Gig Review – Stanley Odd

Stanley Odd
Edinburgh Liquid Rooms, November 21

‘When I was ‘Stanley’ you say ‘Odd! STANLEY!’ ‘ODD!’

Edinburgh Hip-Hop collective Stanley Odd have just released their third album, A Thing Brand New, and even as a long-time champion, it’s clear that this is their best album yet. Their profile is continuing to rise and deservedly so. Not only because they’re working so goddamn hard at it, but also because they deserve to.

Frontman Solareye (Dave Hook to his family and friends) bounds on stage alone, freestyling (as he does throughout much of the gig) and joined shortly afterwards by the other five members. Tearing into A Thing Brand New‘s opening track ‘Get Back In The Basement’ they have honed their show to the point where they seem both polished and yet it comes over as organic. Modestly alerting us that this is only the second time they have played some of these songs live, it matters not one jot. They’re on home-turf and the crowd are here for them.

But if you see this as just preaching to the converted, this audience has been worked on over time. There’s still people who can’t get their head round the idea of people rapping in any accent that’s not American. More fool them. The album contains excellent tracks like ‘To Be This Good Takes Stages’ which could be seen as an accurate summation of where they are, along with songs like album highlight ‘Her Name Was Hip-Hop’ and ‘Draw Yir Own Conclusions.’

Earlier material like 2012’s ‘Get Out Ma Head space’ from 2012’s sophomore album Reject, gets an airing too, but one of the biggest cheers of the night is for album closer ‘Son I Voted Yes’ which deals with the recent Scottish independence referendum. It’s genuinely emotional listening to it live. Yet they absolutely tear up the place on early single ‘Think Of A Number’ for their closing moment.

And if you google Stanley – interestingly, Stanley Odd comes up before Kubrick. Just saying, likes…

Album Review – Stanley Odd

Stanley Odd - A Thing Brand New - Cover

Stanley Odd -‘A Thing Brand New.’ (A Modern Way)

Over the course of several years and two great previous albums, Oddio and Reject, Edinburgh Hip-Hop collective Stanley Odd have been plying their own take on Hip-Hop, complete with Scottish accents, unforgettable hook lines and excellent live shows. And on this, their third album, Stanley Odd have delivered their most accomplished album yet.

If the rules of Hip-Hop include keeping it real, and telling it like it is then Stanley Odd most definitely stick to them. As the years have gone by, they – and others like them – have demonstrated that it’s not where you’re from (though they’re very definitely proud of their roots) but it’s where you’re at. So this record takes in the themes about being young and struggling and delivers them wrapped up in thoughtful tunes. There’s a number of highlights on this record – but amongst the highlights are ‘Draw Yir Own Conclusions’ and ‘Her Name Was Hip-Hop.’

The album closes with the earlier single ‘Son I Voted Yes’ which delivered their stance on the Scottish referendum. Whilst the result was a ‘no’ the strength of feeling amongst many north of the border is that this is an issue that won’t go away, and this is actually an upbeat tune about the referendum and hope.

There will be those who attempt to draw parallels with them and Young Fathers, with the latter having just won the Mercury Music Prize. Both fine acts, but they share a city and not much else. Stanley Odd have always stuck to their guns – and if there is any justice this will be the album that breaks them through to a wider audience.


A Thing Brand New is released by A Modern Way on November 10.

Stanley Odd on Scottish Independence

In less than two weeks’ time (September 18) Scotland will hold a referendum on Independence. Trying to get unbiased and balanced views from either side has become difficult in Scotland, and whatever happens on that date, you can bet your bottom dollar that the shouting, posturing and hand-wringing will not be over.

I’ve long championed Edinburgh Hip-hop act Stanley Odd on these pages (and you can read an interview with them here. They have recorded a new song (with an awesome take on the notion of a lyric video) entitled ‘Son I Voted Yes.

Stanley Odd will join an awesome lineup that includes the likes of 17 Seconds favourites including Franz Ferdinand, Mogwai and Frightened Rabbit at ‘A Night For Scotland’ which takes place at Edinburgh’s Usher Hall on September 14. Tickets for that event have been selling like hot cakes, but it may be worth trying…

Stanley Odd are touring in November, too:

Sat 15th Nov – Aberdeen, The Lemon Tree
Fri 21st Nov – Edinburgh, Liquid Room
Tue 25th Nov – London, Barfly
Fri 28th Nov – Inverness, Ironworks
Sat 13th Dec – Glasgow, The Garage
Oh, and if anyone asks me why I haven’t featured a ‘no’ event or songs on here – I haven’t been sent any.

