[sic] Magazine

Interview: Colin Macintyre, Mull Historical Society

Ahead of tonight’s show in Manchester, our Neil Meehan sat down with Colin Macintyre of Mull Historical Society show to talk about the release of new album Wakelines:

CM: “I’m playing Manchester Night & Day on September 28th. It’ll be a band. I kind of just evolve it depending on what I’m doing, and, now I’m doing more with the books and writing, I do some different type of shows where I can do more of the book stuff as well. This will be a bit of a combination, but it will be a band show. The tour I did a couple of years ago, when my first novel came out, I did a reading from the book.”

NM: The live shows will incorporate parts of MacIntryre’s new book:

CM: “This new book – well I’ve got a children’s book and a memoir book, they both come out on the same day – the memoir book is the first non-fiction I’ve written. That was interesting just to talk about; my first band, being a kid growing up on Mull and what that was like. It talks about some of the song titles and links to the songs. There’s threads in it that link to the music and some of the writing I’ve done to date, so it lends itself to little snippets.”

NM: However, MacIntyre is keen to keep this as a Mull Historical Society live performance:

CM: “I’m not gonna be standing on stage reading all night. I’ve always done a bit of that (introducing songs). I might just do a little spot myself, unplugged, and linked with readings. I’ve done that at literary festivals, and it kind of works.”

NM: MacIntyre explains the background to the book:

CM: “Writing the memoir was a case of going back and looking what you did as a kid. Football and music have been my two passions all my life really. The writing, literary side has come into that.”

NM: The music scene on the isle of Mull, both now and growing up, is discussed:

CM: “There is a Mull music festival but it’s more traditional. You had the person with accordions. I had a covers band on the island from being about 11, called ‘Lovesick Zombies’. We toured the island and would play The Clash, New Order, The Smiths. My uncle had a covers band that would play classics: Fleetwood Mac, Dylan, Stones, Beatles. As a kid, I’d watch my uncles, and it was only a bit older I’d realise they hadn’t written all these songs, and I was wondering why they were plumbers on Mull and not living on Sunset Strip or even the Mainland in Oman or something! So I was lucky, we didn’t have a record store, cinema or a radio signal. I used to hear a crackly John Peel literally down a coat hanger. But luckily, I had my uncles’ covers band in their garage, and quite quickly I got myself into that, then gigging locally. And then got myself down to Glasgow to see gigs, and then became a student in Glasgow.”

NM: In Glasgow, MacIntyre was close to becoming a footballer, although ultimately chose music. He has, however, remained keen on the sport:

CM: “My Dad was a gifted athlete. He still holds the triple jump record for the professional Scottish, you know the highland games circuit, the local record is still held by him, and the athletes come from far and wide. I was lucky that my Dad was always taking football, taking the kids. In fact, he started trials at Celtic. My Dad organised games in Glasgow with Outer Hebrideans and ex-professionals. There was a regular game every Tuesday with Glasgow bands, Belle and Sebastian, Snow Patrol, Teenage Fanclub. I met more musicians through football, because I think I’d come from somewhere else. [Ex-Chelsea and Scotland winger] Pat Nevin’s been to Mull Historical gigs. I’ve played a few tournaments with bands and things, Pat’s played a couple of times with us.”

NM: MacIntyre has since moved further south:

CM: “I live in London, just off the river Thames, so near Fulham, Chelsea, I’m not a Chelsea fan in any sense. Fulham’s got a great community feel. I went to Scotland-England at Wembley, had a great day. All the Tartan Army got together in Trafalgar Square. Unfortunately, Scotland weren’t good enough.”

NM: His new location has a familiar feel, which is incorporated on Wakelines:

CM: “Water, the Thames, I very much grew up on an island. I wanted to write about urban foxes. The themes tied into the book and the new novel I’m working on. The threads all tied in and came to one thing, which is about going home a bit, and how home travels, how islands travel with you. ”

NM: The record was produced by Bernard Butler, once of Suede:

CM: “I’d met him a couple of times, and got in touch. Some of the songs are about bigger global issues like migration and Syria, but you tackle them with individual stories, they’re too big otherwise, so trying to focus on the individual kind of works across. Bernard was great with that… he’s played so much guitar. We made it in his house, so that idea of home and the environment we made it in all added-up and fitted. There’s a song called 14 year-old boy, about being that kid, looking back on when my Dad left when he became a journalist, watching him go every Monday morning.”

Wakelines was released 21st September 2018.

[sic] magazine would like to thank Colin Macintyre for taking the time to speak to us.