The Whisky Works
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The Whisky Works

Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom | INDIE

Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom | INDIE
Band Alternative Pop


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The Whisky Works @ Twa Tam's

Perth, Not Applicable, United Kingdom

Perth, Not Applicable, United Kingdom

The Whisky Works @ TBC

Dundee, Not Applicable, United Kingdom

Dundee, Not Applicable, United Kingdom

The Whisky Works @ Nice 'n' Sleazy

Glasgow, Not Applicable, United Kingdom

Glasgow, Not Applicable, United Kingdom

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t's a brave soul who goes against the grain and speaks out against the indie-centric press coverage of Scotland's music scene, but Iain Bethel, lead singer and bassist of Glaswegian four-piece post-hardcore outfit The Whisky Works, is not a man to mince words.

"I think if you dig deep, there's a lot of great stuff going on in the Scottish music scene," he says. "It's become a lot better in the last few years, it has gone from being very formulaic to a lot more dynamic. Personally, I think Scotland's music scene could do a lot better from promoting less singer-songwriter types, I really don't think we need any more of them!"

Fighting words, perhaps, but his broadside will get many nods of agreement from those who have seen the alternative scene in Glasgow go stratospheric over the last couple of years while the taste-makers have looked on, oblivious. Then again, one would expect nothing less than polemics from a band quietly confident that they can "tear a new one in the UK music scene" with their upcoming mini-album Deficit Attention Program, due for release in August, and a summer tour which will see them travel the length of Britain from Elgin to Somerset.

Listening to tracks from the forthcoming EP, it's easy to believe The Whisky Works can do just that. Driving rock songs like 'Electric' are deceptively melodic, while the rhythm section is rock solid, laying down a tailor-made base for Bethel's impressive vocals.

The band draws influences from post-hardcore staples like At The Drive-In, Cave In and Rival Schools, as well as more eclectic acts like the late, great Aereogramme. But despite such a firm sonic grounding in the genre heavyweights, Bethel is adamant The Whisky Works' sound, and especially their live show, has its own character.

"We thrive on creating a great sense of energy both through our recordings and our live show, which we feel is something a lot of bands overlook," he enthuses. "Without trying to sound clichéd, what we believe we are doing is our own thing, we are not imitating anyone or trying to sound like our favourite bands, we just do what feels natural for the four of us."

The Whisky Works have been lucky enough to have had Iain Cook - of aforementioned Glasgow post-rock demigods Aereogramme - behind the desk for the recording of Deficit Attention Program. The band can't speak highly enough of Cook and believe his input was invaluable in the creation of the mini-album. Bethel explains; "Working with Iain Cook has been incredible! I honestly don't think you could ever meet a nicer man. Aside from the fact he is really great at what he does, he also gave us a large amount of control over the mix."

So where next for The Whisky Works? Their upcoming tour and EP will likely keep them busy for some time but, looking ahead, the band sees the next 12 months as a real make-or-break period. The guys hope to build on their existing fanbase, establish themselves as a nationwide presence and make sure their new record gets the respect and recognition it deserves.

Whether that will be enough to make those looking for the next breakout indie act sit up and pay attention to the post-hardcore scene remains to be seen, but on the strength of Deficit Attention Program, we wouldn't bet against it.

Like what you hear? Catch The Whisky Works live at the following dates:

18 Jul: The Orange Box, Yeovil
19 Jul: Nikhs Bar, Newcastle
20 Jul: Venue TBA, Brighton
26 Jul: The Tunnels, Aberdeen
27 Jul: The Loft, Elgin
28 Jul: Balcony Bar, Dundee
30 Jul: Captains Rest, Glasgow (mini album launch)
1 Aug: The Venue, Dumfries - Jodi Mullen

For some bands, going on tour is a chance to indulge in wild partying.

In contrast, Whisky Works singer Iain Bethel has had to juggle his band’s recent gigging with studying for exams!

The singer in the hotly tipped Glasgow rock band is attempting to complete his degree in engineering from Caledonian University.

But on Thursday night he’ll be able to leave his studies behind as the group launch their new EP, Deficit Attention Program, at Nice N’ Sleazy.

“It’s been a bit hectic trying to revise,” he says with a laugh.

“I was sitting in the back of the car, on our recent tour, trying to revise and the other four guys were just wanting to talk about really stupid stuff, and with music blaring it got pretty impossible!”