The return of Stanley Odd


It’s great to see that Stanley Odd’s profile continues to rise. They will release a new 4 track EP at the end of April entitled Chase Yirsel. That’s Scots, not a spelling mistake, by the way.

Ahead of that, to celebrate Record Store Day, they have announced the release of a special limited edition 12″ single featuring brand new tracks ‘Chase Yirsel’ and ‘Let Ma Brain Breathe’, with artwork illustrated by Scott Hutchison of Frightened Rabbit fame. 500 copies of the single will be made available through participating indie record stores on Saturday 19th April.

The band will also be performing instore at Love Music in Glasgow and VoxBox in Edinburgh on the day as well as signing copies of the release.

Check out ‘Let Ma Brain Breathe’ below.

Read my interview with them from 2012 here

Gig Review: Stanley Odd

Stanley Odd, Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh, August 2.

Edinburgh’s Queen’s Hall has some of the best programming of anywhere in the Scottish Capital, and not just during the month of August. And before anyone says it, no, I’m not on a retainer for saying that.

Stanley Odd have been around for a few years now, and their profile has risen considerably with the release of their two albums, Oddio and Reject. This is, in fact, their only Edinburgh gig this entire year. A sure sign that you’ve made a serious impression, when you are only doing one gig in the space of a year in your home town.

The thing is, they’re going places because people have woken up to to, frankly, just how sodding great Stanley Odd are. Tonight they’re backed by the Electric String Orchestra, who they played with at Celtioc Connections in Glasgow earlier this year. And when firm favourites like ‘The Numbness’ ‘Killergram’ and ‘Get Out My Headspace’ are bolstered by the ESO, it’s truly something to behold.

So yes, there will be those who can’t see beyond the idea of any Scottish Hip-Hop act being some kind of a novelty. But like fellow city stars Young Fathers, Stanley Odd are keeping it real (no rapping like how they perceive an LA gang member to do), and the only way is up.

Gig Review: Stanley Odd

Stanley Odd
Liquid Rooms, Edinburgh, September 21.

I had seen Scottish hip-hop group Stanley Odd two times previously, both of which felt slightly surreal due to their circumstances – at a folk music festival and a pub.

Every show they have played has been excellent, with unhindered energy and excitement from the band, even with a lack of response from the crowd. However, this gig at Edinburgh’s Liquid Rooms proved to be something special. The crowd came to see the band, knew the songs and were all for bouncing to the beat of the music. The band was there to promote their new album Reject with songs like ‘Get Out Ma Headspace’, which sounded great, but still managed to get a few fan-favourites such as ‘The Numbness’ throughout the performance.

Stanley Odd have never failed to put on a great show that I have seen, and now with two album’s worth of material under their belt and a growing fan base, future shows should show exponential growth in terms of confidence and energy which will be reflected in the crowd’s reaction. Definitely a band to keep an eye on!

Many thanks to Michael Todd who wrote this review.

Interview: Stanley Odd


Edinburgh’s Stanley Odd are shortly to release their second album, Reject. Here, I discuss the notion of Scottish Hip-Hop with frontman Solareye AKA Dave Hook, and how the band are challenging stereotypes and preconceptions. Along with making awesome music…

Please introduce the band

We’re Stanley Odd. We’re a Scottish hip-hop band. That phrase alone is like someone competing in a competition to juxtapose the most unlikely of phrases – ‘So you’re in a band, that plays hip-hop and you’re Scottish…’ – ‘Aye’.

You’re due to release your new album Reject on September 17. How has the album come together?

The album has been a good while in the making. We released 3 EPs last year and that whole process was pretty much about developing our sound, production skills and song writing with a view to making this album. We started rehearsing for it in January, recorded the raw materials in March, then spent the last 3-4 months ripping all the stuff apart, distorting it, running onto tape, chopping it up and generally molocating (sic) it into something else. The last month has been particularly full-on, finishing all the songs while playing festivals every weekend but as of today it is officially finished! I’m a bit close to it all right now, to be honest, but I’m hoping that in a few weeks I’ll be able to listen to it without going ‘aw, that bit should have been louder’ or ‘I’m still not sure about this backwards vocal’.

