Now that the festivities of 2017 are over, we’re all back to where we were as if it never happened. So that’s given us the perfect opportunity to catch up someone that we look at as one of the best singer/songwriters in Scotland right now. Daniel McGeever talks about his new album & how these things come around….
Blair McLaughlan – Hello Daniel. Happy New Year to you & the McGeever family. We’re now into 2018, do you ever bother with resolutions just generally in life or do you ever give yourself any targets for the year when it comes to music?
Daniel McGeever – I don’t really resolve to do anything but I heard my mate’s missus say about him, “He has no new year’s resolutions, only life resolutions.” I like that. I also don’t have any targets. I think as long as I can keep doing good things with good people, then that’s a good way to be.
BM – Before we go into the hard stuff, what was the last record you played on your turntable?
DM – Last LP was Overdog by The Keef Hartley Band. Last 45 was Let’s Do The Boston Monkey by Les Cooper & The Soul Rockers.
BM – You’ve been in a few bands historically (Alfonzo) plus you’re in a couple of bands presently (The Wellgreen, Delta Mainline), what made now the right time to finish the solo album?
DM - So many things fell into place - it wasn’t planned, it just happened this way. It’s something I always wanted to do and it took a long time to come. I believe things happen at the right time. And now’s the time.
BM – The album cover is an intriguing photo – what’s the story behind it?
DM – The cover is amazing. It’s a piece by Edinburgh photographer Douglas J May titled Abandoned City after Khnopff. I first saw it around 13 years ago and it completely bent my head. I used to live in the tenement as a boy, from the age of 5 to 11. So when I first saw the photo of my old house submerged in the sea it was the strangest familiar/unfamiliar feeling.Once I’d decided to use the piece I found Douglas and he took the rest of the photographs in the album. He is 71 now and a splendid fellow. His work has been perfect for the album in every possible way.
DM – For the songs on this record that’s a hard question to answer without going on and on and on…. So I won’t go on and on and won’t really answer the question either. Let’s put it this way, the working title for the album was Songs Of Love & Death. All the songs were inspired by and written about very real events. These are the days.
BM – How & when did you get into music? And when did you know it was something that you had to pursue?
DM – I don’t remember a time I wasn’t into music – I can’t remember anything without it. I was mad for Live Aid when I was 5. It was probably U2 that got me into music, like early 80s U2. I wanted to be like Bono then – I don’t want to be like Bono now. Music is the only thing that has ever made me do anything (almost). So it’s easy to pursue. What would I pursue without it? (Ask Bono?)
BM – Some of your musical influences may be quite obvious to some but if you were to name your personal, musical influences, who would you say is at the forefront of that & are there any surprises or unfamiliar names in there?
DM – The first things I need are chords, sometimes a fragment of a melody, but usually its chords. The chords are influenced by The Beatles. Brian and Dennis Wilson. Elliott Smith. Honeybus. The Zombies. The Bee Gees.
BM – CTW was released by the Spanish record label, You Are The Cosmos, how did this come about and what was it like working with Pedro?
DM – The first song completed for CTW was For Violet. It was on a compilation LP called OTT Select! Vol 1 released by Pointy Little Heads. Pedro heard the compilation, liked my song and got in touch. He’s the man. He’s great to work with because he believes in the music and lets me get on with it. He’s brilliant at what he does so it’s a perfect working arrangement for me. He’s a gent.
BM – There seems to be a tight knit group of contributors to the album, namely Marco Rea, Stuart Kidd & Lewis Wilson, did this help with the album in terms of the familiarity of working with these guys previously?
DM -Although I knew of him I hadn’t worked with Lewis before. And it was Lewis’ initial approach that got things moving. From day one we worked great together. Our first intention was to make an acoustic EP. But when ideas started growing I got Marco and Stu in. I knew that they would know exactly what I wanted on the album, and how to do it. Then I had a dream that my friend Jon Mackenzie showed me how Ben Keith played the pedal steel. The next morning I asked Jon if he would add some Ben Keith kind of touches to Roses For Rita. We didn’t have a pedal steel but Jon has magic fingers. I feel very lucky to know people who can make making music so rewarding.
BM – What does 2018 hold for the musical career of Daniel McGeever (both solo & bands)? Are there any live gigs pencilled in?
DM – I never look too far ahead but I can say that 2018 will hold a new album release for The Wellgreen and a new album release for Delta Mainline. Lewis is up for working together again. I’m sure Cross The Water will see some kind of live presentation in some form with some line up or other somewhere. There will also be a lot of Delta Mainline and Wellgreen gigs off the back of the new albums.
BM – And finally, what was your favourite record of 2017?
DM – Favourite album that was new to me was Montage self titled album from 1969, a post-Left Banke, Michael Brown thing. Favourite new album of 2017 is probably Pure Comedy by Father John Misty. Not my favourite of his but the peaks are blinding.
You can purchase both vinyl & CD copies of Daniel’s album Cross The Water directly from the Barne’s very own Bandcamp store: CLICK HERE