Tommy and his Rolleiflex, Balerno. Photo: Rob St John

Water of Life: Interview with Rob St John and Tommy Perman

WoL-InsertScan-Intro-Image-Web-1024x1024Water of Life is an art-science collaboration between Rob St. John and Tommy Perman exploring flows of water through Edinburgh using drawings, photos, writing and sound.

I was suitably intrigued when I found out that Rob and Tommy were teaming up for the project. They are both multi-talented artists who have contributed a lot to the music and art scenes in Edinburgh and beyond.

Rob makes music under his own name and as part of eagleowl, as well as writing for the likes of Caught By the River. Tommy was up until recently a member of band and art collective FOUND, produces art/illustration as Surface Pressure and recently released an EP under the name ComputerScheisse.

I hope that introduction has whet your appetite. Now, here are a few probing questions about the project’s creative flow.

Doctor Who Delights

The-Doctor-2462867I like sci-fi because of its sense of possibility. For any creative person, it offers the ability to explore space and time, giving a potentially unlimited canvas for the imagination.

I’m also a big believer in the importance of ‘fandom’. Fans, the so-called geeks who aren’t afraid to demonstrate their love for their favourite TV shows, films, superhero characters and bands – often unjustly get a bad press.

But from music zines to cosplay to fan fiction, these fans display tons of creativity and often keep ideas alive that shortsighted industry types do their utmost to sabotage.

It’s amazing, and heartening to think that a ‘daft’ idea about a man who travels through space and time in a Police Box that is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside, could last for 50 years and bring so much joy to so many people.

ONLY A CITY APART MASTER

Hit the Kiss (and Tell) Button – an Interview with Lomond Campbell

ONLY A CITY APART MASTER

Last weekend I spoke to Ziggy Campbell, frontman of acclaimed Edinburgh band FOUND, during a wedding in the grounds of Edinburgh Zoo.

After a failed attempt to noise up the monkeys we thought we’d record a wee interview instead as a special treat for you.

 

Play

The ‘nitty-gritty specifics’ we cover during our conversation include:

  • His forthcoming EP under the guise of his mysterious alter-ego Lomond Campbell (you can also hear sneak previews of some of the tracks)
  • Why he’s calling himself Lomond and not Ziggy (the below picture is a clue)
  • Why he isn’t your typical singer-songwriter
  • His joint record with band member Kev Sim aka River of Slime
  •  How to get into their intimate Edinburgh house gig in July and get free records and whisky into the bargain
  • whether there is a future for FOUND ‘the band’ following internet guru and bassist Tommy Perman‘s departure
  • fellow FOUND collective member and computer genius Professor Simon Kirby’s debut singing performance (it involves carrots)

Ziggy also gave me a wee preview of the new EP and it’s cracking  – if you like FOUND you’ll love it. My favourite track is the epic krautpop closing track Hit The Kiss Button.

LOMOND-Press-Shot-3More info:

Only A City Apart is the debut EP from Lomond Campbell and marks the first music to come out of the FOUND collective since their acclaimed 2011 album factorycraft. It’s being released on the 19th July 2013 on coloured vinyl, limited to 250 copies.

The EP features a guest vocal from fellow Fence Collective member The Pictish Trail. The record will serve as a taster of the forthcoming collaborative album with River of Slime, which is due to come out on Chemikal Underground later in 2013.

The 12” EP will be given away for free at a “secret” house concert in Edinburgh on 20th July 2013. To reserve a space email 42music42@musician.org. All who attend the concert will also be treated to a dram of whisky decanted personally by Lomond and River of Slime.

The remaining copies will be available from Chemikal Underground & Fence Records online shops and in various independent record stores throughout the UK. A digital copy will be available to download from Lomond’s Bandcamp page.

www.facebook.com/lomondcampbell

 

IMG_7279

4 Good Reasons to Leave the House This Week if You Live in Edinburgh

I’ve not been getting out of the house much since I’ve been self-employed and stopped drinking  – and yet every week there is an interesting gathering of some sort which I’m missing out on.

So I thought maybe if I start listing some of the events that are on in Edinburgh for the creative and tech community I might feel more inclined to get out and about.

Plus hopefully it will be helpful to others (I know how easy it is to lose track of what’s going on).  Even people who don’t live in Auld Reekie seem to be interested in what’s happening here judging by some of the emails I get.