Why the title ‘Reject?’ Your album, obviously, but taken on its own that might seem a bit negative…?

That’s a good question. I feel like there has always been a common theme of outsider-dom in our songs. Everyone can emphasise with feeling uncomfortable or socially awkward, so often that’s a starting point for me writing. The ‘Reject’ title is more like trying to write a collection of stories about rejection, and rejecting things, so it can be read as the noun, ‘Reject’ i.e. someone who is not accepted in a certain group or situation; or it can be read as the verb ‘Reject’, to reject an idea, opinion or accepted norm. A call to arms if you like.

You’ve also got a busy summer ahead of you. What have you got planned, and what can people expect from the Stanley Odd live show?

Yeah, we’re right in the midst of a busy summer of festivals. It’s amazing. We really look forward to this time of year. You get to travel all round the country playing songs to people, hang about at some really great events, rap at people round campfires at dawn and generally make a spectacle of yourself on a weekly basis. Our live show has probably always been where we are at our strongest, so it’s great when you get an audience that get involved and the summer festivals kind of lend themselves to that. We’ve been working a fair amount of the new material into the live set too so that’s kept us on our toes and should mean in theory that we know how to play the tunes by the time we launch the album!

How did the band come together? Were any of you involved with the Fountainbridge Collective?

No, we weren’t directly involved with FBC. I know the guys, I used to play in a band called Disciples of Panic Earth and we gigged with FBC quite a bit. We were all from Airdrie so one memorable time we took the FBC guys through for a gig there. Imagine Phoenix Nights with break-beats.

As a band, we started out with myself and Veronika [Elektronika, fellow vocalist]. We were meant to do a live emcee/DJ type set but the DJ pulled out so we got mates of ours to play drums and guitar and it just kind of grew from there.

You’ve been around for several years now. Did you ever feel that as a Scottish Hip-Hop act you had to fight harder in a genre that many people still perceive as primarily American? (Despite that there were fine UK Hip-Hop acts stretching right back to the eighties, thinking of Derek B, The Wee Papa Girl Rappers, Cookie Crew etc..)

It’s a difficult genre to try and define. There are those who have a predetermined idea of what hip-hop should be and they don’t necessarily see how Scotland could fit into that but that type of attitude is generally more likely to be from people that don’t know much about hip-hop. Scotland has a real depth of quality hip-hop artists right now, which is totally cool to be a part of. A variety of acts are playing major festivals like T in the Park, getting national airplay and being seriously and favourably reviewed so it’s an exciting time.

Which other Scottish hip-Hop acts would you recommend? After all, as well as you, Young Fathers and Nasty P…

I think there are some really outstanding artists in Scotland. Louie and his group Hector Bizerk are amazing both lyrically and as artists trying to push boundaries. Gasp and all of the Being Emcees are ridiculous lyricists, not to mention the production skills of Scatabrainz, Konchis, Steg G. Silvertongue is a brilliant emcee and his freestyles are bananas, Bigg Taj is a phenomenal beatboxer… this is just the tip of the iceberg… it feels like some seriously good music is coming out of Scotland these days.

Speaking of which, who do you view as being your peers? And who do you see as your influences?

See the above. I hear what people like Louie, Loki, Mog etc are writing and think, ‘I’m going to have to use ma heid here’. I just like words, I like messing about with them and trying different ways to say things. Sometimes if you get a concept the song writes itself pretty much. ‘Marriage Counselling’ off our new album was one like that. I also think your influences come from way wider than the type of music you end up making. I heard a Frightened Rabbit song the other day where he was singing about a messy night out and I was thinking how well constructed it was. Aiden Moffat is always good for a listen to learn about telling stories. In terms of the musical side of things, we’ve been trying to keep our horizons broad while also working on production. Samson, our drummer, releases bass music on Abaga Records as Dunt so he always brings some nice, fresh subby (sic) stuff to the table.

What’s the strangest thing that’s ever happened to you at a live show?

