so try and persuade as many of your family and friends to come to this one – it’s an Over-14s night and £6 tickets are available at the link below.

£6 Tickets are available here

Read my interview with Bwani Junction here

Interview – Bwani Junction


In which 17 Seconds goes round to Bwani Junction’s flat for coffee, and discovers about how they met at school, hears about the strange eating habits of the Bhundu Boys and learns pretty quickly not to bring up Vampire Weekend…

Ever since the Beatles’ Help! Film perpetuated the rather nice myth of the fab four all sharing a house together in London –in much nicer circumstances than an earlier line-up had shared accommodation just five years previously in Hamburg, there’s always been a nice image of a band living cosily together in a Bohemian style. (Particularly if it contrasts with the too-comfy, bourgeois environs that you grow up living in with your Parents. Cough.) Bwani Junction do actually live together. They offer me a coffee and having armed themselves with cigarettes – you never know when a Blogger could turn dangerous, after all, we sit down for a pleasant chat.

Bwani Junction are four extremely nice lads who formed the band at Edinburgh’s Merchiston Castle School. Though the earlier line-up sounds rather different – there are mutters about eight members and dancers – the line-up now welcoming yours truly around their dining room table are singer and guitarist Rory Fairweather, guitarist Dan Muir, bassist Fergus Robson and drummer Jack Fotheringham. The soundtrack, by the way, is Fleetwood Mac’s Tango In The Night album. They seem a little taken aback when I remember watching them on Top Of The Pops in the eighties. It is, after all, before any of them were even born.

So, first of all, why the band name? If we’re going to start with boringly obvious interview questions, I say, slightly self-consciously, why not start with that one?

‘We should have a boringly obvious answer for that,’ Rory says. ‘The truth is that we didn’t have a decent name. And I went to my Dad, and my dad is one of these people who loves coming up with names for things, and he spent weeks on end coming out with just God-awful names, and eventually he said ‘Bwani Junction,’ and we were like, alright fucking shut up, we’ll take that one!’

Jack explains how the nucleus of the band started at school when they were twelve. ‘Rory had been there [at the school] before, and he was like the best skateboarder and the best guitarist, and he hated me because I was a better guitarist. And he was a bit miffed and a bit pissed off. He finally said ‘Let me into the band,’ which at that point was an eight piece set up!’ They cheerfully joke that it might have sounded a bit like Dream Theater.

Dan joined in the second last year of school. ‘He was following us around like a flaming fart,’ they say airily, and eventually they let him join.

This was about three years ago, before a certain band came along from America to make life complicated, with a certain amount of stupid comparisons… I don’t even need to mention Vampire Weekend’s name before there is a collective groan around the table. ‘We don’t mention that round here!’ I’m told, quite firmly.

Dan Muir’s father Gordon is the band’s manager. Young Dan must have had quite some childhood, as his father was amongst other things, the manager of the Bhundu Boys, the legendary Zimbabwean band, who taught Dan how to play guitar. A story follows about one (unnamed) member of the Bhundu Boys, who upon staying at the Muir’s house, was found eating out of the cat food tin, surprised that cat was eaten in Scotland and even more amazed that there would be special food for cats in Scotland, coming from Zimbabwe.

The band’s debut, Fully Cocked was released in November of last year, on their own label, Aksatak. Upon investigation it transpires that this was after an infamous gig in the band’s history where a man slammed an axe into the bar at a gig they were playing at. It was produced by legendary Scots producer Paul Savage at the Chem 19 studios in Hamilton, who is not only Emma Pollock’s husband and the, former drummer for The Delgados, but has also produced records by the likes of Arab Strap, Mogwai and the Twilight Sad. The album sessions seem to have been a very positive experience for the band. They liked the way that Paul Savage approached the album, even if it appears he may have been quite strict with Jack, making it clear that he wanted him to do less.

‘He’s not harsh!’ Dan says, defending their producer. ‘He had a very nice way of telling us our stuff was shit. ‘It teaches us not to be precious,’ says Rory.

