Interview With Malcolm Middleton

Written By:

Gareth Jones

06th May 2009
At 00:48 GMT

1 comment(s)

Last year we saw the musical genius Malcolm Middleton release 'Sleight Of Heart', an album that truly impressed us here at S.G. Less then a year later and the charming Scotsman is preparing for his fifth studio album Waxing Gibbous.

If you haven't treated your ears to a Middleton record yet then you should most definitely pick up his last album to warm up for his latest offering which hits the shelves on June 1st. You can listen to one song from the album called Red Travellin' Socks on his MySpace and if you'd like to catch the new material live then he'll be touring the U.K soon; and make sure you do because rumours abound Malcolm may not be around for much longer.

So we caught up with the man himself to hear what he had to say regarding all the fuss and "those" retirement plans.


SG: Your last album Sleight Of Heart was a real success in our eyes, do you regard it as your biggest achievement so far?

Malcolm: I’m proud of that album but it’s funny how when you don’t try so hard people seem to like it more. I put all my effort at that time into A Brighter Beat and then did SOH when I was feeling tired and lazy and bored of big productions. I guess you capture something different when you care less, and that can be good too.  

SG: The lyrical content of your music is breathtaking to say the least, where or how do you gain inspiration for writing?

Malcolm: It’s not so much inspiration, as just rambling and expressing my thoughts when the mood takes me. I don’t really have any favourite poets or lyricists so that’s probably a good thing. And I don’t have any structures to adhere to so I can make things up and ignore rules about songwriting etc. As long as what I’m writing is honest then I’m doing ok. Or I can lie if I’m writing about lying or not lying, for example.

SG: You have been quite the ambassador for Scottish music during the past decade. Your work with Arab Strap was widely appreciated and likewise with your solo career. What do you think Scotland has done for you to shape your career and influence your music?

Malcolm: Coming from a small Scottish town probably gave me more ambition and made me fight harder to get out and do something. I really don’t like to think in terms of countries or nationalism though, that’s how wars start. Being Scottish has it’s ups and downs. Stereotypes and underdogs etc.

SG: Waxing Gibbous will be out in the coming months, can we expect to hear music in the same realm as your last album or something a little different? 

Malcolm: It’s just a mix of everything I’ve done before and everything I enjoy listening to. I’d like to say it’s a good Malcolm Middleton record, but if you didn’t like me anyway then it probably won’t change your mind.

SG: Are there any songs from the new album that you are particularly proud of?

Malcolm: Yes, I’m really proud of Zero because I got quite involved in the details of it, there’s lots going on lyrically and musically that I don’t think the listener will appreciate all at once. It’s a fun song that also manages to maintain some depth and truth about what I was feeling.

SG: In the past you've covered quite a few song, are there any in particular that mean a lot to you? 

Malcolm: Not really, I see them as being quite throw-away because they don’t belong to me. Of all the covers I’ve done I’m the most proud of the King Creosote one (Marguerita Red).

SG: Will there be any covers on Waxing Gibbous that you can tell us about?

Yes. None

SG: Do you worry about what critics will say about the album?  

Malcolm: Of course. I want them to say positive things so that people don’t think it’s shit and not worth buying. This is all out of my control though so it’s not really worth worrying about.

SG: What's your views on illegally downloading and how do you see the problem being solved?

Malcolm: I think it’s great, I just wish people who listen to my music for free would maybe value me a bit more so that I can carry on being able to pay studio bills etc.

SG: So asides from music is there anything that you feel strongly about? Any opinions on current affairs or things that concern you?

Malcolm: Everything I suppose, but I’m going through a period now where I don’t watch the news or read factual books. I’m blocking everything out for a bit so that I can try to get a grasp of what’s going on.

SG: We hope to not be spreading rumours when we say this; Is it true that this might be your last album as a solo artist? If so then are there any plans for next steps?  

Malcolm: It’s not my last album for ever, just for a few years. I think I’ve been doing too many and I’ve run out of steam with this particular creative voice. There are lots of things I want to try, instrumental things, mental loud things, delicate acoustic things. You know. Shit like that.


New single "Red Travellin' Socks" will be released on the 18th May on clear red vinyl 7" and digital download. The b-side will be the exclusive song "Whistle". Malcolm's album is available from all good record shops on June 1st.

Here's a video to tide you over til then - the wonderful 'Break My Heart', taken from his second record, Into The Woods.

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