Premiere & Interview with Dictator & Volka for Trash Panda

By Paola Mancini, November 2020

We are thrilled to be premiering the release of a Double A Side of collaborations from West Lothian Indie rock band, Dictator and Alternative rock band, Volka when they cover each others recent singles in their own individual style to raise funds for a local mental health enterprise , Trash Panda.

Have a listen to the Charity Double A release and our interview with the bands below now…

First of all I want to express how amazing an idea I think this is and how much it really has brought awareness to the arts industry in particular. Mental health is something that a lot of people have been struggling even more so these days through this global pandemic and it’s amazing to see such support and such encouraging engagement to try keep hopes high!

How do you feel about the lack of support for for the arts industry through this pandemic?

Zach: There has been an embarrassing lack of support for a lot of industries but the way Scotland has handled it is shameful. At least in other parts of the country there have been efforts to keep the industry going in some capacity. It feels like Scotland has thrown the arts industry, particularly at grass roots level, to the wolves. Shout out Luke La Volpe and everyone at MVT who have been doing everything they can to save indie venues btw, sad fact is the live industry is going to have a very different landscape once we come out of all this.

Would you be looking at releasing any more A-Side covers to raise awareness at the lack of support for the arts industry and how that will be having a negative impact mentally to this area?

Zach: definitely. Not strictly just for the benefit of the arts industry but anyone really who is struggling. I’ve always had the mindset that if you are in the position to help someone, you help someone. I look at groups like Colonel Mustard and love how they are all about helping their local communities and have similar ambitions for us.

How did you manage to work together through the restrictions of lockdown? Has it been hard to work as two separate bands but together?

Zach: it’s actually been a blast and so much fun! It’s all been done remotely via zoom calls and group chats and I’ve loved every minute of it, I’ll miss this when it’s over.


Calum: We both rewrote and recorded these tracks entirely themselves supporting each other along the way with lyrics and vibes – its been a dream to work together.


Can you explain to the readers in a nutshell a little about the Trash Panda project, if they haven’t already heard?


TP: Trash Panda CIC is a Social Enterprise based in Scotland. Combining the arts and mental health support. Trash Panda is here to support the arts and promote creativity and for those in our community who just need someone to listen.


How has Trash Panda been working since setting up?


TP: At the moment we have been busy hosting live streams with loads of very talented local musicians and artists. We are on the hunt for a building to set up permanent residence in where we can have our creative hub, mental health & wellbeing centre. As you can imagine with the current state of play with the whole pandemic it’s not an easy task. Also all precedes from our merch sales go directly towards helping us set up projects for mental heath and wellbeing the first of which is going to be launching very soon.


Have you had a lot of support from other bands in the West Lothian?


Zach: Aye! The West Lothian scene is amazing atm and really supportive, I think that’s they key to a lot of the success coming out of here recently. Trash Panda in particular are heavily involved within the scene though so I think everyone wants to see it get off the ground.


How would you encourage people reading this to contribute to Trash Panda?


Calum: You can buy the tracks via our Bandcamp page with all money going to help set up Trash Panda’s services. Alternatively, you can go straight to Trash Panda and buy some of their sweet merch which they are selling to get up and running!


TP: It’s as easy as following and sharing our social media Facebook and Instagram, hitting up our website http://www.trashpandahq.com/merch and buying some amazingly cool merch including t-shirts and hoodies. If you would like to get involved directly just drop us an dm or email via our website.


In what other creative ways are you staying active at the moment that could help with mental health also?


Zach: just being able to write music always helps mentally, we’re lucky to be able to record remotely in our bedrooms these days. Not being able to jam and rehearse has been difficult though, I miss my mates ! Michaels been working on a collab song with our followers on Instagram. I think little things like that can help with lack of human contact and ease the loneliness.


What made you come up with the idea of teaming up and releasing two covers?


Calum: We were trying to think of something different to do during lockdown after we’d done the obligatory stripped back version of one of our songs. We’ve always supported one another so we thought it would be fun to hear what each other’s interpretations sounded like given that we have different styles. What started as an idea to pass the time then grew into a full blown release!


Can we expect more of these covers?


Calum: Zach and I were keen to call this release ‘DicVol #1’ but that idea was left on the cutting room floor, much to mine and Zach’s dismay! But yeah, you can take it that we will definitely be open to revisiting this again in the future given how much fun it has been working together.


And lastly, let’s leave our readers on a positive note – what’s the first thing you are looking to do when lockdown is lifted and the world is back to “safe” and somewhat “normal”?


Zach: Getting in and amongst a heavy sweaty mosh pit.


Calum: Being at a live gig with the music blasting my already knackered eardrums again

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