INTERVIEWS: STUART ADAMSON of BIG COUNTRY speaks EXCLUSIVELY to SCOTLAND CALLING! 1998

Interview was after the Glasgow Garage show with  Stuart, thanks to Ian Grant for arranging this and making it possible for Scotland Calling (Scottish Music Network) to speak with Stuart. 

SCOTLAND CALLING! : – How does it feel to be back after an absence of over 2 years of touring and recording together?

STUART: – Just like touring always does, ShowTime is exciting and energising, the travelling and waiting around can get very repetitive, with the hours really dragging sometimes. I love to read, but not for whole days and there’s only rarely enough time to investigate the area that you’re in.

SCOTLAND CALLING! : – In May you toured the UK – did you enjoy being back together and on the road?

STUART: – I’ve always been comfortable in the company of this band and its merry revellers. We have remained close friends throughout the trials and triumphs of the past sixteen years. We have a very cynical humour that carries us through almost every situation.

SCOTLAND CALLING! : – The tour was called the Restless Natives Tour – what did you think of the film 13 years ago, and how do you rate it now? (Both musically and visually)? I personally thought the film was fabulously funny and the soundtrack was a superb piece of writing.

STUART: – I loved the movie; it was charming and humorous, well written and played. My only disappointment was the producer not using more of the original music I had written for the project.

SCOTLAND CALLING! : – You were supposed to play Barrow in Furness in May, and this was rescheduled for September, but the whole event has been cancelled. Was this a big disappointment for you?

STUART: – Not really, as we managed to arrange a smaller show for the fans that had travelled.

SCOTLAND CALLING! : – On the Restless Natives Tour, how did the gigs in Aberdeen, Dundee and Inverness go? Highlights/funny moments?

STUART: – All the shows went very well although I could have done without the pillar in the centre of the stage in Inverness!

SCOTLAND CALLING! : – Did you enjoy playing Glasgow again, all be it at a smaller venue (The Garage)?

STUART: – Glasgow has always been a very emotional show for us and this time I was able to meet up with Carol Laula, who I hadn’t seen for far too long.

SCOTLAND CALLING! : – Was it a deliberate decision to play such smaller venues, for the tightness and proximity of the band to the audience, or were you unsure as to how the gigs would sell?

STUART: – We deliberately played in smaller venues. Because we hadn’t toured in a while and weren’t promoting a new record, we were unsure as to how people would react; it certainly made for a sweaty gig-time experience.

SCOTLAND CALLING! : – And how did you enjoy the two Dublin gigs?

STUART: – Dublin is a great city to make music in. It’s always one of any tour highlights just to go and wander round there for a couple of days and the support for the band has always been very humbling.

SCOTLAND CALLING! :- How is the new material coming along, which you have been demoing, are you pleased with where you have got to with it?

STUART: – I think that after one more demo session we will be ready to start recording masters. We have over twenty songs already under consideration for the record, which should make for a very strong set of recordings.

SCOTLAND CALLING! : – What are your favourite tracks (of old Big Country)?

STUART: – My favourite tracks always change; at the moment “Kansas” and “Seven Waves” are top of the list.

SCOTLAND CALLING! : – What are your favourite tracks from the new material?

STUART: –Loserville“, “Sleep There Till Dawn“, “I Get Hurt“, “Fragile Thing“, “Spirit To Me” and “See You” are among my first choices for the record.

SCOTLAND CALLING! : – What are your aims/desires/hopes of the new music and what it will achieve for Big Country?

STUART: – Big, Fat, Stinking Hit !!!!

SCOTLAND CALLING! : – Any idea as to when you will be going into the studio to start recording the new album?

STUART: – Probably in October.

SCOTLAND CALLING! : – Do you have a working title for it yet?

STUART: – “Another Record That Sounds Like Big Country

SCOTLAND CALLING! :- Have you got anyone in mind for producing the album, or are you considering producing this album yourselves as you co-produced the last album ‘Why The Long Face‘ with Chris Sheldon?

STUART: – We have kicked a few ideas around; I think I might like a full on producer this time to bang some other ideas around.

SCOTLAND CALLING! : – Any word on a Record deal yet? If so, is it going to be a one album deal or are you looking for something more long term?

STUART: – The deal is in the mail.

SCOTLAND CALLING! :- Any thoughts on a release date, or is it a case of it will be out when it’s finished and a record company releases it?

STUART: – We have been looking at a spring release; to give us a decent summer touring schedule.

SCOTLAND CALLING! : – What direction do you think the new Big Country material is going, sound and style wise?

