“IT seems such a long time ago,” says Pete Deane, reflecting on his previous flirts with musical success alongside former BBC Fame Academy star Ainslie Henderson.
It is more than ten years since the Denholm pair were part of indie group Suburbia, who almost made it.
Now, the school friends have combined once more on the the second album by Pete’s band, the Last September, titled As the Crow Flies.
Speaking to TheSouthern, Pete, 31, recalled: “Ainslie was our singer in Suburbia which we formed after we left school.
“We had a relative amount of success and played in the US as well as being signed to a small label across there. It came to a knife edge moment where we could have gone big but didn’t [the label went bust] and then split up.
“Ainslie then moved to London and the whole Fame Academy thing happened.
“But we have always been best pals and he was hanging about when I was trying to write Birdy for the latest album. He help with the lyrics so when it came to recording it, I ask him to do some backing vocals.”
Henderson, who enjoyed a top five single after Fame Academy, now studies animation. Pete is back into music with his Edinburgh group, although there is a still a strong Borders connection in the Last September through Galashiels’ Jos Collins (guitar) and Dave Bishop of Hawick (bass).
However, it has been a long and complicated path towards their latest release for Pete and Co.
Having started the band in 2002 and produced a well received debut record, Vagrant Song, with lead single Streetlite featuring on BBC Radio 2’s playlist, they split in 2006.
“I got writers block and felt I couldn’t write anything good enough,” said Pete, recently graduated from Napier University. “We want to make new and exciting music but felt we couldn’t so ended it. There was no punch up, honest!”
Re-formed in 2010, the quintet – completed by Calum MacLeod and Rich Beeby – have been “finding their feet again” this year before a busier 2012 of gigs in Glasgow and Edinburgh.
Pete said: “The album came about as I had to produce a batch of written works for my music degree.
“It seemed the right thing to then make it into a album for commercial release.
“It has gone down well. We have had quite a lot of music blogs giving us hype and we got a four-star rating in the List magazine which we were chuffed with.”
Stand-out tracks on As The Crow Flies include Tough Love, likely to be the group’s next single, which pulled Pete out of his songwriting comfort zone.
“I tend to write personal songs about such things as relationships but Tough Love is an angry song about bigotry,” Pete said.
“I am not a Rangers or Celtic fan but I went along to an Old Firm game and saw parents bringing along their eight-year-old kids and shouting and swearing in front of them. That just seemed wrong to me.”
Pete hopes As the Crow Flies, released by the band, can generate enough sales and publicity to attract a record label to support them to tour Europe.
The Last September make an acoustic appearance at Hawick’s Beanscene tonight.
However, the frontman is unsure whether the group will be returning to the Borders any time in the next year due to the region’s lack of facilities.
He said: “We would love to but there doesn’t seem to be venues out there for bands to play in.
“Yes, there are pubs where bands can perform if they bring their own equipment but there doesn’t seem to be anywhere for a band from outwith the area to just turn up and play.
“Morrissey managed it at Hawick Town Hall but I think we would struggle to fill that at the moment.”
The Last September’s free gig in Beanscene starts at 8pm. As the Crow Flies is available from Spences in Hawick, iTunes or via www.thelastseptember.co.uk