KNOWN for their funky grooves and pop hooks, The Passing Sages will unveil their debut EP later this month.

It has been a few years in the making for the six-piece, with anticipation steadily building since the release of the music video for Burnin' Up.

The four-track EP – also called Burnin' Up – centres around the infectious positivity and love that encapsulates the Fife band.

While the tracks were written over the course of the last three years, with recording first taking place a year ago, the band were keen to capture more than just the songs themselves.

Instead of individual performances being spliced together, The Passing Sages went for a full-band recording following a suggestion from the band's bass player "Mr Clyne".

Nic Holson, guitarist for the band, tells The Weekender: "There was just something missing or lacking but we couldn't put our finger on it. Mr Clyne suggested we work with Dominic Hardy from Gracenote Studios and just give the live recording idea a go so that we could see what the outcome was.

"After hearing the first rough mix of the recording we were blown away and realised that the thing we were missing from previous recordings was that energy that we have when we play live together.

"We were so happy with how much better it made Burnin' Up sound that we then started throwing around the idea of maybe this shouldn't just be a single release and we should actually go bigger with it, make it a full EP and do a music video."

Recognising that their plan was going to take a little more time and care, The Passing Sages recorded and released the track Destiny in January to give their following a little sample of what was to come.

Holson continues: "I think we pretty much recorded the bulk of the EP and Destiny over three or four sessions, crammed into a week or two. This maybe doesn't sound like that big of a deal…but everyone was still working their normal jobs and it wasn't the case that we just took two weeks off to record."

The music video plan began in earnest with a shoot scheduled for April. However, with the pandemic taking hold the band were forced – like so many others – to put their plans on hold.

They had their EP sitting ready and waiting, but the release would have to wait. Inevitably, the band began to tinker a little with the recordings and it wasn't long before a few re-recordings were afoot.

Some saxophone and clarinet parts which appear on the tracks Wonderful Person, Kindest Boy and Octave Higher had initially been programmed using MIDI (musical instrument digital interface). Yet, Holson, who dabbles in both instruments, was keen to go all out for the EP.

He adds: "Operation re-learn saxophone and clarinet was underway as well as building up my stamina and technique.

"I rearranged the parts that were originally written so that they would work better with the new instrumentation – something I discovered was because I had created all of the parts on my guitar, the actual physicality of playing these parts on sax and clarinet brought up some issues and challenges such as insane fingering jumps and very little gaps to breathe.

"Much to the delight of neighbours, and my very understanding girlfriend, I trapped myself in my music room for a couple of weeks, developed my technique, learnt the parts and then recorded them.

"Now, I am not saying, by any means, that I am a great saxophonist or clarinettist, but the final outcome is night and day compared to the original MIDI parts."

As lockdown eased, The Passing Sages were able to finish the EP and headed into Graceland Studios in Dunfermline for mixing.

But there was still some time to fine-tune the tracks with singer Holly Clark and drummer Sean Priestly making some last-minute alterations.

And while it is the first EP from the band, it is not likely to be the last.

Holson recalls: "It felt like a lifetime ago that we had originally recorded the tracks and naturally new vocal ideas and thoughts on arrangements presented themselves.

"Holly created these incredible Andrews Sisters type parts for Wonderful Person and Sean added amazing extra percussion parts to all the songs. So, it was almost as though we were able to record the tracks, walk away from them and then come back with a completely fresh attitude and really polish them.

"We are so happy to finally be at the end of this year-long process and we are very happy with what we have produced. We just hope that others enjoy it.

"Now, it's time to decide what to record next from our bank of 30-plus songs that we have written since the band started back in 2017."


Watch the video for The Passing Sages single Burnin' Up on YouTube.

The Burnin' Up EP will be released on Monday, November 30.