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AMWWF . . . the band with no plan

Band democracy is a rare thing.

Somewhere down the line, no matter how honourable the original intentions, there can be a power struggle that causes cracks to form.

When a band name includes the surname of every member, that democratic spirit would seem to be alive and well. So, is Anderson McGinty Webster Ward and Fisher a model for that perfect group dynamic?

"We're getting better," says Billy Fisher. "Decisions are difficult in any band. With us it always comes down to the fact that we all care so much. It might start off with five opinions, but it always comes down to what is best for each individual song."

There are no distinct roles for the five, who came together in 2011 as friends who had been in different bands, had toured together, enjoyed ad hoc sessions, and seemed to be moving in the same area musically.

" We never really started with a plan," says Stevie Anderson, "and in a way it's become more than we thought it would. It's only recently that we've started to really think about the future. There's more of a plan now, with an EP release in January and recording another album in March."

The band's live reputation has galvanised sales of the debut and eponymous album, released in early 2012 and now on its third pressing. It's on their own label, something that has formed a pretty successful cottage industry, which also includes eclectic merchandise such as AMWWF jute bags - a nod to their home city of Dundee.

Although the EP won't be released until January 20, those attending the current tour will have a chance to get it early. It's called the AMWWF EP. "Names are not our strong point," admits manager Grant Dickson.

It's a way of working that suits the looser, collective style, and as Dickson points out, on a tour supporting Kassidy the headliners took home £1 for every CD sold at the venues, but AMWWF took home £9.

The absence of major label pressure to produce a follow-up has given them time to try out new techniques and songwriting styles, all the while building a reputation through live appearances at festivals; including the rare ability to fill a T in the Park tent for the opening slot on a Sunday; increasingly high-profile radio sessions such as Bob Harris on Radio 2 and a collaboration with Dougie Maclean on a new version of Caledonia.

"Until now, whoever has written the song has sung it," says Dave Webster, voice of the current single Pigeon Song, but I decided to write a song for Billy to sing on this EP. Robs (Ward) arranged it, so it's probably one of the most collaborative things we've done so far."

The live set-up is equally fluid, with changing lead singers, and each member having the ability to pick up pretty much any instrument on stage, which includes double bass, banjo, mandolin, bouzouki and harmonium.

It also allows them time to talk part in other projects, including Dave Webster lending his vocals to the album Rope and Vine, by Dundee songwriter Stephen Knight.

They are not folkies; the material is more eclectic than that, but have been embraced by that world. With experience of the industry, they are accepting of the pigeonholing that inevitably occurs, particularly on radio.

"People can really only pigeonhole as far as their own knowledge allows them to," says Webster. "We get the Mumford comparisons, because it's easy I suppose. If it highlights bands like us, then how can we complain?"

For the EP they were determined to get out of the comfort zone and "working with producer John Wood at Gorbals Sound certainly did that for us," says Billy Fisher.

There are ambitions to grow, but not to be swept up by a major. "There are obviously opportunities that come easier when signed to a major label," says Gavin McGinty, "but it really depends on the kind of opportunities you're looking for."

Anderson McGinty Webster Ward and Fisher play Glasgow CCA on Friday. The single Pigeon Song, is available on iTunes and the AMWWF EP will be released on January 20.

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