Thursday, 2 June 2016

Oban Times Music Column - May 5 2016

YOUNG singer-songwriter Iain MacLeod made his first collection of recorded songs available online this week. He believes that ‘The Expired Highland Railcard EP’ shows he’s heading in the right direction.

The EP is released under the name Feral, having been initially intended as a full-band project featuring drums and bass. Instead, we’re treated to six acoustic tracks that tackle themes such as dislocation, growing up and long-distance relationships.

‘The EP is named as such because it represents a certain disconnect you feel with people you know in places like Glasgow,’ says Iain. ‘It was quite cathartic to write songs around the idea that you travel to Glasgow, admiring the scenery on the train, just to party and see friends before having to come back home.

‘Some of the songs were intended as more party-oriented. The plan was to have three electric tracks you could dance to. With my drummer Jamie Livingstone delayed by work, I decided to put this EP out before we look at making a full album.’

Iain first picked up a guitar at fifteen, getting involved in bands at Oban High School before moving to Perth for Music College. Iain, 21, subsequently recorded the EP with John Hausrath, who has worked with the likes of The Signal Fires and Citizen 9, at Dunbeg Studios.

‘Dunbeg Studios was ideal for just recording a few songs,’ says Iain. ‘It’s a great resource for songwriters because you don’t necessarily need to spend loads on mixing and mastering with a full band.

‘I’m really keen to play these songs live with a full band, though. By and large, Oban gig-goers tend to either come to sit and listen or dance. I want people to come and see us play and have a good time.’

Despite describing Oban as a ‘restrictive environment at times’, a sentiment similarly expressed in his music, Iain also describes the town as his ‘main source of inspiration.’

Having last played a show in town several years ago with a previous band, he wants to see more activity on the gig scene. He cites initiatives like the Rockfield Centre’s ‘Let’s Make a Scene’ meetings as positive but wants to see words transformed into action.

He says: ‘It’s great to see people connecting and sharing ideas together but I think we need to get to a stage of setting things up. An open mic night like the old O’Donnells one would be a great first step.
‘Oban has a great traditional scene but we need to do more to promote contemporary music. K9 Kev’s recent charity gig shows there’s a great community spirit and that people will come out for music outside the comfort zone if they think it’s for a good cause.

‘Hopefully we can get to a place where people know they can come and have a good time going to see music that they’re not necessarily familiar with.’

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First Printed in Oban Times on May 5 2016

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