Red Dog Music | Oct 9, 2018 | 0
An Interview with Malcolm Middleton
1. DESCRIBE YOUR MUSICAL STYLE IN THREE WORDS.
Really, really, funny.
2. YOUR BEST AND WORST GIGS?
Worst: Portuguese Festival with Arab Strap in 1999. Someone “big” cancelled so we were added to the bill at the last minute, slotted between Ocean Colour Scene and James. Large outdoor summer festival. Big mistake. Plus Stuart Braithwaite from Mogwai was roadie-ing for us and detuned all our guitars. I think we were too drunk to notice so just kept playing, putting the weird sounds down to bad monitor mixes and stage sound. Then everyone started boo-ing and shouting “Get off! Waste of cash!”. We were never invited back to Portugal funnily enough.
Best: Playing the Classic Grand in Glasgow in 2007 when my Brighter Beat album was released. It was such a good atmosphere that I felt a bit like Rod Stewart.
3. BEST AND WORST DECRIPTION OF YOUR BAND SO FAR?
Best: Chubby, balding, Scottish ginger guy. A bit like James Blunt, but not as upbeat.
Worst: The Malcolm Middleton of his generation.
4. YOUR FAVOURITE TUNES & ALBUMS AT THE MOMENT?
Cate Le Bon, Broadcast, Dean Martin, Dutch Uncles, Mahavishnu Orchestra, David Thomas Broughton.
5. WHO ARE YOUR FAVOURITE BANDS?
The God Machine, Zep, Maiden, Neil Young
6. WHICH OF YOUR RECORDS ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF?
A Brighter Beat and Arab Strap’s “Elephant Shoe” album. Most of the other stuff I’ve done I can find fault with, but not these two. Not that they’re flawless, I just like their flaws more.
7. HOW DO YOU GO ABOUT WRITING A NEW TUNE?
I have to wait for extreme boredom and depression to sink in before I can even pick up a guitar these days. So, aye, I write about 7 songs a day. I usually start by finding a melody and moaning along to it, then I’ll try to find words that fit the moaning. Then I send it off to the radio and wait for the phone to ring. And wait. And wait.
8. WHAT DO YOU WANT YOUR MUSIC TO ACHIEVE?
I guess I want it to relate to people who feel the same way I do. Help them. Help me. A big group hug. Actually I’m not sure these days. The older I get the harder it gets to think about why I’m doing this. I think when I was younger I really wanted appreciation and acclaim. Now I just want to write a decent song that stands out and is unique to me as an individual personality. I like the idea of catchy choruses full of words you wouldn’t normally sing. I guess like “We’re all going to die”.
9. WHICH BITS OF MUSIC GEAR WOULD YOU RECOMMEND TO THE MUSICAL MASSES?
My boss digital delay & reverb pedal. Not sure if you get them any more, and my one is pretty knackered. Anyway. It immediately makes you sound dated. Which is a good thing. It’s like wearing a good jacket or something.
10. WHAT IS YOUR KIT LIST?
11. WHAT’S UP NEXT FOR YOU?
I’m currently recording the first Human Don’t Be Angry album. It’s my new project which is guitar noodling over loops of guitar noodling. And some vocals. Pajo meets Knopfler.
12. TELL US A FUNNY STORY.
Ten guitarists were backpacking in the Highlands of Scotland, not far from Inverness. They came to a river, and as there wasn’t a bridge for miles realised that they’d have to cross it. This wasn’t an easy task, as although it was shallow, it was also pretty furious and treacherous white water rafting territory. Anyway, eventually one by one, the made it across. While on the other side the lead guitarist thought it’d be wise to do a head count to make sure no one had been swept away unnoticed. He counted “1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9….”. Eh? He counted again “1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9….”. “Someone is missing!” he cried. So all the other guitarists started counting too, and each one also only counted nine other guitarists. In the midst of this disaster eventually a lone singer happened along and asked what the problem was. The lead guitarist wailed “We’ve lost one of our guitarists in the river! We were 10, but now when we count we are only 9!”. The singer laughed, “You forgot to count yourself, you prick”, and went on his way.
Questions by Roberta Pia.