Tuesday, August 16, 2005

10 Q's with Calum McDonald of RUNRIG

Runrig have now been going for over 30 years now and have been one of the few traditional music artists to get mainstream success in both the singles and albums charts. Here we catch-up with founder member Calum McDonald…

1. What are you currently up to? (E.g. touring/studio, etc.)

We are currently off the road until December, when we do a few Christmas shows in Scotland and Germany. At present we are involving ourselves in the writing process with a view to the next studio recording – due for release on the 14th of whenever.

2. You’ve a new ‘Best Of’ coming out. How did the band decide on the track listing and which songs do you think best sum up the band Runrig?

Because we have already done a Best of album back in 1996, this one is more a celebration of the 30Year Journey, reflecting the past era but concentrating more on material post 1997.

3. How do you view the current music scene? Has the evolution of downloading and the wide use of the Internet helped spread the word about Runrig more?

Runrig are a band rooted in the tradition and all that that involves. A live band and real music, and not known for being at the cutting edge of technology. In saying that, you can’t turn back the tide – you have just got to sail with it, and we do. The internet has opened up wonderful possibilities.

4. Given that both Donnie Munro and Peter Wishart have entered the political sphere have you yourself ever been tempted? Do you think music is a good way of getting views across be they political, national or otherwise.

I think you have seen the last of Runrig members entering party politics. We are very proud of all that Donnie and Peter have aspired to and achieved, but as for the rest of us - I think we’ll carry on letting the music be the forum.

5. How did the 30th anniversary celebrations go and did you have any idea when the band first started out that they would last so long? What else would the band ideally like to achieve in the future?

We really enjoyed our 30 Year Anniversary Concert at Stirling Castle, but beyond that we didn’t think too much about it – no more significant than many other events in our collective history. We’re just glad that were still around, enjoying it, not feeling any older, and ready for the next 30. (28 now, actually)

6. What was it like when the band had hit albums and singles? Did this add pressure to keep coming up potential singles or did the band carry on their own path regardless of outside pressure?

No, we have always ploughed our own furrow, and I think that all the record companies that we have been involved with, have recognised that as a strength and let us get with it. So there has never really been any conflict or pressure in that respect.

7. What have been the most memorable gigs and why?

It has to be the show at Loch Lomond in 1991, when we attracted a crowd of 50000 people. That was a special day. Also the time we performed our song An Ubhal As Airde on Top of The Pops. It was the first Scottish Gaelic language song to get into the Top 20, so that was a pretty significant occasion. – but there are so many memorable gigs, remembered for so many different reasons. You would need a new web site.

8. Where do you get your songwriting ideas from and who musically is an influence on you?

Influences I suppose go right back to childhood, and come from two different sources. Firstly the journey of contemporary rock and pop music, growing up as a child with The Beatles, Elvis, etc. and what at the time was simply a revolution in terms music and culture. The second source is the older tradition of Gaelic language and song that I was fortunate enough to have been brought up in.

9. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

Being with my family, sport, and the occasional spot of fishing for trout and salmon

10. Message to your fans...

THANK YOU. We appreciate!


Blogger Womble said...

Runrig are a superb band. Any chance of doing some gigs in the North West of England? Any plans to release sheet music for any of the tracks? I'd like to have a bash at Angels from the Ashes and Faileas Air An Airigh, but I'm not good enough to figure it out for myself.

12:23 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Runrig are great band with some great music - Loch Lomond being a great favourite.

2:10 am  
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