STUART: – I think less frenetic and more considered, with real space for the lyrics and the melodies.

SCOTLAND CALLING! :- Is this a make or break album for Big Country, after the relative unsuccessful albums ‘The Buffalo Skinners‘ and ‘Why The Long Face‘ (which coincidentally, I thought were two of your finest works) and the live albums ‘Without The Aid Of A Safety Net’, and ‘Eclectic‘?

STUART: – No, although I would love the record to be very successful, I can see the band being around for a while no matter what.

SCOTLAND CALLING! : – How much of the above records lack of success would you lay at the door of the record company’s door (Transatlantic and Compulsion)?

STUART: – Every act needs promotional support to succeed, but I think the lack of radio airplay and the subsequent unawareness of the records among non hardcore fans is far more limiting.

SCOTLAND CALLING! : – I take it you will be looking for better backing and promotion from whoever will release the album?

STUART: – That would be pleasant.

SCOTLAND CALLING! :- You have now been together for in excess of 16 years, is the passion and excitement still there, and if so is it stronger than ever?

STUART: – That is one thing that has been a constant. It comes from our closeness as people.

SCOTLAND CALLING! : – Are you happy Restless Natives is finally seeing the light of day after almost 14 years?

STUART: – While the music was always on the movie, at least now people have an easier access to it.

SCOTLAND CALLING! : – Any thoughts of doing another project for films, and have you received any offers to do another soundtrack for any films?

STUART: – I would love to do more film work but offers are not exactly flooding my mail.

SCOTLAND CALLING! : – Is there any news on the 12″ remixes album which has been talked about for as long as the Rarities album?

STUART: – No idea.

SCOTLAND CALLING! :- I take it is totally up to Mercury (original record company) as to if and when it ever appears and that you have no say or input into it?

STUART: – We do have a little say but unfortunately they own the masters.

SCOTLAND CALLING! : – Was this the case in the recent release of ‘Brighton Rock‘, the live album?

STUART: – No idea.

SCOTLAND CALLING! : – What are the plans for the band in the future? For instance, after the album is released will there be a worldwide tour or UK/European tour only and on what scale will it be?

STUART :- I don’t want to get into the three months on the road in one go again, but I would hope to play in as many places as there was a demand for us.

SCOTLAND CALLING! : – The demo’s have included a couple of sessions in Nashville for the new album, is this a direct consequence of your time over there with your ‘Blue Healer‘ project with Marcus Hummon, in that the vibes (creative atmosphere I believe you have called it) you got over there Stuart have inspired you to work within that area, or is it a case of convenience, or just plain co-incidence?

STUART: – It is partly convenience and partly to have the band in a new environment. I know the chaps enjoy the city as much as I do as it is such a creative place and the time we have already spent there has been very fruitful.

SCOTLAND CALLING! : – Stuart are you still living in Nashville?

STUART: – Yes.

SCOTLAND CALLING! : – You moved there about a year and a half ago, are you settled there, or do you feel like coming back to Scotland?

STUART: – I will be there for the foreseeable future.

SCOTLAND CALLING! : – Originally Stuart, you went over to Nashville to write and record a solo album. Now that you have collaborated with Marcus Hummon, you have written a number of songs which as far as I am aware, have never been recorded. Are they ever going to see the light of day, say in the next gap in Big Country’s career?

STUART: – The album I started myself developed into the project with Marcus. We do have at least an albums worth of material and hopefully will be able to have it released.

SCOTLAND CALLING! : – Is there any other information you would like to let Scotland Calling know?

STUART: – The Big Country website is doing a decent job of news distribution. It can be found by going to http://www.bigcountry.co.uk.

SCOTLAND CALLING! : – Yeah, the Website is certainly a good place for everyone to check out what’s happening, and also contains loads of other interesting information. The Bulletin Board is also a fun place to visit, as quite often you find the band members interacting with the fans in a relaxed way, which I find very refreshing. What about thoughts for the future?

STUART: – Peace, love and understanding.

SCOTLAND CALLING! : – Would you be interested in chatting to us in the future?

STUART: – That should be fine.

SCOTLAND CALLING! :- We wish you every success, and hope that this album will give you the much deserved credit and success you deserve and have been deprived of for so long and thanks very much for taking time out to talk to Scotland Calling!

STUART: – You’re welcome, thanks for the support. We would just like to thank Stuart Adamson from Big Country for taking the time to do this interview.

Interview by Willie T

Taken from Scotland Calling (Scottish Music Network)