Upload 2014 Preview: Interview with Drew Cochrane.

This weekend cackblabbath.online are heading up to Dundee for Upload Festival to see some of the most exciting Scottish talent around on the music scene right now. We caught up with organiser Drew Cochrane beforehand to find out what we can expect from the festival and a bit about what he is up to outside of Upload.

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After a successful first year in 2013, this weekend sees the return of Upload Festival to Dundee. Can you tell us how the whole thing got started?

Upload was actually a followup to an event I ran with my dad in 2012, the Rock N Roll Tattoo Fest in Dundee. Rock’n’Roll had just opened their Dundee branch, my dad who’s a screen printer had done all the shirts for their opening day and we had the idea of doing a live music event to promote their name and advertise them in Dundee. Rock N Roll Tattoo Fest doesn’t really roll off the tongue very easily though so when I decided to do a 2013 event, I renamed it Upload, a play on Download – we even ripped off their logo!

You’ve created a bill filled with Scottish metal acts who are very strong on the scene right now. Heading the event is Heart of a Coward from Milton Keynes… What is it about those guys which made you feel they were right for Upload?

Last year I had Bleed From Within and wanted to bring a band of a similar caliber and popularity in this year to keep momentum going. I’d put HOAC on in Dundee previously and have known their singer since his days in Sylosis. They’re also an incredible live band, which anyone who’s seen them live will tell you. It was the obvious choice for me to approach them, although I did have a few back up plans in mind too.

Your own band, Excellent Cadaver are playing under Heart of a Coward as the main support for them. How does it feel to be sharing the stage with a band who you admire so much?

This will actually be the second time we’ve played with Heart of a Coward, but it feels great to be playing with them again, as I’ve already said, they’re an incredible live band and they’re really nice guys too, it’ll be great to catch up with them.

For people heading to Upload this weekend, which bands do you recommend we check out before the gig, who we might not have heard of before?

My personal picks from the day are Exile The Traitor, who’re Scotlands answer to The Black Dahlia Murder. Certain Death are also amazing live, I can’t wait to see how they get the crowd going. There’s also Dog Tired and Lucifers Corpus who’re both groovy as hell and really heavy – hopefully I’ll get time to watch some of every bands set between running things and playing.

If Upload was to return next year, who would you like to see taking the headline slot?

I’d really like to grow the event if it was to return next year, as this year I’ve kept it on a similar scale to last time. I’d quite like to have someone like Bury Tomorrow headline the main stage, with maybe Hacktivist or Continents on the second stage.

As well as playing guitar for Excellent Cadaver, you are also the owner of Cadaver Concerts and have done a lot for the music scene in Dundee over the last couple of years. Whereas a lot of people are happy to sit and home and moan about the state of an industry, what makes you different that you actually want to stand up and do something about it?

A few years ago, we were getting a lot of decent support slots (Trivium, Chimaira, Yashin etc) and playing a lot of shows in Dundee, then everything just seemed to dry up and no-one was putting on any gigs anymore. I basically started out doing an annual Christmas show for Excellent Cadaver in 2008, and only really doing one show per year but since 2012 I’ve kicked things up a notch and started to book more touring bands and organise things like Upload – when I first started it was purely to create opportunities for my own band, but now it’s grown to be more than that.

How would you describe the music scene in Scotland currently?

It’s really hit or miss. Some shows are packed, some are dead – even for bigger bands. It certainly seems to be on the up, with a lot of young bands coming through and packing out venues. Some cities seem to have a better scene than others though, in my experience Dundee and Edinburgh have a far better scene than Aberdeen at present. Glasgow is always a weird one, but I think that is probably because there’s almost always a bigger band playing in a venue just down the road – it’s difficult to get people to your show when their favourite band is playing right round the corner!

You mentioned Rock’n’Roll Tattoos earlier. You have been working in their Edinburgh branch for just over a year now. They seem to be a company which are also very keen to support the Scottish metal scene. Why is this?

We all love metal, plain and simple. It’s also a symbiotic partnership – they’re happy to sponsor shows and bands, which then spreads the name of Rock N Roll to more and more people. Metal is also a good target audience for a tattoo studio to have, let’s face it – metal and tattoos go hand in hand! There’s a really strong family vibe within Rock N Roll and the bands we deal with too, Scott from Bleed From Within and Steppie and Sharpie from To Kill Achilles all work for Rock N Roll too so we have a lot of staff who’re in active bands in the Scottish scene – it just makes sense for us to support it. They are an amazing company to work for!