Music Q&A:

Scottish rocker Alec Dalglish tells Big Issue North about life on the road with band Skerryvore

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Tell us a bit about your sound and your influences?
We have many musical influences including traditional Scottish music, folk, rock and Americana/country music.

How have you evolved as a band over the years?
Skerryvore began as a four piece ceilidh band playing for dances across the west coast of Scotland and eventually progressed to writing our own songs and focusing on that as well as the instrumental sets. We’ve grown in size over the years to an eight piece band and we now try to fuse popular styles of music with our original traditional routes.

Were there any alternative band names before you arrived at this one? 
We were originally called  ‘The Gillespie Brothers’ after the two brothers Daniel and Martin who founded the band with Alec and Fraser. Then for a short period we were known as ‘Brois’ until we arrived at the name Skerryvore which is the name of a large reef and lighthouse which sits upon it. It is located a few miles off the coast of the Isle of Tiree.

What are you up to at the moment artistically?
We’re in the middle of working on a new album to be released early next year and this is a very busy period of touring for us until the end of the year. We go back to the U.S for our second tour there this year and then continue with dates all over the UK.

How to you stand out from the crowd in a saturated industry? 
I think we have a fairly unusual instrumentation combination within the band. As we write our own material and fuse several genres which you might not expect to find in the same band it makes us perhaps quite unique sounding.

What’s on your rider? 
We’re not particularly fussy if I’m honest. We quite like some European lagers, wine, Scottish whisky and vodka. Because we’re away from home a lot it’s nice when there’s fresh fruit and veg to keep us going and to counteract the late night stops for bags of crisps and sausage rolls.

Tell us about your worst live show.
I wouldn’t say we’ve had any show which I would describe as our ‘worst’ but we’ve had a few interesting power cut moments at gigs which are often quite embarrassing – especially when the audience don’t know why you’re standing on the stage not playing anymore and looking quite panicked. One time at an outdoor gig the power went out in front of around 15,000 people. We walked off and eventually they managed to get the power back. As we walked back on stage the power had caused the smoke machine to jam and it swamped the stage with smoke for the entirety of the first song. Nobody could see us and we couldn’t see each other. It was all a bit Spinal Tap.

Skerryvore play 21 Sept – Kendal’s Brewery Arts Centre, 22 Sept – Band on the Wall, Manchester, and 24 Sept –  The Brindlay, Runcorn.

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