How did you get your initial start in music?
I’m not sure what the initial start really is. In music as in life we have lots of starts. They are all like relationships. Some are exciting adrenaline fuelled and filled with dreams they go off like a rocket at the start, sometimes stay like that, sometimes go nowhere. Other beginnings are less dynamic, more stop start, more idiosyncratic they lead somewhere gratifying/fulfilling at the time but lack ultimate direction. That is a good way to look at the music business – hard to find the start point, and only after reflection can you see the roads that ultimately led anywhere. That’s why it’s always a good idea to value the actual journey – love the journey as much as the final destination.
And personally I think that the start in music always comes from yourself.
Every musician needs to value their effort, I’ve worked with many musicians and its easy for people to forget to value themselves, their own direction, their own talent enough. Not valuing yourself can be a one way ticket to drug addiction or alcoholism or worse. So musically speaking, I was the one who made the decision to practice and apply myself and I took responsibility for my music, my writing and my life and I am pretty happy with what I have done with all of that.
That said I hugely appreciate all the people who have helped me along the way. My folks bought me a guitar and got me lessons when I was 10. We didn’t have a lot of money and in a way I’m glad we didn’t, I bought my first electric guitar out of proceeds from paper round/milk round and working in Asda when I was 14 – it was a Yamaha Pacifica – still a great guitar. I loved that guitar.
My music teacher Jock Archibald had a huge influence on me and really helped me develop classical guitar technique, my high school headmaster Hugh Lynch let the band I was in rehearse in the school at weekends so long as we’d play charity concerts in return – which we did. That gave us the opportunity to practice in a big hall with awesome acoustics.
After that I many people helped me from guys who owned studios and record company people who helped me along the way. Just a few people include Jon Turner (studio owner) Chris Harley ) producer) Brian Guthrie (from the Cartell in Scotland who we released our first record through) promoter and label owner) Mark Mackie (promoter) John Kennedy (lawyer) David White (lawyer and Simple Minds Management team who also advised us for a while) and Malcolm Buckland (A&R ) and Dominic Walker who looked after me at BMG and is the current head of music at the BBC he’s been great in his support and encouragement me even to this day. Also, Justin Skelton my Manager and my friend.
What would be your ultimate aim in the industry?
I don’t have an ultimate aim. I want to be happy every day. I live my life with good intentions and I aim to make a positive and constructive impact in whatever I do.
I would like to inspire others to write about real things and produce songs that move people.
How long have you been writing your own music?
Since I was 10 years old, I’ve written and recorded hundreds of songs. That’s the great thing about having had a studio for as long as I can remember. Everything is recorded – some good, bad, indifferent, but all recorded.
Who are your top three influences and why?
I love so many really current acts. I listen a lot to Jungle and Elbow, Arcade Fire… there’s a huge list.
And yet when really pushed on three influences I would go with:
David Bowie – magical voice, timeless prophetic lyrics and very classy music – just everything. Life on Mars is one of my favourite songs of all time.
John Lennon – Genius song writer with a spellbinding voice and mega attitude – Imagine has to be the perfect song.
Jimmy Hendrix – excellent songwriter, genius with a guitar and production that was truly decades ahead of its time – there are so many Hendrix songs still used today in TV commercials because they are timeless and packed with atmosphere and symbolism.
And I’d still need to sneak in a mention for Elvis Costello and Bob Dylan – two of the finest songwriters that will ever live.
Is there anything you would like people to know about your current release?
Freedom came to me in a dream, I woke up and wrote it all down. I got 90 percent done in 20 minutes but the final 10 percent took a lot longer. But it is a song that seemed to be gifted to me, I never decided to sit down and write an anti Trump song – but and what he stands for and what he was doing was clearly concerning me greatly and he that hasn’t changed. If anything I get more concerned with every tweet he spits out and every executive order he signs.
I think that we all need to stand up and do our bit to prevent this alt right cancer from taking hold. We cannot afford to be complacent. We can’t leave it to other people. If we value freedom we need to fight for it, or it will be taken from us. It is already happening. Everyone can do something. Talk on social media, protest, sing songs, give money. We must never let this alt right behaviour and authoritarian, nationalistic, fascist/ racist ideology be normalised.
Where are you based and what’s your local scene like? Any favourite venues?
I live in Falkirk in Scotland, there is a very good local music scene here particularly in Glasgow and Edinburgh which are both very close.
My favourite venue has always been is Glasgow Barrowlands the vibe, the acoustics and even the size of the place are all just perfect – not too big , not too small.
Who else can you recommend from your local scene for people to have a listen to?
Favourite Scottish band of the moment is Glasvegas and the small venue I like the most is the Mash House in Edinburgh – because it is where (IMHO) all the best good Scottish indy bands play. There is always some good talent on display there.
Give our readers a round up of where they can find you online and hear more of your music.