Something much more achievable is that Whisky Works might be the next Glasgow band to break through to mainstream success. The catchy mix of melody and anger that runs through Deficit Attention Program, an EP full of turbo-charged, distorted pop-rock has certainly attracted attention.

The band have been crafting the release for quite a while, and Iain is delighted to finally get the finished product out there.

“It’s been a real weight off me to get it out,” he admits. “We started recording it in Wales in 2008, we did the first half of it there, and then we finished it back in Glasgow.”

Although it won’t be available to buy online and in shops until May 24, the six-track record will be for sale at Thursday’s show. The EP also features a Scottish music heavyweight, in the shape of Iain Cook, former lead guitarist with noted noise-mongers Aerogramme and now with the Unwinding Hours, who mixed and mastered it.

“We’re all massive Aerogramme fans,” says the singer, “they definitely had a big influence on us, so it was a massive help. We even got to hear a bit of the Unwinding Hours tracks being recorded, which blew me away.

“Iain’s a great guy, really nice and he’s got no ego, or anything like that – he was happy to sit there eating tea and biscuits. He’s an incredibly talented man, so it was a great experience.”

However, it’s only recently that the band have felt comfortable in their own skin. Originally forming after meeting at North Glasgow College in 2006, Iain admits the group, who recently became a five-piece, took a while before settling on the style that suited them best.

“When we started it was more aggressive bands like At The Drive In, or Hell Is For Heroes, that inspired us,” he says.

“Back then our music was a lot noisier, a lot more aggressive. Now it’s different – we have a lot more melody, and there’s a much more positive outlook. It’s chalk and cheese to how we started.

“That positive nature was always there, but we’ve come together collectively with our influences now. At first we were all trying to pull in different ways and it’s only recently that we’ve found a sound that we’re all comfortable with.”

And Iain feels that sound now fits in well with recent Scottish bands like the Twilight Sad, Frightened Rabbit and We Were Promised Jetpacks, who’ve all enjoyed a recent surge in popularity in both the UK and the USA.

I’m enjoying the Scottish music scene a lot more now than when we first started out,” admits Iain. “A lot of the Scottish bands and singer-songwriters breaking through when we started in 2006, we weren’t really into.”

At Nice n’ Sleazy tomorrow night the band will be joined by two talented Scottish acts, with Pareto and Lightguides supporting. Iain feels it shows just how strong the Scottish scene has now become.

“It’s really competitive. There are so many other bands we could have picked to support us and it was really difficult to narrow it down.

“We’ve played Sleazys before, and most of us are in there every few days anyway. It’ll be a good night.”

Iain himself has some added family knowledge of the local music scene, as his sister Adele is the frontwoman with Sons & Daughters. However, he admits it took him some time before his own interest in music awoke.

“My sister was always more into music than I was. It wasn’t till about 16 that I got into music, as I’d only cared for football till then. But I do remember sitting in my dad’s car and listening to old Kinks records when I was younger!”

* Whisky Works, Thursday, Nice & Sleazy, £5, 7.30pm.

- Jonathan Geddes

Deficit Attention Program, The Whisky Works
Deficit Attention Program is the debut mini-album from Glasweigan post-hardcore four-piece The Whisky Works, although I’m not convinced. Upon listening to the first couple of tracks, I actually found myself double-checking that this isn’t a long-lost Thursday demo from way back when. The music may be a bit tamer than New Jersey’s finest, but Iain Bethel’s vocals at times are identical to those of Thursday’s Geoff Rickly.

Still I’m not one to knock any band to draw influence from Mr Rickly and Co., and this mini-albun is certainly one deserving of a few listens. Partly recorded at Longwave Studios with Romesh Dodongoda at the helm – and let’s be honest, he’s hardly produced anything bad recently – it’s six tracks of angular guitars, stop-start drums and incredibly passionate vocals. Opening track ‘Electric’ kicks in with an almighty force, while ‘Monster! Monster!’ has a chorus capable of slaying such a subject matter. In ‘Lights’, the bands’ grunge influence is allowed to truly shine through, with its contrast of soft verses and towering choruses, and it’s here that the frontman’s natural Scottish twinge becomes apparent in his vocals. It’s quite frankly aurally delicious.

