Interview: Ewan MacFarlane
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
I’ve had a lifelong relationship with music. It has always been an ever constant in my life. I have known since I was a child that music was what I would pursue. My mum always used to play the Beatles and the stones when I was growing up a fine cocktail of melody & blues. Lennon & McCartney for the songwriting & Mick showed me how to be a front man… If it hadn’t been music, then it would have been football. I’m very geeky about football…it truly is the beautiful game for me.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
When I’m not making music (or watching football !!) the most thing I love to do is spend time with my wife and our children. 22 years married and still infatuated, which is just as well as all my love songs are inspired by what we share, luckily there’s an ever-constant creative spark right there… which is a perfect mix
How long has your band been around?
I’ve been in bands all my life & just became a solo artist last year, so this is all very new to me, but i’m liking the freedom of being solo.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
Im based in Scotland with my wife and 3 children, just outside Glasgow for the past 20 years, I was brought up in a mining village in Stonehouse and then went to high school in Canada before settling in London for several years. The contrast of different living experiences reflects in my songs and have always had a huge influence in my songwriting, watching & gathering information as life passes you by. Also love in all its many different forms is a big part, whether it be love for your woman, children, life, humanity, your city, football team… I never tire of writing about love in the many diverse ways it can be approached, the ever-constant dance between pain and joy.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
Pretty simple my name is Ewan MacFarlane.
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
There have been many memorable shoes. On a beach in Spain in front of 80,000 people with Apollo 440 & the Prodigy. A double headline show with Apollo 440 & the chemical brothers was very cool, but for me personally it’s the shows I played with my band The Grim Northern Social. King Tuts in Glasgow was always special but the one show that sticks out the most was when The Grim Northern Social played at SXSW in Austin , we were on fire , the promoters closed the doors due to the over crowding & the people started gathering in the street, the fire services came and closed the street so we opened the large windows we played to the crowd inside and the crowd outside … it was awesome and earned us a brilliant write up in the Rolling Stones magazine and The Washington post… very cool !
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
I’ve played Glasgow Barrow land as a support for a few bands but have never headlined there myself. I would love to play a headline show in that old place one day soon hopefully. It really is magical to me. Other than that, The Greek in LA would be cool…
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
That’s a hard one so many options with so many legends. My answer may be different on any given day but for today would be that wee purple genius that was Prince followed by Bowie as the Headline act. My band would be John Bonham on drums, John McVie on Bass, Lindsey Buckingham on Guitar and backing vocals, me on Rhythm Guitar and lead vocals and just because I can for this question I would have Aretha Franklin Ella Fitzgerald, Stevie Nicks & Al Green on backing vocals. I reckon that would be a decent show!!
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
Always follow your heart or you will end up living with regret and life’s too short for regret, don’t put up with any shit, be strong and speak your truth.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
Less partying… relentless work ethic & tell it like it is, don’t leave so many incredible songs sitting on a shelf and do something with them. After 30 years in Music I am now only self-releasing since 2021 on my own label Royale Stag Records, which is a revelation I have no more restraints and can release what I want & when I want if I had only known the liberation of this when I was younger and been more independent instead of getting caught up with dreaded music industry contracts & signing my rights away to my song in contracts that at the time you don’t even fully understand.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why? I’ve so many songs that mean a lot to me, just now I would have to say its “Always Everlong” which was the focus track from my current debut solo Album also called “Always Everlong” . I wrote it during the first lockdown. It speaks of being trapped but still having hope, hope in humanity but mostly hope for yourself. We can all get a bit lost at times with focus and self-belief and I’ve learned through the years when we have self-hope it really does keep us on the right path.
Which songs are your favorite to play, and which get requested the most?
I really enjoy playing Underneath your spell live, one of the singles from the new album “Always Everlong”. Most requested would be an old GNS song called Honey which ive re-recorded as one of my new singles from the deluxe edition of the album released February 2022.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
I find inspiration in almost anything, however mostly the love & unique bond I share with my wife is where my passion and real inspiration lies. The creative process usually starts where a melody will come into my head, I hum it repeatedly over and over so I don’t lose it until I can get my guitar, and from there the words just flow, the amount of times I literally get woken up out of my sleep and end up downstairs in my home studio at 4 am writing can sometimes feel like torture as I just want to sleep but I won’t ever let a tune go , I could never turn round and go back to sleep if I have a melody, often I literally drag myself to the studio in the middle of the night as I have to put it down, at the time sometimes it can feel like a burden but once its down I’m always truly grateful at the end of the process for what has been achieved.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
My Truth, whether it be pain or joy, controversial or shocking to others its always my truth and I wont change my words to fit in with what society deems to be “acceptable or seen to be PC”
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
Never, I’m a solo artist now so thankfully I don’t need to deal with that shit anymore.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
I want to release at least one album a year. I’ve got so many tunes that I feel need to be heard. The deluxe edition of “Always Everlong” album has 19 tracks from which 6 singles were released. I just released my 2 first solo gigs one in Glasgow with the full band and one in Coatbridge which is an acoustic candlelight show, both gigs sold out in 12 hours so that was great. Biggest problem for musicians is reaching their fans the way the algorithms are set up so I’m always trying to encourage people if you’re digging the music, please subscribe to our mailing list so we can keep you up to date with what’s happening, and live gigs around your area, it’s a brilliant show with bags of energy & really needs to be seen… not for the shoe gazers!
Peace to you all & a huge cheers E x