Music Is Love speaks to The Stand
Anna Merryfield explains the St Andrews music scene to Alex MacKay
With a bevy of talent soon descending upon St Andrews, it was only right for The Stand to sit down with Anna Merryfield, head of Music Is Love and SSC Music Officer to hear the skinny on the crop of gigs, jam sessions and open mic nights coming your way.
Hi Anna! For those not in the know, can you outline what Music Is Love does?
Music Is Love is a subcommittee of the Union, which means we are funded by them every year to put on live music events, to encourage student musicians and to give them a platform to display what they’ve been doing, to put on more alternative events, and to provide equipment, practising spaces – a toolbox for St Andrews musicians.
From what we hear, you’ve got a big calendar of events in upcoming months. Can you reveal anything?
So far, we have regular slots in the Barron on Mondays from 9.30pm until 10.30pm – informal jam sessions where people can just come along and bring their instruments. On the 17th October, we have Meursault coming up to play. If you don’t know them, they’re a really big Scottish band, based in Edinburgh. They toured with Frightened Rabbit last year and were nominated for Scottish Album of the Year as well recently – they’re amazing. Sunshine Social, a band of Glasgow students who do an upbeat, indie-rock type thing and St Andrews’ very own Andrew Pearson and the Riflebirds who do lyrical Scottish-y folk, will support them. This is a Scottish music night, so for foreign students who don’t know much about Scottish music, this is a great introduction.
Do you have a preference for getting big bands like Meursault coming to St Andrews, or do you tend to prefer the smaller intimate gigs, like the musical showcases? Where do you find the more rewarding musical moments?
I would definitely say the smaller scale ones – house gigs, lock in sessions – are more rewarding personally, that tends to be what Music Is Love focuses on. Meursault and big gigs like that, we only put on occasionally. Last week, we did a gig in Venue 1’s Beer Bar, partitioned off so it was so intimate and small, but we’re always excited to do the bigger ones.
One of the most common complaints hurled around town is that there is almost a lack of a musical scene in St Andrews. Do you perceive a problem with the St Andrews scene as it is?
It’s funny, I did sort of feel like that in first year, but MIL do actually put on quite a lot and really, our aim this year is to cater to all musical tastes. We want to put on a reggae night as well soon, hopefully get someone like Mungo’s Hi-Fi to come play. We’re really trying to diversify our gigs and make the music scene more varied.
Redevelopment is upon us, like it or not. With the increased capacity size in Venue 1 and the potential for bigger acts to come to St Andrews, do you think this is to the detriment of Music Is Love, or do you see this as an expansion of what you could achieve?
Definitely an expansion. What MIL enjoy doing is collaborating and we like reaching out to other societies, and with the Union to help curate their choice of acts. It shouldn’t take away from our energy to put on smaller gigs – the two can live in harmony.