Find yourself on a remote island in the Scottish Hebrides and you’ll find the deep roots of a band called astrid. It started in 1990 when an 11-year-old boy called Willie Campbell met a 10-year-old boy called Charlie Clark and they bonded over a shared fanaticism of comic books, movies and music. Soon after, the pair began to experiment with playing various instruments in barns, garages and sheds throughout the island their only audience the flora, fauna and possibly livestock of the Isle of Lewis.
Four years later Willie moved to Glasgow and Charlie started playing cover songs on the local bar circuit with school chum and bassist Gareth Russell this duos audience had grown to include people.
Following Willie’s lead in 1996, Charlie and Gareth moved to Glasgow and formed astrid with drummer Gary Thom. A mutual love of 60’s pop, psychedelia and tight harmonies brought Willie into astrid and their lineup and sound were finally realized.
In the beginning the boys of astrid spent their days writing songs and working flower stalls. At night they donned their finest charity shop threads to play astrid’s complete catalogue of seven songs at King Tuts Wah Wah Hut, The 13th Note and Nice & Sleazy’s. Stop by the Halt Bar on Woodlands Rd. any Saturday afternoon and the boys of astrid could likely be found playing the open stage or spending their giros at the bar, even more likely, doing both. It was here Stevie Jackson from Belle & Sebastian heard astrid and asked the boys along for the first UK Belle & Sebastian tour. astrid accepted; their audience was quickly becoming their fans.
It was on this tour after a show at The Union Chapel in London that the boys of astrid met managers and founders of Fantastic Plastic Records, Darrin and Julie Robson. astrid signed to Fantastic Plastic in 1998 and all was right with the world.
Produced by Scottish Indie legend Edwyn Collins, astrid’s debut album, ‘Strange Weather Lately’ would go on to sell 10,000 copies and solidify astrid as 1999’s darlings of radio as they garnered support from the likes of John Peel, Steve Lamaq and Mark and Lard. The aforementioned setting in motion tours and shows in 2000 with acts from The Go-Betweens, Ben Lee and Sean Lennon to Lou Barlow, The Pernice Brothers and fellow indie circuit players, Snow Patrol.
In 2001 Snow Patrol frontman Gary Lightbody asked astrid (with then drummer Neil Payne) to join and ultimately become the core band for his Scottish indie supergroup, The Reindeer Section. Among others, the ambitious project included members of Arab Strap, Mogwai, Teenage Fanclub, The Vaselines and Idlewild. Spanning a three year period, The Section went on to release two albums and toured frequently, including a rather memorable trip to Japan for Summer Sonic 2003.
astrid released nine singles, three albums and three EPs before disbanding in 2004.
Willie and Charlie remained friends throughout the years. They still shared a fanaticism of comic books, movies and music and never lost their mutual love of 60’s pop, psychedelia and tight harmonies, but they stopped making music together. Willie made his home and family in Lewis while Charlie did the same in Los Angeles.
July 2015, Willie Campbell and Charlie Clark met on the Isle of Lewis and took a stroll along the beach in Gress, the two men fell into a chat about the idea of writing a few songs together. Four months later the pair found themselves in a studio in Laurel Canyon, Los Angeles recording the fourth astrid album ‘Fall, Stand, Dance’.
Fueled with the same buoyant energy that made astrid such an endearing live band, ‘Fall, Stand, Dance’ radiates the familiar pop sensibilities, irresistible melodies and soulful harmonies of astrid’s early days infused with a more mature and robust songwriting style; their audience, stronger than ever.
‘Fall, Stand, Dance’ will be released Spring 2017.