INTERVIEW: Shambolics’ Darren Forbes on their brand new debut record

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INTERVIEW: Shambolics’ Darren Forbes on their brand new debut record

Since the formation of this website, to be honest, as long as I’ve been covering music in Boston, something we’ve always prided ourselves on is searching out the next big thing. And for me, one of those bands is Glasgow’s Shambolics. The band just released their long-anticipated debut album, “Dreams, Schemes & Young Teams,” and upon first listening to the album, we were hooked. It’s beyond catchy. The lyrical game is on point, and we can predict that it will only go up from here! I took the chance to chat with one of the two frontmen, Darren Forbes, recently, where he brought me into the writing process of the record for the band, their past few years, and the hopes of what’s to come!

New England Sounds: So maybe to get right into it, you’re only two days out from the release of the debut album. The debut album is probably a long time coming for you. You have some dates kind of right away. Maybe these last-minute preparations, how have they been going, with this record about to come out? 

Darren Forbes: It’s been class! It’s been very, very busy though. So we just got so much stuff going on at the moment. And it’s kind of just been the two of us. It’s been an everchanging lineup, but it’s two songwriters and singers. The other guy, Lewis (McDonald), has got another job. So I’ve had to do a lot, the interviews, all the social media stuff and stuff like that. It’s been hectic, but it’s been great. It’s been wonderful. We’ll feel the benefits when the album eventually comes out. 

NES: And I was going to ask later about the process, but it’s two songwriters in the band, you kind of work together. You released many singles in the past few years but besides a few, this album seems to be songs kids haven’t heard before. When it came to the writing for this record, was it different from the past, or do you guys kind of have a steady system for the writing process when it comes to it? 

DF: It was a wee bit different. We were more under pressure to get songs done. On the build-up to the album, our manager was hassling us, saying we had to get songs done and stuff. Because we didn’t have a lot of them when we went into recording, but some of the songs were old songs that were brought back, and there was the  process of sort of trying to re-work and re-do them. So yeah, some are old songs, some are new, and some were written during the recording process. And to me, I think the best ones on the album are the ones we wrote during the recording process. Because they just came out of nowhere and ended up being the best songs. I’m really happy with them ones.

NES: Are there songs on this record that you’re particularly proud of or think will go off really well? I’m sure you’re proud of all of them, but songs that you think will go off well in the live setting?

DF: Yeah, there are a few that we’ve played live off the record already that have been going off. If You Want It and Dreams, Schemes, and Young Teams are the two that I feel went off really well. But I feel like Influencer, the first track on the record. People haven’t heard that yet, so I reckon that one will be really good when we play it live. Also, Coming for You,  that’s quite a good, lively song as well. I think the new ones are going to be mental. 

NES: Then you talked about how you think the best ones, to you, are the ones that came together in the studio. Is that something new you haven’t done before, writing songs fresh in the studio?

DF: Yeah, that was totally new to us. We hadn’t done anything like that before. And I think that came on naturally because they were more frantic than the songs we had done before we went into the studio. There was more pressure on us. Our manager was messaging us, saying, “Have you got more songs?” We had written songs before getting into the studio, but they just weren’t good enough. So I think because we just had a laugh and wrote songs in recording, I think just naturally they were the best ones. I think that’s the process we’ll do from now on, to be honest. 

NES: Then I wanted to ask, just from listening to the album and listening to some lyrics, I know that the album title comes from the song, “Dreams, Schemes & Young Teams.” Was that one of the earlier songs? How did you draw out that name for this album? It’s a big decision for your debut. 