‘Paul had a mind for pop songs,’ Fergus adds. He explains that they hadn’t thought about ‘I’ve Got The Minerals’ being a single, until they worked with Paul on the track ‘He let me use his Hammond organ!’ Fergus tells me, still clearly touched at this opportunity.

With the album out, they certainly aren’t resting on their laurels. Rory tells me that they’re doing an EP, rather than a new album to tie in with the festival season in the summer. ‘Gordon wants us to keep writing,’ explains Jack. Certainly their gig the previous week had seen them playing new material written subsequently. Though they’re ken to get back in the studio, according to Fergus, it is clear that they don’t feel under pressure to do the second album. Will they be working with Paul Savage on the forthcoming EP? ‘He might not have enjoyed working with us!,’ they all tell me, rather modestly.

Interest in the band is steadily growing. They were picked as one of the 100 new bands of the year at the start of the year by the NME (the only other Edinburgh band to make the list was Discopolis). But they’re kind of glad that they haven’t had a front cover yet, happy to let things keep bubbling away. They’re hoping to be playing several festivals this year, though they seem reluctant to tempt fate by telling me which ones, just in case it tempts fate.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, the cockerel on the front of Fully Cocked is called Doodle. It was, Rory jokes rather weakly ‘my neighbour’s cock’ – but apparently, the poor bird has since literally fallen off his perch and broken his neck. Hopefully a far brighter future still awaits these young men.

Fully Cocked is out now on Aksatak.

Gig Review – Field Music/Laki Mera/Bwani Junction

Field Music/Laki Mera/Bwani Junction

HMV Picturehouse, Edinburgh, February 6.

Flying under the banner of HMV’s Next Big Thing, the night was to have featured a fourth act in The Dykeenies (who I did see about five years ago), but it transpires they have now split up. Pity.

The first band to get proceedings off to a flying start are local boys Bwani Junction. I’ve been hearing more and more good things about them for a while, and really enjoyed their debut album Fully Cocked, which was released towards the end of last year. I’m not going to make excuses about not having featured them here before – but I will be featuring them a lot more round these parts.

Bwani Junction have been compared to Vampire Weekend, and whilst there’s an element of that in there, the sense is that these boys have been listening not just to Graceland but to much of the music that comes out of Southern Africa. I once commented that the Bhundu Boys’ ‘Foolish Heart’ sounded like what Shoegazing would have done if it had originated in Zimbabwe and not the Home Counties of England. And watching these boys tonight I’m reminded of that again. They’ve been working on new stuff since the album came out – but they also treat us album tracks like ‘She Ain’t Saying No’ ‘Today’s Crusades’ and ‘She Ain’t Saying No’ and ‘Two Bridges.’ They are unbelievably young (the bass player, Fergus Robson, looks like he might have to go and finish his homework after the gig), but don’t let that put you off. If they can’t headline the HMV Picturehouse within a year, then it ain’t anything they’ve done wrong.

I enjoyed Laki Mera’s album The Proximity Effect last year, and Mogwai’s remix of their track ‘Crater’. They are a rather different proposition to Bwani Junction. Lead singer Laura donnelly has a voice to match Kate Bush, and a stage presence that evokes both Bjork and Florence Welch. The band scarcely engage the audience at all, though the atmospheric electronica works well.

Tonight’s headliners Field Music are now less than a week from releasing their new, fourth album, Plumb. They seem amused to be playing under THe Next Big Thing banner, pointing out that they have been around for a long time (in the absence of The Dykeenies set, I was talking to Bart Owl and Malcolm Benzie from 17 Seconds faves eagleowl, who supported them in Newcastle back in 2005).

The set is made up of old numbers like ‘Let’s Write A Book’ and songs from Plumb, like single ‘A New Town’which are well received. They’ve previously played at the much smaller Sneaky Pete’s in Edinburgh, and seem somewhat overwhelmed to be playing a venue this big. Not that this comes across in the act. I haven’t seen them before – but like with Bwani Junction, I will definitely be coming back. On record they are a quirky delight, like they retain their quirkiness, but also manage to sound gorgeously symphonic at the same time. No mean feat. the Brewis Brothers are continuing to plow their own furrow, and plow it well…

Field Music – A New Town by memphisindustries