Interview: Bob McBride of Transcension.

Interview: Bob McBride of Transcension.

A series of interviews with musicians talking about their favourite instruments and how those instruments influence their song-writing accompanied by some nice photos. Hopefully an enlightening insight into what inspires players in 2014. Or at least some cool photos.

Some people are born to play their instruments. Bob McBride is one of those people. This young man, still in his early 20’s, is easily one of the most talented musicians I know. There are few people who play their instruments with such ferocity and such impeccable technique. There’s fewer who are multi-instrumentalists and even fewer still who don’t actually own their instruments.

“I’ve not got a guitar, so I just play my mate’s guitar and I’ve not got a drum kit so all my drum writing is done in the this room.” Says McBride. Natural talent? Maybe, but nobody really gets this good without practice. Though the relative infrequency of his practice might account for the joy that seems to be permanently etched on his face when he is playing. Absence makes the heart grow fonder and all that.

Bob McBride of Transcension // photograph by Calum McMillan
Bob McBride of Transcension // photograph by Calum McMillan

It’s fascinating to hear him describe himself:,“It’s a bit of a cliché, but I’m just the drummer. They lay it down and I just try to accompany it.” “Just the drummer” who has now contributed more guitar parts than the band’s long-standing guitarist has and has totally reinvigorated and re-imagined an album’s worth of material that was not only already written, but already recorded.

Prior to recruiting McBride, Transcension had a series of drummers. The first is now an artist in Edinburgh, the second became their singer, the drum machine that replaced him didn’t really make the cut (or have a good enough haircut. I forget which.) and their fourth didn’t touch on the percussive power that seems to bubble within this young Glaswegian. “In this band, I’m still pretty new to it, they’ve had all the drum parts down on drum kit from hell, so that’s what I try to be” laughs McBride. “I Just listen to what they’ve come up with, and then do my own interpretation of it.” 

Bob McBride of Transcension // photograph by Calum McMillan
Bob McBride of Transcension // photograph by Calum McMillan

Having seen this band through all their incarnations it’s incredibly easy to see what McBride brings to band: an almost unrelenting passion. It’s exhausting even watching him batter his way through this sprawling metallic epics in a practice space, never mind actually performing the whole set with the kind of intensity he does. An intensity that owes much more to joy than it does the kind of po faced seriousness that is so typically associated with metal.  A smile and well placed The Simpsons tattoo is a pleasant change of scenery from those who haven’t moved beyond incredibly loud harmonised guitars yet. It actually makes a style of music that hasn’t genuinely excited me for years now seem inspiring again.

Part of this might because of the roots that inspire McBride: “Chad Smith. He’s the da man, he’s the pure man. Obviously he doesn’t play the double bass shit that I like to play, but he’s just the most solid mother fucker out.” The Chili Peppers sense of infectious sense of abandon, or at least the sense they were known for before they started to write albums for Ford Mondeo salesmen, has obviously proven itself to be a lasting influence. Though other than both being impressively tight players, you’d be hard pushed to find any similarity in style between the two. Though they are both equally committed to pulling excellent drummer faces.

Bob McBride of Transcension // photograph by Calum McMillan
Bob McBride of Transcension // photograph by Calum McMillan

And the creative process for this intensely passionate and talented multi-instrumentalist? Just messing about: “If I can figure out a part, I just kinda mess about and something usually comes about it. It all comes from messing about really.”

Artists are deep like y’know?

Transcension can be found on Facebook here. They’re playing Nice n Sleazy on July 18th with Act Natural and their début album will be released….when its done probably.

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