THE Snuts became the first Scottish band in 14 years to achieve a UK number one when their debut album W.L. reached the top of the charts in April, an overnight success ten years in the making.

Singer Jack Cochrane, guitarist Jo McGillveray, bassist Callum Wilson and drummer Jordan Mackay started making music together at school in their West Lothian home of Whitburn before graduating through the touring circuit, propelling themselves towards a record deal.

The process of securing their number one sounds like a heroic Scottish football match with a last-minute winner. Jack says: “Every day you get the sales numbers in the morning. We started off not wanting to know but it’s too exciting to ignore.

"All week we’re in the lead and that was the worst thing, knowing that Demi Lovato’s release would come in and crush us on the last day. The dream was over on Thursday. Then, somehow, on the Friday afternoon, we got the phone call saying we had done it by, like, 200 sales.

“It reminds me of Leon Jackson winning The X Factor. That’s how it felt. But we put the work in on this record and it was always our intention to be battling for that top spot.”

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The album is a collection of songs that represent the story of the band so far, “from being mates at school at 13, playing music, getting signed and flown to the US, being called in and writing songs there. Four lost boys in America”.

There’s a range of styles and genres across the record. The constant strand is a directness that has made a connection with listeners.

Jack admits the process of making the album was challenging “Everybody tells you it can be a nightmare and it truly is,” he says. “It’s heartbreaking, especially those American sessions. Feeling out of your depth with imposter syndrome setting in. But it helped us develop as a band. It put us in a position where we could achieve our dream.”

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As The Snuts took their formative steps towards performing, Jack says pubs in West Lothian were more likely to put “karaoke or a Tom Jones impersonator” on at weekends than give the young band a stage. So they started booking their own gigs.

“I remember we played the Croftmalloch Inn in Whitburn, I think 300 people were allowed in and about double that turned up. That was the first time people were being turned away from one of our shows.”

Whitburn is home but the band’s trajectory was split between Glasgow and Edinburgh. Those two cities are where Jack feels the band grew up through music.

“We were always travelling through when we were young, playing shows when we were underage and getting chucked out of venues after our set,” he recalls.

Their first real headline show was at King Tut’s and they set out to establish their fan base in Glasgow. “I think we did the rounds, going up to Aberdeen, up to Dundee, across to Fife and stuff like that. There’s some hotspots where people are really choking for live music. But Glasgow was the important one for us, the culture of live music there.”

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Having gone from trying to displace a queue of tribute act performers in the local pub to having airplay on international radio stations, does Jack thinks he’s part of a wider set of Scottish artists showing how to make breakthroughs?

“I think it’s a domino effect in Scotland,” he says. “There has always been success from Scottish artists but it’s really been happening in the past couple of years. I think people need to be able to see people like that in front of them reaching those heights. That convinces them to put the work in themselves. That was certainly the case for us. Seeing the success of Scottish acts, we knew there was something to strive for.”

The last group from Scotland to have a number one debut album before The Snuts was The View and there’s a nice synchronicity in the fact they were the first band Jack really remembers hearing sing with a Scottish accent.

“When we were growing up, we’d go and see The View everywhere we could,” says Jack. “Travelling anywhere to see them. Generally just playing their songs on repeat on our guitars. I think we played them that much it forced us to start writing our own.”

Talking about the tracks on W.L. it becomes clear the album reaches right back to the start for the band. Asked what song Jack considers his declaration of intent, he says: “I think the opener Top Deck. It’s just an acoustic track, vocal and cello, but that was a song I wrote when I was 15, so 10 years ago. I finished it a week before the record went to get pressed.

“That’s why it’s the first song on the album, because I think it sums up who we are and what we want to say, and what things culturally are important to us, and what we want to speak about. Sometimes things probably get lost in translation in songs. I think people understand what I was trying to do with that one.”

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He highlights Coffee and Cigarettes, Don’t Forget It Punk and Glasgow as the songs that show off what you might expect from a Snuts gig.

The latter anthem with its chorus “I love the way you say Glasgow” was recently rereleased with a video filmed in the city.

“That song was one of the first demos we ever put out years and years ago. It made it onto the record because it was so important to people who had supported us. We just wanted to pay homage to a city that’s done so much for us as a band and been so accepting of us. The video was a nice way to timestamp that song and put it in the heart of Glasgow.”

Back talking about performing in front of a crowd – something that still feels like an elusive concept to Jack – he says he always thought the band’s live career was miles ahead of what happened in the studio, and it was hearing songs together on stage that let the band figure out what they were going to be.

Now that The Snuts have picked up new fans through the album, they want to make an impression in the next set of shows: “It’s always been our ambition to keep stepping it up a notch,” he says.

After this conversation Jack is straight back into the studio to continue writing and see what comes next. There’s no time for resting on laurels.

The Snuts are four pals from school now in their mid-20s and hot-housed together on the relentless treadmill of the modern music business. How do you negotiate your way through that on a personal level?

Jack says: “I think the secret is just knowing which buttons not to press. Everybody’s got a couple that you just don’t go near. A lot of bands actually aren’t friends and that’s where the division is caused.

"First and foremost, we are friends. And there’s a wider group of friends who are almost in the band as well, they’re so close to it. It’s what we grew up on.”

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This interview appeared in the Luxury Scotland summer edition of Best of Scotland magazine.