Last year at Insider Festival was pretty special. It was probably the best gig of the year for all of us. We played the main stage at about 10 o’clock on the Saturday night, the busy crowd were well-oiled on Thistly Cross and an assortment of other things, half the audience were decked out in Victorian attire, people were zip-sliding across the crowd in the half-light and when we went on it just went mental. That was an amazing combination of the bizarre and the legendary. Definitely one to remember.

Finally, what are your plans for the next twelve months?

Weellll… We release the album on the 17th September and embark on a UK tour to promote it. We’re playing the Liquid Room in Edinburgh, Stereo in Glasgow, Dundee, Inverness, Aberdeen as well as dates south of the border. Right now, we’ve got a couple of videos to make for the new album as well as Wickerman, Belladrum and Greenbelt Festival in London still to come. There’ll be our annual Oddvent Calendar throughout December for free stuff and random nonsense, then next year we’ll be writing, recording and playing aw o’er the place.

Reject is released on September 17.

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).’

The return of Stanley Odd!


There are no doubt those who still can’t get their head round the idea of Scottish Hip-Hop.


Edinburgh’s Stanley Odd appeared at the end of the last decade (the noughties) with ace tunes like ‘The Numbness’ and ‘Think Of A Number’ and a really very good debut album called Oddio. It was a pleasure to be able to support them over here at 17 Seconds.

And now they are back with an ace new track called ‘Get out Ma Headspace’ taken from their forthcoming sophomore album Reject, which will be released on September 17.

Download the single for free right here:

Not only that but there are a number of shows featuring our returning heroes. Festivalwise they appear at:
Fri 8 June FORT WILLIAM, Downhill Downtown
Sat 9 June FORT WILLIAM, Downhill Mountain Bike World Cup
Sat 16 June AVIEMORE, Insider Festival
Sun 24 June BIGGAR, Solas Festival
Sat 4 Aug INVERNESS, Belladrum Festival
Sat 25 Aug CHELTENHAM, Greenbelt Festival

There will be two special shows in June, which according to their website: Stanley Odd will play two special ‘preview shows’ in June, offering fans a first-listen to material from their eagerly-awaited second album. Shows will take place at the Electric Circus, Edinburgh on Friday 22nd June, and Bloc, Glasgow on Wednesday 27th June. Entry to the Edinburgh show will be charged at £1.79 (in recognition of the album release date) while the Glasgow date is completely free entry. No tickets for either show will be made available in advance.

They will also be playing the following dates in September:

Thu 20 September GLASGOW, Stereo
Fri 14 September ABERDEEN, The Lemon Tree
Fri 21 September EDINBURGH, Liquid Room
Sat 22 September INVERNESS, Ironworks

Album Review -Stanley Odd


Stanley Odd -‘Oddio’ (Circular)

Stanley Odd appeared towards the end of 2009 with an excellent single entitled ‘The Numbness’, which has been followed up by one almost equally as good entitled ‘Think Of A Number.’ Whilst there will be those who sneer at the idea of a scottish hip-hop act as being an oxymoron, the joke’s on them, because this is a genuinely fresh and exciting album.

Scotland’s had a hip-hop scene, it’s just that it’s underground, and by definition that means out of sight (or hearing range) to many people. But what Stanley Odd have remembered is that Hip-Hop grew out of both a party scene and social consciousness and this album genuinely keeps it real. Rapper Solareye raps in his own Edinburgh accent, and that means sounding scottish and not like he’s convinced he’s from LA, like some idiotic teenager aping Ali G without ever getting the joke. The press release remarks that Oddio is for those people that get tongue-tied talking to girls… those for whom fashion sense is an oxymoron and anyone who prefers literary figures to viewing figures. Good. This is hip-hop on a par with the socially conscious likes of Jurassic 5; Michael Franti;as far back as Gil Scott-Heron, and with a pop sensibility on its’ own terms, that sneers at the likes of bling and gets on with living.

I’ve yet to see them live, but this album’s just so much fun that that surely cannot remain the case for long. Get your ears around this collection of songs. Scottish Hip-Hop is about to go overground, and those laughing are about to have the smiles wiped off their silly faces. Bring it on -and here’s to Young Fathers too…


Oddio is released on May 31 on Circular Records.