Interview – The Passing Sages

The Passing Sages are an electronic pop group with a sound that harks back to the glory days of the 80s. You can find their song, Crisis On The Dancefloor, at the end of this interview – make sure you check it out if you like what you read!

By Jane Howkins

You recently released a track titled Crisis On The Dancefloor, which we reviewed. What can you tell us about the song? What does the title refer to?

Holly Crisis On The Dancefloor is a fun song about people who are afraid to dance! Our creative process can be very collaborative. With this tune, I pulled together a demo and brought it to the band who all helped put their own spin on it. It’s a bit different to our usual style as it has much more of an electronic focus.

Has the pandemic hindered your work much?

Nic – Compared to other artists and industry professionals, we weren’t in a position where the band was our sole job and income and so in that sense, we weren’t really impacted too negatively. What it did do was simply delay our plans and push everything back slightly.
Just before the pandemic, we had spent a lot of time building up a two hour set so that we could get out and gig more frequently. Annoyingly, it would be more than a year later till we got any use out of all that hard work.

Our keyboard player, Daniel, auditioned for the band only a couple of weeks before the first lockdown, and so that delayed getting him more involved with the band and up to speed with all the songs.

Luckily we were all able to record and work on songs in isolation and the extra time we all had being stuck at home meant that we were able to put a lot more focus in to developing the tracks that would become our debut EP, Burnin’ Up, that was released in November of 2020.

What is the writing and recording process like for you?

Nic – Every song we write and record is completely different. For example, with our first single that we released, which included the songs (Your Love Makes Me) Happy and I Was Wrong, the initial song ideas were written by a local songwriter we work with called Glen Gates. As a band, we then developed and re-arranged the songs and due to financial constraints at the time, Nic recorded and mixed those tracks.

Mr Clyne felt that there was something missing from those first tracks, the energy that is present when we perform together. So for our second single, Destiny, and our Burnin’ Up EP, we recorded these in a live setup at Gracenote Studios in Dunfermline. Destiny is another track where the initial idea was created by Glen Gates and then developed and re-arranged by the band just like Octave Higher, Kindest Boy and Wonderful Person.

The initial musical ideas for Burnin’ Up began with myself, and the lyrics were then written and developed by Holly and Glen Gates.

Our latest single, Crisis On The Dancefloor was an idea that Holly brought to the table. The foundations of the whole song were there and then as a band we developed the track further. For the recording of this single we went back to recording it in bits rather than all at once, mainly to allow us to focus on everyone’s parts in great detail in the studio.

Do you plan to release any more singles in the near future?

Sean – The plan for the near future is to continue releasing singles every couple of months, so we’re aiming to have something new out very soon. We have an abundance of material that is almost complete and just needs polishing or recording before it can be released.

Have you started writing for an EP or an album?

Daniel – We released our first EP Burnin’ Up at the end of 2020. Currently, we’re working on building our released song catalogue by hopefully releasing a new single every few months, which started with Crisis on the Dancefloor recently.

What/who influences you most as artists? What have you been listening to recently?

Carrie – We take inspiration from artists such as Chic, Lady Gaga and Calvin Harris.
I personally don’t tend to listen to any current music in the charts. However, I have started listening to Shania Twain and The Proclaimers again recently.

Where are you based? What is the music scene like in your part of the world?

Mr Clyne – I think for the size of Dunfermline and its town centre that it has a lot to offer compared to some other areas I’ve lived in. A number of different sized venues from cafes to theatres; strong musical heritage with its famous contributions to music (The Skids, Big Country, Barbara Dickson) to the weekly folk club. There are several spaces to rehearse and record in town and every weekend there is live music happening somewhere.

Do you have any tour dates lined up?

Nic – No tours planned at the moment but we do have a few gigs in the calendar for the rest of the year.
Friday 27th May we are playing the main stage at Breakout Festival in Kirkcaldy alongside acts like Wet Wet Wet, Hue & Cry and Sandi Thom.
Then we are back in Kirkcaldy on Saturday 2nd July, performing at Fife Pride and two weeks later on Saturday 16th July we will be playing the Largo Arts Festival.

We are making a big push at the moment to try and get out and gig in as many places as possible, so hopefully there will be more dates to announce very soon.

What can people expect from one of your shows and why should people come and see you perform live?

Holly – Lots of upbeat, energetic songs! We always like to make sure that people can dance to our music. Ballads are banned! People should come and see us live if they want to have a really good time and let their hair down. It’s party music till we die!

Any last words for the fans?

Daniel – Thanks so much for all the support and look forward to more gigs and releases in the future!