DF: Just by the name of Shambolics, we had total shambles, everything is always unorganized. We didn’t have a title track for the album, but we did have that song, Dreams, Schemes, and Young Teams.  And we kind of went through a period, I think it was just after lockdown, where we didn’t have a label. Because we were signed with Alan McGee, he had Creation Records, but we were signed with him, and he had a small stepping-stone label. He ended up closing that label down pretty much when the lockdown happened. So we were back to having no label, and we had that song, Dreams, Schemes, and Young Teams,  and we released it. And it went well. It kind of kept us afloat, but it was such a good song that never had the good lease of life that we wanted it to have. Because we never released it properly, you know what I mean. We just put it on Spotify; there was no promotion behind it. So when we were thinking about an album title, I always felt that song title was a great album title as well. So that was pretty much my way of getting that song onto the album. Because the label didn’t want us to put many songs we had released before on it. So I was like, “Look, we need an album title name.” That’s catchy, that’s a great title name, but we need this song on it as well—just my way of sneakily getting that song on the album (laughs). 

NES: That’s how you fought your way in. Then, we’re in 2024, at least here in the States. It’s now the second presidential election seen since the world shut down, since live music was originally shut down. As a band about five years in, you had only been a band for about a year before everything happened. There were challenges, but maybe on that experience of being one year into a band, building up, and losing that stepping stone label, how has that experience been? How does it feel to finally have that album, considering the journey and the hard years? 

DF: It feels amazing. We’ve had a lot of laughs, but a lot of bad things have happened as well. Obviously, COVID wasn’t a good thing for everybody, but we had just signed to McGee’s label, and that felt like, obviously, his name is big, and we were getting a lot of press. And everything was going well. We started selling out pretty big gigs in Glasgow. And I think, like right before the UK lockdown, we were one of the last gigs to go ahead in Glasgow. It was a big sold-out six hundred cap gig and was amazing. And it was like, this is it, we’re about to take off, we’ve got Alan McGee by our side, and everything just came crashing down again. So it was really tough times. And then, after that, we had a lot of line-up changes and stuff. We call it the curse of the name Shambolics; it’s just been a tough time and a hard road. But we got there in the end. The album’s coming out on Friday. It’s an exciting bit. 

NES: Then I know you play a show on album release day. Your run of Scottish shows starts on Friday. You’re going to the UK in April, you’re playing a big festival. How do you feel about going into these shows? Things are picking up. Things are looking bright. How are you feeling? 

DF: Definitely. The show we have this Saturday is at a venue in our homeland, Faith in Scotland. That was the first venue that we ever played. So it’s going to be great to go back there and play. The show that we have on Friday is just like an acoustic album signing sort of thing. So this one on Saturday will be the first proper show that we’ll play once the album comes out. And it’s a full circle moment because it’s the venue where we played our first-ever gig in. It’s a good little venue that sold quickly so that it will be amazing. I can’t wait to see people go off for the new songs. There are so many new songs for them to hear. 

NES: Then we know what you’re doing these next few months. But this album will be so new, maybe focuses or goals for yourself, just the band, kind of in these next few months? 

DF: Just touring hard. We’ve got that UK tour that we just announced, and it’s looking like that’s going to sell out pretty soon. But it’s not too many dates; I think it’s only six or so. If you include the Scottish ones, it’s like nine dates. So I think by after festival season, I think we’re really going to tour hard. Go to the smaller cities and stuff in the UK, and just really go hard with it. As long as the band grows, especially in the home country with Scotland, then England, and stuff if it grows, then I’m happy. Because if people see that it blows up here, it will blow up everywhere, do you know what I mean? Hopefully, we’ll get over to your place one day in America. It’s a hard, hard grind when you go to America because it’s so vast. It’s so big, it’s a lot of driving, a lot of touring and stuff. Hopefully, I’d love to get over there one day. 


The debut album from Glasgow’s Shambolics, “Dreams, Schemes, and Young Teams,” can be scooped here!

Upcoming dates for the band:


22nd – Glasgow, McChuills (SOLD OUT)


11th – Glasgow, SWG3 (special guests to Cast)


11th – Manchester, Lion’s Den

12th – Sheffield, Sidney & Matilda (basement)

13th – Liverpool, Future Yard

18th – Leeds, Lending Room

19th – London, Two Palms

20th – Newcastle, Xerox


About Author


Colleen has been writing about music since 2009. Interviewing bands since the glory days of Warped and has continued to do so for now over fourteen years. As well as doing freelance for other publications, the love for everything rock continues today.