HNH Ones To Watch...



Who Are They?

We’re a 4-piece rock/indie/alt-pop band from Glasgow, Kieran McFarlane (Lead Vocal & Guitar), Steve Rattigan (Drums), Steven Joseph (Lead Guitar), Max Lamprecht (Bass), looking to create a worldwide community of Jackals who are going to help us bring bands back into the mainstream


How and when did you all get together?


I (Kieran) wanted to put a band together as a vehicle for my own songs in early 2018 and so I threw up a few adverts online in the usual places. I got a response from a bassist and a drummer (Steve). When we started jamming and writing songs together we realised the band needed another guitarist to flesh out the sound, so I put an ad on Facebook, and the timing was perfect as Steven (lead guitar) had just left another band and was on the look out for something serious with big ambitions. We liked the chemistry and seemed to bounce ideas off each other really easily. Our then bassist had to leave for personal reasons, so we recently brought in Max to take his place.  

Do you all have different influences and favourite bands?


Absolutely! We all come from very different backgrounds. Half the band isn’t even Scottish! Steven actually spent most of his life as a professional classical guitarist and saxophonist, and both he and Max have been educated at Royal Schools of Music, so they’re able to bring a unique perspective to the music. 

Obviously it’s our love of similar music that brought us together and if we had to name some of our most apparent influences it would be bands like Incubus, Alter Bridge, Tremonti, Muse, Halestorm, System of a Down, Chris Cornell, Van Halen, RHCP, Pink Floyd, The Beatles etc. but I like to think we draw on more far reaching styles too, from the minimalist music of Steve Reich; singer songwriter’s such as James Taylor and Paul Simon, jazzers like Pat Metheny and so on.

I think the fact that our 4 song EP has been compared to everything from Incubus to Coldplay, Chili’s to Metallica, The 1975 to Van Halen and so on, speaks volumes about the diversity of our sound. It’s unashamedly grounded in rock, but also goes way beyond that.

You released an EP this year, did you have a “Black Star Jackals” sound in mind when you started writing and recording?


Yes we produced our own online only EP and released it at the same time as we launched ourselves to the big wide world at that start of the year. We also released a music video to the lead single ‘Maybe’. So it wasn’t exactly a “slow burn band” launch!

There wasn’t any conscious effort to make ourselves sound one way or another. We kind of let the songs write themselves and evolve over time and wrote mostly on feel. We’re really proud at just how diverse the songs on the EP are from each other and we found when writing them that rather than them growing closer and closer together in terms as sound as time went on, that in fact they moved further and further apart. So many bands have sets filled with songs that all sound the same and worse still so many bands sound alike and we’re keen to not get pigeon holed.

Ultimately, we like songs that are melodic, catchy, well-constructed with a great feel and good energy. Kieran has a very distinctive and unique tone to his voice, which is obviously the foundation of our sound. He also writes the lyrics and the vocal melodies. 

When we brought Steven in on guitar late last year the band’s sound changed a lot. Suddenly the songs became more detailed in their instrumentation and we had guitar riffs and solos as well as structural changes. We began to look at our songs more like compositions and get very detailed and we feel it’s really paid off in giving us a more slick, professional and well thought out EP.


What has the reaction being like to the EP since its release?


Overwhelmingly positive we’re happy to say. A recent review by A&R Factory was very complimentary, saying "There’s really no over-exaggerating what a promising debut this is from the Glaswegian 4-piece melodically gifted powerhouse” and despite having only released it 3 weeks ago (at date of this interview) we’ve already had lots of airplay on local radio, online radio, podcasts and blogs and been featured on a few ‘ones to watch’ lists.

The best thing is how everyone seems to have a different favourite song. There isn’t necessarily one song alone that everyone is gravitating to and we think that reflects the diversity of the tunes. 


Watch the video for the 1st track from the debut eponymous EP.


Are there any live dates coming up?


Yes, it’s still very early days and we’re in talks with lots of promoters and festivals, but confirmed gigs are our debut gig at The Record Factory on March 8th that we’re super excited about. Then the day after on the 9th we’re in Kirkcaldy at the Kirk & Bear doing a battle of the bands, which should be great fun. June 15th we’re back at Record Factory and it’s looking like the day after we’ll be playing West Fest in Glasgow. 

What would be your dream gig?

One that pays! 

But seriously I think most bands dream of headlining at the biggest venue of the town they’re from don’t they? So for us that would be the SSE Hydro Arena here in sunny Glasgow, such a great venue. We also wouldn’t say no to headlining Glastonbury!

Can you tell us about any future plans for the band in 2019?

We’re actually looking to head back into the recording studio fairly soon to record an extended version of our current EP that will also be a physical release and available on Spotify, iTunes etc. So it will contain re-recorded and revamped versions of the songs on our current EP, as well as a few bonus extra’s we’re currently writing.

We definitely want to play at least one festival and possibly put on our own show later in the year as headliners.

We’re also keen to collaborate with as many fellow local bands and artists and really promote the Scottish music scene as a whole.

What’s most important is that we build on this early momentum and keep it going for the rest of the year. There’s a lot of potential Jackals out there that don’t know there’s a community of musicians waiting for them; we just have to get the word out and our music heard!

Thanks fellas, that was really great.  

You can check out all the Black Star Jackclas social media below, and check out the 4-Track EP in the Soundcloud link below.


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