invernessGiGs relationship with Jim Gellatly started off on dodgy footing (he’ll explain read on) however we know that Jim’s a lovely guy and as such he was happy to talk a bit about the advantages of the music scene in the Highlands, what things can help a new band and about his favourite festivals…
Photo by www.johnneed.co.uk
You have supported a few local Highland bands, including recently KOBI and James MacKenzie and the Aquascene, What’s your feeling about the Highland music scene?
I’m not sure I can really speak with any authority on what’s happening in the Highlands right now, but I do know that there are far more bands, and many more opportunities than there were 20 odd years ago when I lived in Inverness. Aside from the Tennents Live circuit there wasn’t that much going on in the late 80s. Occasionally you’d get the odd gig at the Raigmore or the Ice Rink, but aside from that, The Hayloft was the hub of the scene at the time. I’ve still got a lot of affection for the area, having started my broadcasting career there, and I do keep an eye out for Highland bands when they come my way. I think the remoteness in terms of the “industry” can be a positive, as bands can get a bit more time to develop. While the A9 is still hell, you’re not really that far away from civilisation anyway (joke!).
With Capitals and Rachel Sermanni both making your ones to watch for 2011, do you think there will be any Highland representatives in the ones to watch for 2012?
It’s not usually my cup of tea, but I do love what Thurso’s Estrella are doing (see facebook here). It’s very much old-school classic rock in the mould of Bon Jovi and Van Halen, but they’re injecting a bit of fun into it. Too much po-faced indie around as far as I’m concerned, even though that’s where my tastes lie.
Given that your career started in Inverness, what’s you advice to bands wanting to have a more national audience?
Stick at it and build your following locally. Also utilise the social networks as much as possible. I think the internet can help you have a worldwide audience, but don’t try to run before you walk and think out every move and question why you are doing everything. Some acts make the mistake of thinking social networks are a massive noticeboard to tout their music. They’re not. Use it to NETWORK.
We seem to have bumped into you a bit at the festivals this year, do you have a favourite festival experience this year?
I love Wickerman because I take the whole family, and it’s pretty much out Summer holiday this year. For my sins I’ve never been to Belladrum, but I’ve got to get that sorted next year. T In The Park’s a monster really, but still a great weekend, though the busiest from a work perspective. Rockness is always a great excuse to get back to Inverness though the unsigned stage was a bit of a farce this year, and I always like to check out the emerging bands. Even the acts didn’t know where the stage was.
Wizard’s a great festival as well, and it’s great to be invited to host the stages… despite the invernessGiGs review (ed – looking back it was harsher than we meant see it here ). In my defence you must have caught me only when I was plugging my show. I’ve got a (nearly) national radio show playing stacks of new music from Scotland, so I thought it important to get that message across. You guys pay attention, but a lot of people came up to me asking about the show. Folk who live in Aberdeen that didn’t know that Northsound 1 has a show playing that sort of stuff. It had only been going a few months, and Bauer Radio have taken a bit of gamble with the concept… so I’m not embarrassed to spread the word.
You are known for your ability to find and support the best emerging acts, but how do you describe your own music tastes, any guilty pleasures?
I do genuinely love the music that I play. I wouldn’t have any credibility if I didn’t. I’m in a very rare position in commercial radio with In:Demand Uncut, where I (along with my production team) choose all the music that gets played. My Amazing Radio show (DAB & online) is slightly different as the tracks need to be uploaded to the Amazing website. As for my podcast… I do what I want really. Personal taste? Changes all the time. I usually have a new favourite band every other day. That might be influenced by a great gig (right now Foster The People at the QMU in Glasgow is fresh in my head) or an incredible demo. My favourites bands just now include Bwani Junction, The Stagger Rats, Jack Townes and The Chevin.
Questions by Chris Lemon
Photo by www.johnneed.co.uk