Wednesday, 24 April 2013

We're Only Here For The Banter - Cairn String Quartet

Hello, how are you?

Hi Neil, we're great today thanks.  How are you?

Very well thank you!  It's the question everyone hates, but could you tell us a little bit about your music and your influences?

Oof tricky.  We listen to everything.  We do a lot of travelling and we usually have things on in the car that we plan to cover that week.  This week included both Rachel Sermanni and Rihanna but if you thought you saw us driving past singing Mahler 5 or a Shostakovich Quartet at the top of our lungs you probably wouldn't be mistaken.

What's it been like working with people such as Camera Obscura, Admiral Fallow and with the Electric String Orchastra, The Twilight Sad and Emma Pollock?

We are so lucky to have been asked to join such incredibly talented musicians!  Live collaborations are our favourite part of what we do.  We have played twice now with Camera Obscura both at the Barrowlands. There's no words to describe the Barras, there's just magic in the air.  You just know you and everyone on stage is going to have the best ever gig!  And you play your socks off.  And so do they.  And you do .. you just have the best gig ever! 

And once we got to play the Barrowlands with Camera Obscura and Attic Lights on the same night!  We were so excited, we were afraid we'd take off!  Often these artists come up to us and say they are nervous around the 'real musicians'.  We get really embarrassed at that as we count the artists to be the real talent - they are writing the amazing songs!  We just play or join in with what they have created.  The Twilight Sad said they were the most nervous they'd ever been before our ESO gig!  They didn't believe us when we said there were more than a few shaky knees in the Electric String Orchestra.

What could we expect to see from a live show?

A lot of sequins :)  No, it depends on the repertoire really.  We use pedals and looping for quite a few tracks and we're always trying to make new sounds on the instruments.  We generally have a very diverse playlist and we try hard to replica the sounds of the bands we cover but also put our own spin on.  Also classical orchestral training leaves you with the habit of mimicking one another's sounds too so often you'll see the grins and grimaces as one of us mixes something up and the others have to catch on for fear the ghost of Leopold Mozart will be after us!  No two live shows are ever the same.

If it were all to end tomorrow, what would you say has been your greatest achievement?

I think we're just really humbled by all of the diverse performance opportunities we've had.  Last year, we had fantastic traveling experiences to South America, North Africa, Cannes and Holland but the best bit was probably on home ground, when hundreds of people in a packed out tent at T In The Park stamped and screamed, "One More Tune" as we left the stage after our quartet set.

What have you got planned for 2013?

We have a few studio collaborations due for release this year which is very exciting.  Call To Mind, Laurie Cameron and There Will Be Fireworks.  We may have some other news up our sleeve too.....

Is it fun to challenge people's perceptions of classical and traditional music, by doing covers such as your CHVRCHES and Biffy ones?

Absolutely brilliant craic!  We do what we do simply because we love such a diverse range of music.  A lot of people pick up a guitar and learn the song that they've heard on the radio.  We just try and recreate the music we love the only way we know how.

What other artists (Scottish or not) would you recommend to the Scottish Fiction readers?

Our videos are our recommendations.  We try to cover whatever we are listening to at the moment!  But also loving Young Fathers, Stanley Odd, Luca, Homework, Will Hanson and our new favourites from the studio Call To Mind.

Thanks for speaking with us, would you care to share a joke with us?

There's two fish in a tank.  One of them says to the other, "how do you drive this thing?"

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