There’s a hell of a lot of talent coming out of Scotland at the moment (see Twin Atlantic, To Catch A Thief), and with Deficit Attention Program, The Whisky Works have the substance to become the country's next big export.. I really enjoy this record, and while it may not be the most original or ambitious release, it’s a must-listen for any post-hardcore fans looking for something new.

Andy R

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- Punk Tastic.

Album Review: The Whisky Works - Deficit Attention Program

Scotland's The Whisky Works have quite a bit going for them, after shows with the likes of Jeniferever, Sons And Daughters, Meet Me In St Louis, Tubelord and Blakfish. They are now set to release their debut mini-album, 'Deficit Attention Program' and with Romesh Dodangoda (Funeral for a Friend, Twin Atlantic) behind production. It could all be very promising.

Opener 'Electric' delivers to the expectations with the bands own brand of steady-paced post-hardcore with tight musicianship leading up to a chorus that soars above and beyond. It sets the bar high for the rest of the record. In addition to this, the track is reminscent of bands like Hell Is For Heroes.

'Monster! Monster!' picks up the pace a little with Iain Bethal's vocals being strong and consistent and overall the song structure works well, as the band clearly know how and when to calm things down before bursting back into life.

Next is 'Selfless Support', a rougher sounding track yet it is one of the calmer tracks on the release. This until it an instrumental section that makes you step back and realise this band have something special.

Bethal's booming voice dominates 'Lights' and is accompanied with soft guitars. It sees the band experimenting a bit more, perhaps not that favourable on first listen, grows on you on further listens. Whilst 'I'm Winning' is bass-driven and leans more towards the bands hardcore side in the chorus; speedy drums, deep guitars notes and vocals that shout above all of this.

'Rage' closes the mini-album and to perfectly shows the band tight performance, as Bethal's vocals at times plays second fiddle behind storming guitars that drive the track home and thumping drums. However it does seem to drag on a little, even though it does bring proceedings to a triumphant end

'Deficit Attention Program' shows The Whisky Works are a band with a hell of a lot potential and promise. Over the course of 22 minutes, you begin to realise that they have something going for them, perhaps its captivating lyrics, Bethal's strong, consistent vocals or the bands overall tight knit performance, that keeps its momentum throughout and proves to favourable and highly enjoyable.

I'd be happy to hear plenty more of The Whisky Works in the future.


'Deficit Attention Program' by The Whisky Works is released on August 31st.
The Whisky Works on MySpace

'Electric' will be included on the Alter The Press! Autumn/Winter 2009 Compilation released in August.

Sean Reid

Posted by Sean Reid at 18:44 2 comments - Alter The Press - Sean Reid


Songs from the 2010 mini-album have been played on various radio shows, including Vic Galloway on BBC radio 1 and BBC Introducing with Tom Robinson.

The latest demos ahead of our new recordings can be heard via our bandcamp page-

Deficit Attention Program Mini Album - May 2010
Sleep Alone Tonight Single-Summer 2011



Evening Times-

Scotsman -

Flares And Seagulls-

Album Reviews

Alter The Press-




The Whisky Works are a Scottish 5 piece blending searing melody and distorted pop with a blistering live performance.Think Aereogramme coupled with Idlewild, Sonic Youth and Husker Du merging into Scottish Pop.

The Whisky Works have supported the likes of Sons And Daughters,The Xcerts,Pulled Apart By Horses,Dinosaur Pile Up,Frightened Rabbit,Tubelord,Blakfish,Fighting With Wire,Jeniferever.
Chosen By Sons And Daughters to play the 2008 Hard Working Class Heroes festival in Dublin,Ireland.

Reviews of the 2010 album described their music as "quite frankly aurally delicious" (4/5 Punktastic) and that it "makes you step back and realise this band have something special" (4/5 Alter the Press).

On record, its apparent that the band has a powerful and salient sound, but they really thrive on playing live, where they can display their energetic and dynamic presence 'theyre having a lot of fun and from the roars of approval and demands for one more tune, so is the crowd" (Is this music).

Mini-Album "Attention Deficit Program" May 2010.Mastered by Iain Cook(Aereogramme) Recorded With Romesh Dodongada.
Released by Yvonne McLennan(Island Records) via Make Noise Records-

New 7"/Download Single 'Sleep Alone Tonight' out Summer 2011.(Chem 19 Studios mixed by Iain Cook, The Unwinding Hours)

Management-Matthew Scott,Justice Management.