People always ask me "how do you write your songs?". I think anyone can write a song, but it's difficult to describe how because every song is different..but here's an example.
I wrote "WTF" (Track 11 on Love Fuelled Hate) with my friend Charlie Elwess. I came into his mini-studio with a completely ridiculous riff idea and sang it to him. A lot of songwriting is just having the guts to throw something out there. You know you're gelling with someone when they're able to take whatever madness you give and repeat it back to you with music - that's exactly what Charlie did. Here's the original voice memo and the final result mixed into one audio clip:
I always like starting with the instrumental when I'm collaborating because it instantly brings a vibe and energy to the room and gets everyone onto the same page. Once you've got a beat and a key it's so much easier to write a melody. Usually I hum ideas over the top, here's a clip of Charlie and I in our writing session doodling with some melodies:
In the final version we ended up very close to the voice memo I'd recorded the previous da, listen here:
Often when I'm jamming melodies out, words and emotions pop into my head. This song was inspired by a nasty experience I'd had a few days before...
I was in my hometown, Edinburgh, celebrating Hogmanay (New Years eve). I was watching a couple of my favourite bands on a pop up stage in the town-centre; Young Fathers and Twin Atlantic. The street was rammed and my friends, family and I were front row. In crowds like that you get a bit of pushing and pulling and I'm cool with that..however, there's always one dickhead that's intent on ruining it for everyone. There was a guy properly shoving people around - and considering this was a family show where I was stood next to someone in a wheelchair, loads of small young female tourists and my dad who was using a walking stick to balance - the shover was being a real pain in the ass and someone was gonna get hurt. This nasty guy was getting into fights with everyone but when he got close to me I held my ground and told him to be careful. To which he spat "GO BACK TO YOUR OWN FUCKING COUNTRY" at me in his best Glaswegian accent.
I'd only ever heard those words on TV, in fact I'd never witnessed xenophobia in real life EVER. I was in total shock. It was ironic considering I was in my hometown and he wasn't..but that's not the point. We're all one race, we all share the same planet and we should treat each other with love and care no matter where we're from.
It's always possible to create a positive out of a negative. For me this prick inspired a song that allows me to unify crowds all over the world. What could be greater than that?
On stage I ask
"If you find racism more offensive than the word 'fuck', sing with me. When I say 'who the' you say 'fuck'"
So far I've watched and listened to thousands of people of all ages from all over the world yelling "FUCK" at the top of their lungs in protest to xenophobia and as a mark of love for each other. It's my favourite moment of every show.