If you’re a regular visitor of this website, you might have seen Scottish twin brothers Michael and Andrew Truscott before as members of the incredible, but no longer existing band The Seventeenth Century from Glasgow. You might also know Ryan Joseph Burns, who played guitar in the band. Well, the Truscott brothers are back! As Kinbrae, they bring a mixture of brass, acoustic guitar, percussion and musique concrète, to create a very experimental yet accessible form of ambient, classical music.

I spoke with Andrew about the end of The Seventeenth Century and the birth of Kinbrae. “The band just ran its course and came to a quiet end a few years ago now – it was meant to be. I think it’s safe to say that I had some of the best times of my life with The Seventeenth Century, especially when we toured The Netherlands. But we were also pretty lazy and could have done a bit more in terms of releasing music etc – we were more interested in the partying side of things. We were young and enjoyed ourselves.”

“I guess after all that came to an end I was just keen to keep doing music and it made sense to do a project with Mike. I was still playing drums in a few other bands but I guess I realised that I wanted to be more than just a drummer – I wanted to try to write my own material and experiment with sounds. We did a rework of a Nils Frahm song where Mike scored a brass part to it and I mixed in some percussive field recordings and we just really enjoyed doing it. We got some great feedback from it and that lead to us writing our own music. I was always worried I was too naive in terms of song writing and playing other instruments, but I think in some ways that’s a good thing – I discover more that way I think.”

“Minimalist, ambient music has always been the most influential to us.” A huge range of artists and musicians influences the Truscotts. “Jim White of the Dirty Three was the first drummer that really blew my mind in terms of how to approach the drum kit; his flowing, jazz-improv style is just incredible. The approach of Wilco’s Glenn Kotche to making your own percussion and use of contact mics and found sounds is pretty inspiring as well. Mike’s first influence was a cornet player called Philip McCann, who focused on tone and getting the most out of the sound of the instrument. Other artists include Nils Frahm, Hauschka, Lubomyr Melnyk, Max Richter, Can, Arthur Russell, GY!BE and Peter Broderick amongst others.”

The brothers love the simplistic approach. “The emphasis is on melody and the use of harmony. Live shows are particularly enjoyable for us as we can improvise and play around with song structures. There is a lot of freedom in the music we play and the fact that every performance is different has always been appealing. We both love the relationship between music (particularly instrumental music) and imagery/photography as well. We both studied music so have always listened to a wide range of music. We have always shared a passion for music and have had similar tastes in artists and styles from a young age.”

Talking about a young age: It was a friend’s sister who was the final push for Andrew to start drumming in high school. “Mike started playing Cornet when he was 10 and spent time playing in brass bands for a few years. After that he started picking up other instruments and enjoyed the challenges in learning them. I started playing drums in my first year of high school; I think I was around 13 years old or something. I remember my friend’s sister, who was a few years old than us, said she liked drummers so I had good motivation to start.”

For about the last eight months, Andrew has been living and working on the rather small Isle of Coll in the west of Scotland, leaving his brother, girlfriend and other friends behind in Glasgow. His brother Mike married on the Ilse of Mull in 2013. “The Scottish landscape plays a major factor in inspiring the both of us. Living on the Isle of Coll has been such an amazing experience. I was worried when I moved up here that I might lose some of my passion for music, but it has really strengthened it and made me realise how much I love it. Creatively it has been really inspiring and the community up here are so welcoming. Mike got married on the Isle of Mull in 2013 so feels a connection with islands as well. He also took part in the World Stone Skimming Championships on the Isle of Easdale.”

“There are a lot of bands in Glasgow, and I guess there are a few like-minded artists around such as theapplesofenergy, Now Wakes the Sea and Left of Venus. We have invited members of these bands to play in live shows with us. There are also some great promoters that have been kind to us and offered us some amazing gigs. To be honest though, it has been really good to get out of the Glasgow music scene for now. In our previous band we tried to play as many Glasgow gigs as possible and I was feeling quite suffocated by it all. I was always anxious about what others would think of my music whilst in Glasgow, which seems crazy now in retrospect. I think musically I was stuck in a rut, just playing the same venues all the time and seeing the same faces.”

“Moving away has benefitted me hugely not just musically but on a personal level. When I first moved here I was so out of my comfort zone, but it has been so rewarding becoming a part of the community up here. I feel much more confident in who I am. I certainly feel more creative since I moved away and I’m very happy with what we do in Kinbrae. Saying all that though, now that I live on a tiny Hebridean Island I really love going back and visiting Glasgow and my friends there.”

Kinbrae have an album recorded that they hope to bring out soon. “It would be great to do some kind of soundtrack work if the opportunity came up. We were over in Cologne playing at the Ambientfestival in January where we had the chance to see the city and take field recordings so we’re keen to use those as a foundation to an EP. We’ve also started putting ideas together with the idea of recording and releasing an album influenced around my time up here on Coll.”

The Glasgow independent music scene has always fascinated Andrew. “Ever since moving there in 2007, and at university I did my dissertation on the scene and got the chance to interview Stephen from The Pastels. I really like a lot of the instrumental stuff they write and I very much enjoyed the soundtrack they did to film The Last Great Wilderness. Peter Broderick‘s album Float was one of the first minimalist albums either of us bought. It has always been an inspiration to us so to recreate one of the songs from the album was an exciting prospect for us.”



Floating/Sinking (Peter Broderick)

Wilderness Theme (The Pastels)

Past Tense

A Distant Shoreline

All photos by Matthijs van der Ven.
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Floating/Sinking (Peter Broderick)
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Wilderness Theme (The Pastels)
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