Wednesday, 27 November 2013

We're Only Here For The Banter - Gone Wishing

The fact that year after year, there continue to be acoustic and lo-fi singer-songwriters writing 'sad' songs that grab my attention must say something about my psyche.  Perhaps it's the perennial stereotype of a Scotsman unable to deal with talking about feelings, or perhaps it's because it's one of genres that are difficult to really nail, therefore when someone does you appreciate it all the more.  Either way, Dundee artist Owen McLaughlin is a talent and busy man.  When not promoting gigs, or playing in bands Bonehouse or The Won Over, he pens lo-fi tunes under the name Gone Wishing.  I caught up with him recently for a chat.

Hello, how are you?

I'm good thanks though a little soggy having just come in from the rain.

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

I write acoustic songs that are usually summed up by words like introspective and sad.  I have a fairly varied taste in music so influences are from all sorts of stuff.  Generally speaking Gone Wishing is probably most influenced by Ryan Adams, Owen, Del Amitri, Sun Kill Moon and Bon Iver.

What's your song-writing / creative process like?

When I write songs it tends to be me just sitting alone playing about with my guitar.  I do this a lot and at some point the random riff here or there becomes a song.  I usually then take forever to write some lyrics to accompany it.  I do tend to write vocal melodies before words a lot of the times so depending on which point in the process I'm at I can be heard from outside of my flat howling utter nonsense.

What could we expect to see from a live show?

I'm still finding my feet with Gone Wishing live and I tend to get a little nervous when I'm playing.  Visually you should expect a near 30 year old, bearded, ginger man sat huddled over his guitar in abject terror.  As far as my stage banter goes it's a mix of incoherent ramblings and the over-use of the word sad.  I do love the feeling of playing live when it's going well and I definitely think the crowd have enjoyed the more intimate vibe that the above creates when mixed with my tunes.

Where does the name Gone Wishing come from? Is it important to have a pseudonym as a solo artist?

I named myself Gone Wishing because I was looking for something that started with the letters GW as that's my nickname to a fair few people.  GW is rather tongue in cheek name I gave myself when promoting shows back in the day (The "G" standing for Ginger and the "W" standing for something that rhymes with banker).  I picked Gone Wishing as it captures the sentiment behind a lot of my lyrics and I'm a reasonably big fan of puns.  As far as a pseudonym goes I genuinely only went down that road as my name is Owen and given one of the original influences in my acoustic playing was Owen I thought it best to avoid the obvious confusion.  That said I like the idea of having names for projects and keeping yourself free to change it up should you want to.

What would you say has been your greatest achievement so far?

I think releasing my tape (The Gone Wishing Tape) and have people not only buy it but be vocal about enjoying it.  I didn't ever start writing acoustic tunes with a grand plan or even necessarily letting other folk hear them so it's nice to know that others connect with it.

What have you got planned next?

I'm in the middle of recording my new record. The Fires of Future Strangers EP with the excellent Chris Marr of Esperi/Fall On studios.  The plan is to release it early next year (not sure through what label yet though) and then I think I'll probably be looking at an album of some sorts next year.   Short term I have a few shows lined up over the next couple of weeks including Book Yer Ane Fest next weekend, Victor Villareal and TTNG at Audio in Glasgow on the 5th December and then the following week I'll be playing with Owen, The Great Albatross and Lovers Turn to Monsters at Audio on the 11th December.

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

I think in Scotland there's a few great acts that aren't really well known that definitely should be (especially singer/songwriter wise).  Acts like Esperi, Little Anchors, Smithsonian, Ashley Park, Blood Indians and Lovers Turn to Monsters are all fantastic.  I recognise all of the above are from the East coast.  There's loads through on the West too but they tend to be mentioned more often so I'm sticking with it.

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

This comes from Ali Smith of the Shithawks but here goes:

"I used to know the difference between a xylophone and a glockenspiel but I can't marimba"

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