Play well, make friends and laugh

Published: 17 November, 2011 10:24 IST | Prachi Sibal |

.... that's Mercury Prize nominated acoustic folk-pop-rock artist King Creosote's plan for his Bangalore trip as part of his sophomore India tour

.... that's Mercury Prize nominated acoustic folk-pop-rock artist King Creosote's plan for his Bangalore trip as part of his sophomore India tour

What inspired the name King Creosote?
I had grand plans in 1994 to start my record label, and before I'd even considered how it would operate, I had "fence" earmarked for its name. I wanted the label as an imprint for my music first and foremost, so I needed a solo pseudonym that could also work, as a band name should the opportunity arise.

As a kid growing up in the Kingdom of Fife in the 1970s and having fond memories of helping my dad paint his garden fences with creosote, I wrote down "king creosote," liked the look of it, et voil .

How would you describe your music?
Decent songs buried inside musical inadequacies. Do you think that will classify it? I always end up in the K section of the singer songwriter alternate folk category in record shops.

How did music happen  and how have your roots influenced it?
From about the age of seven my dad, a leader of a Scottish dance band, taught me the piano accordion. I liked the instrument, but wasn't overtly keen on the Scottish music I played on it. From about 1979 I became aware of pop singles, and by the early 80s, was a fan of Adam & the Ants, Dexy's Midnight Runners, Simple Minds, Tears for Fears, the Human League, OMD and so forth.

I didn't dress up as a New Romantic, but by the time I was 15, I got into the Mod scene and Two Tone. After 1984, music took a very wrong turn, but I think we're almost back on track over 25 years on. I went to University in 1985 and picked up the electric bass, and began writing songs as one half of 'Uncle Ralph.'
I became obsessed with songwriting and recording, largely helped by the fact that my course work in electronic engineering was so dull and difficult. As a distraction from studying for my final exams I took to learning the acoustic guitar.

After graduating in 1989, I opted for busking around Europe instead of applying for technical jobs, and found myself in a bluegrass band. Since then I've never considered doing anything else. I've let the juggling slip alas, so no running off with the circus any time soon.

What has been your single biggest musical achievement?
This year's Mercury nomination for the collaborative album Diamond Mine with Jon Hopkins.

What can Bangalore expect?
We hope to arrive healthy, play well, make friends, laugh, and leave healthy. I can't imagine the venue nor picture who might turn out to see us, so I expect we'll be a bit overwhelmed in the first instance. Once we get our "sea legs," I hope we deliver a mixed up, fun, heartfelt performance.
Found and Pictish Trail have a very electronic sound verging on lo-fi epic, but there are three other front persons to take turns in singing. Gummi Bako will stun the audience, HMS Ginafore will captivate with her amazing voice and I will make my usual attempts at ill-advised humour. With luck we'll collaborate with local musicians.

What are you expecting from fans in Bangalore?
A few smiles, a bit of confusion, some awkward dancing and maybe an increased desire to visit Scotland once we've gone.

How have you reacted to Elton John's comments made on your music?
Um, I've never actually met Elton, and I'm not sure what comments he has made, but I know he did go out and buy a handful of copies of my 2007 album Bombshell to pass around to his friends. Big respect to him for being a music fan and spread the word.

What kind of music do you listen to?
Right now a lot of Brian Eno, but I went on a record buying spree last week and bought albums by Frightened Rabbit and Sparklehorse. My favourite album this month, however, is power Out by a band called Electrelane. It's great for driving.

Who is your all-time favourite artist?
Mark Hollis from Talk Talk, but bizarrely I've become a huge and proper fan of Kate Tunstall after her solo show in Edinburgh at the weekend. I could've listened to her play for hours, but she's a good friend, so it's a bit weird that I've even admitted this fact to you guys and to myself. Oops.

Music to you is....
gonizingly worthwhile.

Have you ever considered an alternate career?
Not really. I tried running a ceilidh band for a few years, but that's a bona fide musical job, and it became quite stressful. I might go down that route again, but for now I love making records.

On November 18, 8 pm Onwards
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