Edinburgh Freelance Fridays – Tweet for a Treat!

Edinburgh Freelance Fridays is a monthly night arranged by local freelancer Emily Dodd and held at Sofi’s Bar in Leith. I’ve been along to a few of them and always had a good time.

It’s an informal social gathering which is open for anyone who freelances whether full or part-time. In the video below, a short extract from the Ditch the Day Job Diaries Episode 7, Emily talks about how the idea came about.

This week I will be hosting the event from 5:30pm onwards at Sofi’s so I would love to see you there! Not only that but  Sofi’s will very generously be giving away a free Tunnock’s Teacake to anyone who tweets about the event and uses the hashtag #edff and mentions @sofisbar in the tweet. And don’t worry, Emily will still be attending – she’ll be along a little later on.

If you’ve been before and enjoyed it you could tweet about the event beforehand (hint retweeting this post counts but don’t forget the hashtag and to mention @sofisbar), or if you’re there and having a good time you could tweet on the night. Either way, you will get a tasty treat :)

For more details see Emily’s blog. She has also interviewed a number of local freelancers, some of whom are regulars at the event.

You can also read Emily’s Clear-Minded Creative Types interview on this blog.

Unravelling the Truth With FOUND & Aidan Moffat

“Everything starts with the truth and goes somewhere else”

Aidan Moffat 

The Edinburgh-based FOUND Arts Collective have followed their brilliant (and BAFTA-winning) Cybraphon project with a new interactive sound installation called #unravel. They’ve collaborated with songwriter and storyteller extraordinaire Aidan Moffat, former frontman of Arab Strap and who recently collaborated with Bill Wells for the excellent ‘Everything’s Getting Older’ project.

I spoke to FOUND and Aidan Moffat at the launch of the project yesterday at Edinburgh’s Inspace Gallery and cobbled together this video today (despite a number of technical difficulties!) to give you an idea of what the project involves.

Fear not though as there will be a proper short documentary about the project coming soon – for more details see the official website.

#UNRAVEL opens to the public on 20 April – 7 May as part of Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art at Arch 24/ SWG3.

Ali George

How to Write 12 Books in 12 Months – An Interview with Writer/Illustrator Ali George

Most writers are faced with a difficult decision as October draws to an end – whether to take part in NaNoWriMo (more details below). I’ve never managed it myself and having tried and failed to write a novel when I was younger the thought brings me out in a cold sweat.

So for the next in the Clear-Minded Creative Types series I looked to local writer Ali George for advice and more info on what drives her to work so hard.

As well as being a NaNo veteran, the level of output she maintains on her own blogs and in a variety of other outlets is hugely impressive, and oh yeah, there’s that small challenge she set herself for 2011 – writing a book every month. I hadn’t even realised that she is also an illustrator.

withered hand

“Travelling & Hollering”: An Interview with Musician & Artist Dan Willson aka Withered Hand

After a bit of a break, I’m delighted to crank the Clear-Minded Creative Types series of interviews back into action with one of my favourite songwriters, Dan Willson aka Withered Hand, who is also an artist and DIY gig promoter – not to mention husband and father.

He also happens to be an Edinburgh resident and I’ve seen him at various venues in town, from the small and dingy to the vast and expansive with his recent Queen’s Hall show. He even appeared my telly box in a recent BBC documentary about the South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas (Dan became a trending topic on Twitter in the UK due to the US authorities initially refusing his visa).

Please can you tell us who you are and what you are up to at the moment?

My name is Dan Willson. I write songs and perform them under the moniker Withered Hand. I suppose I have been doing this on and off for about 5 years. Before that I used to play guitar in bands and draw a lot. I certainly never expected to be a songwriter, much less a singer, but I mostly like what I get to do right now.

Did you always know what you wanted to do (creatively) or has it been a process of trial and error to get to the point you’re at now? If it’s the latter, how did you decide what to focus on?

As a kid I wanted to be an artist. I guess my parents didn’t realise I needed dissuading. I have always had a clear short term idea of what I want to do creatively, but stagger along with no real plan and right now I’m getting it out there via songwriting and performing songs, I hope it carries on being something I do but maybe in a few years I’ll be doing something else which involves less travelling and hollering.

Extract from Dan’s comic strip ‘A Fake’s Progress’