The Vegan Leather, one of Paisley’s finest new acts, are one of many bands being funded by Creative Scotland to hit Brighton’s Great Escape Festival, a prime opportunity to be regaled by others in the industry.

Marie Collins from the band spoke with The Fountain about the support they’ve received from their home town as well as how this all came about.

TF: You are heading to Brighton for The Great Escape very soon, you guys must be ecstatic? Can you tell a bit about how this came about?

To put it quite bluntly, we’re all absolutely BUZZING!!! We’re part of two showcase events held by Creative Scotland who have been a massive support to us! Without their help, it would be a lot harder to play an event like The Great Escape. There’s a real sense of community in the Scottish music scene, and we’re really eager to support the other bands while we’re down there too. It definitely feels like we are all heading down as part of a team, and it’ll be such a great opportunity show Brighton the strength and talent of new Scottish bands!

TF: Paisley has a rich history of producing some amazing musical talent – Paolo Nutini, Gerry Rafferty, Jill Jackson – to name a few. How has the support been within your local town? Have the buddies been with you all the way?

The support from our hometown has been absolutely incredible! It’s definitely an honour to be part of such an amazing community. We’ve received an immense amount of support and encouragement from the town, and its creativity and spirit is something that continues to inspire us. During the City of Culture bid, the Paisley 2021 team were a continuous support to us and our endeavours as a band. The run up to the bid was a super exciting time in Paisley, and that momentum has carried on. No lack of title has stopped the creativity and passion. It just highlighted what was already there.

I used to work in Paisley’s heritage library, and so I got to find out quite a lot about the incredible history the town has. It was the centre of the weaving/textile industry, and gave its name to the Paisley Pattern. There was a lot of political radicalism and activism where workers would strike for equal pay. Weavers, poets, musicians, merchants etc. would come together to debate and plan political demonstrations.

I think this history and sense of togetherness lives on in Paisley today. There’s definitely a real feeling of camaraderie and support for one another which I think is testament to its past.

TF: How does it feel to be sharing the bill with the likes of Tirzah, WWWAter and The Wandering Hearts? You must have bands on that list you personally want to check out?

It’s incredibly overwhelming to be part of such an amazing line-up! There are so many bands we want to check out! It’s so cool that it’s so varied too. We have pretty mixed tastes in The Vegan Leather, so it’s great we can check out a bit of everything! I’m pretty obsessed with Alice Boman, Haley Heynderickx, and Phoebe Bridgers at the moment. I think they are absolutely incredible song-writers. I also think it’s important for me as a woman in music to be inspired by other women in the industry.

TF: What are you hoping for from performing at the Great Escape?

I guess we’re known for bringing a lot of energy to our live shows, so we would be hoping to encapsulate that in our performances! We want to bring that party atmosphere to Brighton whilst also showing we’re serious about our songs. We’re hoping to connect with a lot of people throughout the festival, and looking forward to that as much as the performances! We’ve heard from bands who attended last year that the whole festival has an incredible atmosphere, and is a great opportunity to make new contacts and pals!

TF: Lastly, after witnessing your high energy set last night I have to ask – how many pairs of glasses does Gian go through in a year?

Oh at least five pairs a year I would say. Matt our bass player is also notorious for losing his glasses in the midst of gigs too. I’m really hoping to get some sort of sponsorship deal from an optician soon. If there are any optometrists at The Great Escape this year let’s talk numbers! The band fund can’t take much more.