Bazza Mills: Happy New Year to you Pete! 2016 appeared a very busy year for you, starting a record label and opening a pop-up record shop amongst everything else. Reflecting back, what were the highpoints of 2016 for you?
Pete MacLeod: Thanks, And a Happy new year to you Bazza! It was a busy year with putting my new album out and starting another label to do so. Also with being a partner of dance label 'Made In Glasgow'. Safe to say last year was more about putting music out as opposed to performing or recording I suppose. Which is all part of being a DIY musician eh. If you don't do anything yourself then nothing get's done. So the high points were getting things done and enjoying it all.
BM: 2016 will no doubt be remembered as the year many artists departed for the eternal party in the sky. Did any of the dearly departed leave a lasting impression on you as an artist?
PM: Yeah it was a heavy year for that eh. Ach when anyone leaves us it's a reminder that we are all here a short time. Regardless of how big or little we are known. The good thing about those who leave a legacy behind in music, film or any type of contribution to society in that form is that we can always re-visit what we liked about that particular person. David Bowie will be remembered forever in that tone. So I think he probably left the light on for us songwriters in what can be a dark and lonely room at times with our thoughts
BM: We caught up at the Ocean Colour Scene after-party in December, what did you think of the Moseley Shoals 20th Anniversary tour?
PM: Well what can I say other than OCS are one of the best bands I've ever seen live and that's never changed in all the years I've seen them play. It was really good to see Raymond Meade and his Brother Daniel play in front of 14,000 people in Glasgow too. That's the beauty and gift of music.
BM: In my opinion it’s always good to glance over your shoulder but much more effective to focus on what is in front of you. On that front, you appear to have been doing just that in planning a Februarytour with Steve Cradock. How did the idea of the tour come about?
PM: Originally I wanted to do a full band tour but unfortunately the costs involved in my position were too much for me to fulfil and after all these years I am still a new artist to many. So it will be an acoustic tour playing my songs with Steve Cradock. I've been friends with Steve for a while now and we were going to do something like this 10 years ago but we both had other things going on all the time. So here we are now and to be honest I've had two albums out in that time so probably in a better situation musically and creatively. I'm looking forward to playing the shows with Steve. He's a phenomenal talent.
BM: With two albums in your back-catalogue what can fans expect in terms of a set-list on the tour? As fan of Ocean Colour Scene and in particular Steve Cradock’s guitar playing, I am excited to hear what Steve brings to your tunes. Do you have any particular songs in mind you are keen for Steve to work his magic on and if so what ones?
PM: Steve and I will play some songs from both albums and some new songs too that aren't on the albums. I'm pretty much excited to hear what Steve is going to play on them all to be honest. I guess it depends if we are going to play the songs with two acoustics or acoustic and electric. That can change the dynamics and approach. We start rehearsing soon.
BM: There are a few different acts supporting across the 3 date tour. Who is playing where?
PM: Kascarade are playing in London and Manchester. The Spitfires and The Beat Movement are playing in Glasgow. And JB Barrington is doing a set in Manchester. All great artists.
BM: Back in 2007 you supported Ocean Colour Scene, any lasting memories of that tour?
PM: It was a great tour and I just remember saying to my mate at the time that Steve was probably the best guitarist I've ever physically seen right in front of me. Has everything. Simon has an amazing voice and is a great writer and Oscar has an amazing ability to leave space in songs but have a great groove at the same time. That has remained the same throughout the last 10 years. Of course everyone who has played in OCS has contributed to these qualities throughout. Shout out to Damon who is a great bass player and I have lots of respect for him too as I do for Andy and Dan. I am after all a fan of the band and the legacy. 2007 was an enjoyable experience.
BM: Yeah, I am pretty sure I have some blurred memories of you supporting in 2007 at Stirling Albert Halls. Going back to your forthcoming February tour, what will be on your tour bus playlist?
P: I've been listening to some different stuff just now. I'll pick Steve's brain and see what he's listening to at the moment as well. No doubt he'll point a few decent tunes my way through the tour. I'm really into The Durutti Column just now.
BM: In terms of pre-gig rituals…do you have any?
PM: I just like to sit on my own and chill out. Then go on stage and try to be myself in front of others. I think that's as important as the music itself.
BM: You also have just released a new EP called ‘Goodbye Woman, can you share with our readers the inspiration behind this one?
PM: It's a new single called Goodbye Woman. I recorded the song with YOUTH. I mostly write songs about my experiences and this is no different. It's upbeat musically but the lyrics not so much. However it's up to anyone else what they take from it I guess. After you record and release a song it can easily become something else to another. Although I think the title gives it away eh. Yeah I'm pretty content with two albums now. That's not many for some musicians but for me that's plenty for what I have to say up to this point in my life.
BM: Pete, we've seen you post photos on Social Media of yourself next to Noel Gallagher and Alan McGee. What did Oasis mean to you and have you seen the Supersonic documentary?
PM: Both Oasis and Alan McGee changed British music culture. I was a teenager when I first heard Oasis. So it meant the World to me at the time. They really were our Beatles and Stones. That's how I remember it. You knew as a guitar music fan that it was a special time in music. Yes, I went to the pictures and took my son Lewis to see Supersonic. I thought it was great and so did the wee man.
BM: Do you think the documentary will inspire kids to pick up guitars?
PM: Will it make kids pick up guitars? I don't know? That's a question for a kid today I guess eh. I'd like to think so.
BM: You've supported the likes of Happy Mondays and were previously signed to Alan’s label. What does it mean to you to get the support from a legend like Alan McGee and what was it like to work with him?
PM: It was great to support The Happy Mondays. I always said to Alan that the bigger acts don't give the up and coming the chance to come through by supporting them. That's part of the black hole in the UK music industry. That's not helped anyone develop as much as agencies doing deals with major label acts. It's not a healthy situation. So when Alan opened the door for others to support the bigger acts on his management roster it gives people a chance...and that's what Alan does. He gives people a chance. I think many people bypass how important that is for new music. Many don't give a fuck but they forget how hard it is and everyone gets a bit of help at some point in a career. An opportunity!
To work with Alan was an ambition of mines which motivated me to keep going with my own thing. That's important for anyone when they are up against it. These things count. I think we live in different times now. Music is in a different place due to technology and immediate expectations of each other. You’re lucky if you get someone's attention for 5 seconds.
BM: Last question, if you bumped into “little Pete” on the street in Coatbridge what advice would you have for him?
PM: Ah...I'd stop and give him a hug and tell him I love him and to comb his hair.
Nice one Pete! Thanks for your time and all the best to you for the forthcoming tour.
Check out Dates for his upcoing tour below.
Photo by Mark Boyle