IT’S not easy for a band to release six singles in their first 18 months of existence. Sure enough, many would struggle to simply write as many in that timeframe.

Still, it is a feat which has become somewhat of a trademark for Falkirk trio Primes. Since they put themselves together in early 2018, they have delivered a new track – recorded, mixed and promoted – every three months.

That kind of momentum is rare for self-financing bands and has provided the group with a steady platform to experiment and perfect their sound. With each cycle of write-record-release, they sharpen and refine. Ostensibly, it won’t be long until the three-piece have written, recorded and released their debut album.

The stepping stones are laid out in front of them: An EP by the end of 2020 with work on the full-length release underway as they head into 2021. It’s a measured approach which has paid off thus far. Slow, steady and considered. Mature.

A humble trio, they sip soft drinks in a Stirling pub happily tracking their evolution over the last year and a half. With quiet optimism, they look forward to the hurdles and milestones on the horizon. It is the eve of their first mini-tour down south with three dates scheduled for Manchester, Liverpool and Newcastle. None of them can quite believe the progress they have made.

“It’s been a whirlwind,” reflects guitarist Sarah Monteith-Skelton. “As soon as we started as a band, we sat down and talked about what we wanted to achieve. And we’ve exceeded all our own expectations. Our aim was to get out as many songs as we could in the first year or so, and we have just followed on from that, really. 

“Now, the bigger picture is what do we want to achieve now? Now we are concentrating on the middle of next year, the first release of 2020 is already recorded, and so we don’t need to worry about our next single.”

Alloa and Hillfoots Advertiser:

Singer and bass player Ollie Kitchen adds: “I never thought, a year and a half ago, that we would be doing the things we are doing now. When myself and Sarah first started jamming, I really didn’t think it would go anywhere. We started jamming together and it sounded great – and songs started forming.

“It’s been a crazy ride…At the moment we are in a place where we can think about taking those next big steps. And it’s nice to sit down and set realistic goals.”

Primes’ first release was the brooding anthem Breathe, a track with plenty heart and an effortless free-flowing hook. In no time at all, the band were offered the chance to headline a Saturday evening at King Tut’s in Glasgow. It was a show that was self-affirming and served all the ammunition needed to fire them up for the next 18 months.

“Having that first gig at King Tut’s,” drummer Reece Ryan looks back. “It let everyone know that we could handle that level straight away. We didn’t go there and it was a flop. It was a brilliant gig and everyone was dancing.”

Breathe was closely followed up by Together Forever, Haunted and Bodies by the end of the year. They kicked off 2019 with the quasi-ballad Don’t Forget Your Memories with the popular Nine Lives helping to push the band’s UK-wide profile. 

We are all on the same page; we all know what we want; we all have the same vision. On top of all that, we all work really hard for each other. We are at the best moment of ourselves as a band right now.”

For all their recent exploits, the trio openly admit they are still learning on the job. Whether they are becoming closer as musicians and tailoring their sound for new audiences, or looking at ways to push the band offstage, there is still a lot to get a grip on. Self-promotion is something which clearly takes a concerted effort, but it’s a challenge they are relishing.

“A lot of success comes from our persistence,” Monteith-Skelton says, “We are always ‘chapping on doors’ and asking to play shows. If we don’t get on, we’ll ask why and if there is anything we could do differently to be considered. It’s important to build up relationships with people, you need to get out there and meet as many different people as possible. It’s tough, but we’re obsessed with it. 

“There are so many elements to take into consideration. From setting up your stage to a dress code. The music itself is only a tiny part of it because the rest is so massive.”

She adds: “I know there are people in bands out there with a lot of pressure on them. If you are not enjoying yourself, what’s the point in being creative. It’s supposed to be about fulfilment. The day it stops being fun, it becomes like any other job.”

Up next for Primes is Dreamer and I, which the band feel is their most “poppy” effort to date. And if their three-month single release schedule seemed hectic, this track was written and recorded in the space of a week or so. 

They seem to have struck a rhythm in their process and are careful not to overdo it when recording. The chief concern here is an overriding commitment to reproducing their tracks before a live audience.

“It’s fundamental for us,” Kitchen adds. “We don’t want to over-produce a song when we are in recording so that we can get as close to that as possible when playing live. 

“We never set out in any particular way, but we are definitely starting to find our sound. It’s all starting to form into Primes, and what Primes should sound like. We know when we are jamming a song if it’s for us.”

Still their apparent symbiosis is something which elicits prideful exchanges among the three, as Kitchen continues: “We are all on the same page; we all know what we want; we all have the same vision. On top of all that, we all work really hard for each other. We are at the best moment of ourselves as a band right now.”

Alloa and Hillfoots Advertiser:

Dreamer and I marks not only their seventh release but it is perhaps a turning point for the band in other ways. Their last single, Nine Lives, performed the best according to the digital metrics and its success was formative, to say the least. It was also designed to fill deficits in the band’s setlist, with the trio keen to add more energy to their shows.

Kitchen explains: “It’s the most pop-Indy and upbeat song we’ve recorded before. We do follow the same style; it’s still very anthemic with alternative rock elements, but with a bit more of a pop feel. We know straight away if a song is going to be our next single or EP. For Dreamer and I, it was obvious. It all came together in about an hour and we recorded it that weekend.”

Primes will follow up on their next single with The Moment, set for release in early 2020. Again, they follow the same style as before.

Monteith-Skelton adds: “Dreamer and I is slightly brighter than Nine Lives, but The Moment is brighter still. Our live set is going to flow better with these new songs. Our shows were always quite head-boppy and the new material should add a little more energy.”

Kitchen continues: “We release a lot of songs with melodic verses and heavier choruses. This time we wanted something with a bit more energy. We recorded Nine Lives which is a bit more upbeat and catchy, and we wanted to keep that going so we wrote Dreamer and I. 

“We’ve kept that going now with The Moment which is probably our most upbeat track, but maybe some elements of dance in there.”

Their two upcoming releases may well be a slight departure in style from their previous efforts, but it’s hard to see just where Primes will go from there. It is anticipated that any EP or album will contain a range of songs, not just singles to enjoy in isolation. It’s clear that the idea of pushing their own boundaries is a tantalising prospect for the band.

“We’ve done singles now,” Kitchen says. “It’ll be eight by the time our first release in 2020 is out. The next big thing will be putting together an EP – around four tracks or so and that will be, hopefully, later next year. That’s the next logical step for us and maybe then in 2021 we can think about putting out an album. The songs we have put out before have all been singles in their own right. But if we look at doing an EP then we can be a little more relaxed about our style and try some new things.”

They are relentless. The moment one song is recorded marks a shift in focus to the follow-up. Write. Record. Release. That is not to say the band have been rushing their creations – it could be argued that Dreamer and I and The Moment have been 18 months in the making.

What is certain is that Primes are in the midst of a purple patch – a run of form that many bands simply never experience. They may not come out the other side as the same band, but it will be worth a listen.

“One thing we have been since we started is consistent,” says Kitchen. “The single release…the gigs…we’ve not let up; there’s not been a dry period for us. And if people say one thing about us it’s that we are always working and bringing out new songs.”

“That’s always been our mentality,” Monteith-Skelton adds.” I have been listening to Dreamer and I for the last few months and The Moment for a month. Already I am thinking: ‘Right, what’s next?’”