With album titles such as Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance and Push Barman to Open Old Wounds, it's tempting to call Scottish indie mainstay Belle and Sebastian, well, weird. Lead guitarist and sometime singer Stevie Jackson says as much himself.
"We're just not for everyone, to be honest. Not everyone likes us," Jackson saidduring a recent Skype interview from the United Kingdom. "But plenty of people do."
Belle and Sebastian has released 11 albums in the almost 20 years the band has been together. The music, which gracefully straddles pop, folk and rock, has attracted some critical notice over the years. The group was last in Dallas in 2006, for a Granada Theater performance. Jackson distinctly remembers the show, though it was nearly a decade ago.
"I enjoyed it very much, actually. It was great. It kind of sticks out in my head, you know," he says. "I remember just because it was the one and only time we were in Dallas. Texas is a good place to play. We always have a good time."
Ahead of Belle and Sebastian's performance at the Aug. 29 KXT Summer Cut 2015 music festival, Jackson spoke about his musical influences, favorite Belle and Sebastian songs and what Dallas tourist sights he'll take in. Here's an edited version of the conversation.
Belle and Sebastian definitely has a unique style. What are your biggest musical influences?
I don't know. I don't even think about them anymore because I've been around forever. I was thinking about Elvis this morning, actually. Late '60s Elvis, that was on my mind.
I'm of an age that there's just a million of them. I could say Neil Young, but that was more when I was 18. It just becomes part of your DNA, or something. Everything I've ever heard and liked is in there, somewhere.
I've been playing a lot of Muddy Waters lately. I listened to them when I was a kid, been playing them a lot lately. Bob Dylan, The Basement Tapes. I've been playing that. This Glasgow artist C. Duncan, his record's just out, I'm going to get it this week. I suspect I will be influenced by that when I hear it.
All the usual stuff: Bob Dylan, Human Leak, Depeche Mode, all that's random, but it's just what came to mind. It's just where your head's at, you know.
The band formed in 1996; it's now 2015. What are some of the benefits to Belle and Sebastian's longevity?
It's an advantage to now still be making a living out of it. A kind of freedom. I think individually, collectively, we'd all be doing something anyway. A big advantage of being together 20 years: It's a lot more harmonious. Relationships have gotten better, as opposed to worse. Although they may get worse again, who knows.
You blink your eye and it's 20 years.
What's your favorite song you've written, and why? And what are some of your favorite Belle and Sebastian songs?
I think "Jonathan David" is pretty good. The structure of it — it's quite impressive as a song. In the context of someone who aspires to write songs and tries to write them, I quite like it. It's quite sophisticated, in its way.
I always like playing the faster ones. There's songs I just like playing every night. We always start the set with "Nobody's Empire," "I'm a Cuckoo," and after that the set will change. I always like playing "Nobody's Empire," "We Are the Sleepyheads."
You all have been around for so long, and had some quite successful songs, but still have a kind of indie status. Is that the kind of popularity you'd prefer?
We would like to make some more money. I'm being serious. A lot of people have families now; we're a big group. Money's always a worry. It would be good to be more successful. But I don't know if we're going to get any bigger. I don't think it's going to happen. We're too weird to be Coldplay.
A lot of people think of us as twee and indie, and I think it fits the model. And as for the indie thing, I don't even think of that anymore. I think we're a pop group, whatever that means. Everyone has different definitions.
Will you be having any barbecue in Dallas?
Could do, could do. I want to have a quick look at Dealey Plaza. I think we're in and out, but I'm going to try and find the time to do that. We recorded our album in Georgia, so we were eating barbecue quite a bit. I couldn't every day, but it's good.
With Sarah Jaffe, Israel Nash, Doug Burr, Repel the Robot, Jessie Frye, Calhoun, Catamaran and Fantastic Negrito, Aug. 29 at
5 p.m. at KXT Summer Cut 2015 at South Side Ballroom, 1135 S. Lamar, Dallas. $39.50. Live Nation.