TSA’s Pick of the Month, June 2015: Sand and Sea

TSA’s ‘Pick of the Month’ for June will be published in their June issue this year.


A duo which formed over B.O.B.’s hit Magic has evolved into a three-part-harmony Scottish sensation just waiting to happen. A mere three years after their formation, Sand & Sea – composed of singer/songwriter Christopher Mitchell-lay, singer/ukulele player Scott Rodger and bass vocalist Dillon McPhelim – will reach the peak of their young career headlining the coveted West End Festival in Glasgow on Friday 5th of June.

The band formed during Mitchell-lay and Rodger’s time in school where the boys revealed they found a connection playing drums together. Stemming from a music department in South Lanarkshire, the boys had no intentions of taking their musical exploits further than the school building. But shortly after meeting, the duo decided to tackle acoustic guitar and ukulele respectively, uniting as an acoustic act with a particular focus on angelic harmonies.

“We played a hell of a lot of gigs,” Mitchell-lay remarks. “We began to scrape together what now might be called a fan base of friends and family who would come to our gigs.”

Prior to landing the headlining spot of the West End Festival, the duo played frequently in venues across Glasgow like the O2 ABC and the Garage on Sauchiehall Street. They continued to perform outside of their studies – Christopher is drawing to the end of an Audio Technology and Electronics degree at Glasgow Caledonian University – making little to no sustainable profit: a true labour of love for their art.

“As much as we were grateful for the fantastic support that we garnered, we wanted to reach a wider audience and get as many people interested in what we did with our music. This is beginning to happen!”

After performing as a duo for a long period of time, the band grew frustrated by limitations out with their control. Always noting the potential for a 3rd part harmony whilst playing – though, having little financial access to a suitable candidate – they struggled to bring their acoustic trio fantasy into fruition. Adorned with music talent at every angel of his university course, engaging with individuals along the entire spectrum of varied genre and musical influence, Mitchell-lay befriended vocalist McPhelim.

“It came to my attention he [McPhelim] had a thunderous bass voice, and I was also aware that he could play many, many instruments too. With this in mind, I approached Scott with the idea of bringing a third member to Sand & Sea who, thankfully, trusted my judgement.”

Two months of intense rehearsals for the festival season have now passed and the band are now at their peak in time for their headline slot. Planning to grace their audience with a mix of acoustic covers and original tunes, they are confident that their set list will have something for everyone – their loyal fans and new listeners alike.

They currently don’t have an EP but we are in negotiations with a local recording studio to rectify this. They intend to smash straight into some recording immediately after the festival, as well as introducing live covers on a YouTube channel shortly following.

“The West End Festival is a great platform for local acts to get a chance to show the area what they’re all about, though, I feel like it should get more attention in the local media than it currently does. This is also our first ever gig as a trio and I think that with Dillon, our secret weapon, we can make a pretty good impact.”

Tickets for Sand & Sea and support at the West End Festival in June are on sale now and shifting fast.

Follow the boys on Facebook for updates on gigs, events and recordings.108

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