Daring, dynamic and devastating – West Lothian’s Dictator aren’t here to mess about, at least when it comes to creating non-stop indie-pop anthems anyway. Stepping out of their shell with a substantial stomp in their stride, the four-piece – consisting of vocalist Micheal Campbell, guitarist Zach Tarimo Goodhur, bassist Joe Murty, and drummer Allan Ramsay – they refuse to be pigeonholed, as they emphatically strut through a sonic landscape of inventive indie licks, electrifying electronics, and perfectly prodigious pop grooves.
Forming as a group of musicians from similar circuits simply seeking solace in jam sessions, what first blossomed in a small studio room represented recreational creative release, before blooming into a band of boundary-bulldozers producing colossal sing-alongs for the masses.With inspiration drawn from fellow genre-defiers Gorrilaz, Glass Animals and Alt-J among others, Dictator’s musical boundaries know no limits – instead conveying their collectively charismatic personalities via the medium of originality and experimentation and channelled through a series of sumptuous synths, bone-shaking basslines, brash beats and playful-cum-tender lyricism. Make no mistake, everything you hear is intentional, dictating notes to their needs purposefully to deliver euphoric, upbeat choruses with just a dollop of heartbreak in between.
Such is their bold and audacious style, they’ve caught the ear of many, growing a loyal, loving fanbase on their journey, and gaining celebrity endorsement too, with A-list actor Robert Carlyle, bestselling author Ian Rankin, and former Radio 1 DJ Phil Taggart all showing some love for the boys.Since their formation, the heights continue to get more and more dizzying for the quartet – from supporting Scottish icons, The Fratelli’s, Glasvegas and The Reytons to bringing home accolades such as Best Rock/Alternative Band at the SAMA (Scottish Alternative Music Awards), The Weekender Magazine’s Song of the Year in both 2020 and 2021 and reaching the final four of BBC Introducing’s prestigious Scottish Act of the Year. Needless to say, Dictator are band with a big future.
Now, having signed to Edinburgh-based indie label Blackhall Records in 2021 and spent the best part of multiple lockdowns shut away at 7West Studios alongside producers Jamie Holmes (Gerry Cinnamon, The Lapelles and Declan Welsh & The Decadent West) and Johnny Madden (Gallus, Spyres, The Dunts) to record their latest set of bangers, the band gear up to release their dazzling debut EP Rubik’s Cube in September 2022, where they will truly stand tall to rule over the Scottish and UK music scene once and for all.
Rubik’s Cube’ is the brilliant new single from, West Lothian quartet, Dictator. Taken from their forthcoming debut EP, of the same name, to be released later this year via Blackhall Records.
The punchy lead single features playful lyrics that wonderfully reflect the wackiness of the song’s theme, depicting a nonsensical story about being at your best when with the person you love and the elation that springs from the joyfully awkward and spontaneous things you do when you’re in your groove. Reflected in the track’s bouncing and frivolous sound– spliced with samples of the Rubik’s Cube’s creator, Ernö Rubik – the title track is a delicious first taste of the band’s limit-free new direction, and like the song’s own theme, sees them break free from expectations to embrace the weirdest and most wonderful version of themselves.
When Dictator stepped into the studio to write and record their new EP, they desired to create a piece of art that represented something that they could call their own; something to be truly proud of. The result is a nine-track wonder of gliding, grooving basslines guided by snappy beats, euphoric horns, cracking keys, and a plethora of earworm choruses.
As a band that was founded on a love for collaboration and experimentation, Rubik’s Cube marks newfound levels of invention and spectacle, from the emphatic Pangolin – featuring stellar Ayrshire rapper Bemz – to the Alt-J-esque party piece, ‘Conquistador’. Creatively, the quartet has never been as expressive, innovative and fertile with newfangled ideas as they are here – embracing experimental and frankly novel new sounds that encapsulate a profoundly personal project that features the theme of family and friendship right at its heart.
Speaking about the EP, lead singer/songwriter and vocalist Campbell said:
“The key thing about Rubik’s Cube is that we wanted to capture elements of every band member’s life at the time of writing, like a frame of reference so that, no matter what happens, we could all have a chunk of this piece of work to cherish and be proud of.”
Nothing signifies this more than the band utilising intimate samples and aspects of each member’s family within the walls of its tracks – from an interlude of drummer Allan Ramsay’s children’s warm words for their dad on the heartfelt ‘Daddy’s Song’, to vocalist Micheal Campbell‘s parents performing backing vocals and brass duties on closer ‘Fin’, and even including the gentle heartbeat of guitarist Zach Tarimo Goodhur’s unborn son as an instrument on ‘River’.
On the inspiration for the EP, Campbell adds:
“Each of the songs means something personal to me individually, but they are based around real-life events that were happening at the time, like the absolute whirlwind of getting a record deal with Blackhall Records. I wanted to focus on what matters to us instead of being swept up inside it of all. Throughout the highs and lows, it’s our families and our lives outside of music that’s the key to everything working well, and this EP represents that in the best way possible.”
With personality and familial life proving crucial to the bedrock of the EP, this collection of songs reflects a notion of gratefulness, optimism and excitement for their collective and individual futures that’s glossed in a glorious sunny soundscape. Bursting with life and a euphoric sense of gratitude and originality, Rubik’s Cube signifies a bold, brave direction for a band that defies convention and embraces candid expression with a generous dose of zestfulness.
Listen to Rubik’s Cube HERE NOW
UPCOMING LIVE DATES
26/05/22 – Fort William, The Railway Club (headline)
27/05/22 – Inverness, Mad Hatters (headline)
28/05/22 – Thurso, Mr C’s (headline)
29/07/22 – Aberdeen, The Tunnels (supporting Skylights)
03/09/22 – Falkirk, Vibration Festival
08/09/22 – Glasgow, St Luke’s (headline)
1. Le Commencement
2. Pangolin (ft. Bemz)
6. Rubik’s Cube
7. Lullaby 756
8. Daddy’s Song
The Songbird HQ