Where are you currently based now and what is the music scene like there?
Living outside of my home town dundee, there is no music scene as far as I know. It used to be vibrant, there’s still some great bands and music coming out of Dundee but not sure there’s as big of a scene that was when we were younger.
How did you first start playing music?
Originally I started writing rap music when I was 12 listening to Eminem then when I was 13 I got beaten up pretty badly by a group of guys from a different area to where we lived and so I just stayed in for a while constantly with my guitar my brother in law had bought me, taught myself how to play songs by listening to them and even slept with my guitar next to me ha!
What have you been working on recently?
Just finished my new solo album, so just off the back of touring that, festivals coming up and a lot of trips over seas, always busy and just had another baby!
Your solo album ‘No Thank You’ has received raving reviews and has won you ‘Best Album at the Scottish Music Awards, what influenced the sound and songwriting for No Thank You?
Ah cheers. A lot of influences, I wanted it to sound quite like The Beatles; my greatest influencers, kind of like the Kinks, Paul McCartney’s granny songs with a bit of fire under them. The writing came from a lot of my time in rehab. Realising I needed to change. I wanted to reflect that in the music with the lyrics but didn’t want the songs to sound dark and depressing because it shouldn’t be a depressing thing.
Where and when did you record?
Recorded at Paul Weller’s Blackbarn Studio in Surrey with the family there, was a great time, cracking weather too. Was in mid June 2017.
How did you go about writing this music for this album?
Just same way I always do, stuff happens and you write about it. I never force the music to come out. I had some of the stuff in my head from years ago and then it all sort of fell into place with the right ingredients and the right time.
What programs/instruments did you use?
Everything I could find, used piano, guitar, drums, a cortet that was made into an orchestra, a lot of melatron… I did get pretty experimental and tried new instruments I hadn’t used before on this album. I don’t know about the programs, I have an engineer for that.
How did you approach the recording/production process?
There was no Pre production, just went in with a drummer. I played all the instruments bar drums. I just went in and did all the songs in my head and finished them all there, some weren’t even demoed or didn’t have finished lyrics yet. I like to work under pressure I find it the best way for me.
Who did you work with during the recording and production of No Thank You?
Me, an engineer, Charles Reese and drummer Scott Duffy. Always wanted to do a record this way and reckon everyone should try it.
What did you find most rewarding and challenging during the creation of this album?
The most challenging part would be some of the lyrics being honest and having to dive into a place you don’t necessarily want to go again in your mind. The most rewarding is getting the feed back off of fans of how much they love it and it’s helped them.
What have you learned through the experience?
Not sure what you mean… the experience of doing a solo album? I’ve learned I’m able to do stuff on my own without having the band for fall back.
Who are you listening to at the moment?
The Struts are kicking off, loving them.
What do you like to do away from music?
I like to run, spend time with my family, I’m big into my movies and musicals so always try to make time for them and just try to find some calm in this crazy life ha!
You’re touring Australia in July, what can we expect from these shows?
Can expect some bangers, from my time in the view etc, but also songs I haven’t played live before, some surprises and I do love a request.
Anywhere that you are most looking forward to playing? If so, why?
Not really, looking forward to all of it. I’ve been to all the cities before, so just looking foreword to getting back down under.
How do you prepare for each live show?
Normally couple pints and make sure all the band are on the right harmonies, normally the cheesiest songs we can think of cause it loosens everyone up.
What do you have planned for the remainder of 2019?
Coming over to beautiful Australia, have some family holidays coming up, time away to relax before it all kicks off. Off to America, festivals galore. Loads going on.
Any secrets that you care to share?
Don’t do drugs. Seems good at the time but it will affect you in the future.
Favourite food and place to hangout?
Macaroni or Thai food – and favourite place to hang out is either a beach some place hot or a BBQ in the backies.