GIGsoup’s Caitlin Damsell sat down with The Xcerts frontman Murray MacLeod, of one of Scotland’s bands, straight after they came off stage at the brand new Fort Fest event last weekend. We chatted about all things new, exciting and directed some questions from fans…
How was your summer? From supporting Biffy Clyro at Bellahouston to an incredible 2000trees – you’ve been busy!
2000trees was a landmark show, we were a bit hesitant to do it again because the year before was so good… but yeah, it was great. We didn’t expect all that much, but turned out to be one of the best shows of our lives – I didn’t think we could top 2015, but I think we maaaay have topped it!
Definitely. What about during your set – how did it feel having a marriage proposal during ‘There Is Only You’ at 2000trees?
Oh, that was a true heartmelter. The guy proposing had given me a heads up, and then we kind of arranged when to do it with him – so yeah, it was totally weird, and totally flipped the show on its head because it felt like we were front row to an even bigger show. The show of love! We were all so psyched that it happened, and it really made the show that bit more special.
Bellahouston, with Biffy… was again, very surreal. Walking out on that size a stage was definitely something new for our band, but we totally relished it. I was quite nervous because the head promoter of the show was side stage, and he knows the band and I know him – nicest guy ever – and he had a yoda moment with me beforehand, where I was like ‘oh my god I’m so nervous’ and he just said ‘you’re meant to be here, you’ve worked really hard, you’re a great band and you should be here.’ And after that I was just like – oh, I’m totally fine now! And yeah, we went out and played a great show, loved it. Summer’s been good to us, festivals have been great and we’re making a new record…
So the next album then – how’s it going? Are you writing, working, demoing… what have you been up to?
All of the above. We’ve written a LOT of songs, like a lot – this is the most amount of songs we’ve ever written for an album. We are kinda demoing down south, in our practice room/studio place, and then I fly up to Dundee to work with the producer to do demos and pre-production with him with the recordings that we’ve done. We’re gonna work on them together, and work on vocals – more melodies, he’s an amazing man with melody and I’m really stuck in my ways of how I sing, so he’s kind of bringing out a bit more flair in me.
So we have one more pre-production week where I go up to Scotland, and then we’re going to go into the studio – the whole gang, and make the record.
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Can’t wait! Speaking of recordings… we can’t help but mention your incredible, incredible Architects cover (Gone With The Wind) that you released for charity donation the other day. Any idea how much that has raised so far?
Not sure yet – I should get a figure through pretty soon. I put it up at 10pm, which was probably a really silly idea but it had been quite a heavy day, and I was like ‘I’m just gonna do it’ – and after one night, when I checked in the morning, it had raised like £1000. Which is insane. I would’ve been amazed if we were just able to give the hospice any amount of money, but the fact we did that much… I haven’t checked in a while, but I’ve seen a lot of people have bought it, which is really cool again. I’m just so happy I could do anything to honour my friend, and raise awareness and money for the hospice. It’s awesome.
That’s amazing. Moving onto some more lighter questions… if you were stranded on a desert island, what would be the one book, album and movie you would bring with you?
Crikey… hmm. Book would probably be On The Road by Jack Keroauc, because it’s probably one of my all time favourites – and if I’m stuck on an island, I’m definitely not going to be on the road – so I can envision being on the road like Keroauc, and dream whilst reading. Movie – it’s not my favourite or anything, but I’d probably watch Castaway to get some tips on how to get back home. And music, just one record? Goodness… er… Born To Run by Bruce Springsteen.
Are you enjoying any musical guilty pleasures at the moment?
I struggle with that, because I think you should be allowed to like anything you want – and I probably have a LOT of what you would deem guilty pleasures. I mean, I adore Taylor Swift. I’ve been listening to something that really is a guilty pleasure and I can’t remember what it is. Argh – I totally had one!
We’ll come back to you on that one, will take Taylor Swift for now.
But she’s not a guilty pleasure! *laughs*
Andrew Groves (Arcane Roots) said Rihanna wasn’t either yesterday, its OK. Moving on, we’ll submit you to some fan questions sent in earlier today…
Will you ever play ‘I Am Home’ Live?
Yeah, I have done! In the future, yes. 100%. It will definitely be played. I don’t know whether it’ll be played regularly on tour, but we will definitely play it.
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Do you have a rough timeline for the new album at all?
It should be early next year. We’re really hoping that we can release a single this year, some time in like Autumn maybe? Yeah, that’s the plan.
Any plans for a proper headline Glasgow gig?
Yes. There is talk of possibly a couple of shows towards the end of the year, although it’s not set in stone yet… I probably shouldn’t have mentioned that! But if not this year, then 100% after the next album.
Do you have a favourite Xcerts album cover?
It’s a tough one, because we’re all on them. Its Tom, Jordan and then me on the latest album, the falling one. I love the There Is Only You cover – I mean, I love them all as they all paint a wondering image. You could look at them for a while and interpret the as to how you’d like them. I love the Scatterbrain cover too. Hard question.
They also asked if you do have a favourite one – what does the cover mean or symbolise?
For There Is Only You, yeah – theres definite meaning on that album as that was a thought out idea. So that is genuinely me falling through the sky. I won’t tell you how we did it… some people get it, some people don’t. Its really simple.
Yeah! So yeah, that one definitely. I like There Is Only You too because you can interpret it any way you want, I could be going up… or down. Which is really interesting because I change my opinion on it every time I see it. I know what happened obviously, and everyone can probably guess that I’m going down – but I like the idea that people might think I’m going up.
Lastly, what influences the short instrumental pieces at the beginning of each album?
Originally it was just a mood setting thing. Like, for the tone of each album. We did it on the first record, basically there’s the melody in the opening track that comes back at the end of ‘I See Things Differently’, so we just kinda wanted a full circle feel. Then with Scatterbrain, we thought it’d just be cool to open up with a racket – because the record is quite rackety. Then Jordan wrote the intro for There Is Only You, and I thought it was just gorgeous so I just decided that should open up the record. I don’t know if we’ll do a similar thing for the next record… there might just be a song at the beginning, and go into it, but I’m glad those three records had that intro feel.