Blending traditional Gaelic song with electronic sounds, Niteworks are one of the most exciting bands on the Scottish music scene. With just a few days to go until they open TradFest 2016 at The Caves, along with Griogair’s Ghettocroft and Dàimh, we spoke to drummer Ruairidh Graham about his influences and inspirations and the band’s debut album, NW.
Tell us about your album.
In October 2015 we released our debut album, NW. It’s basically a collection of music that we’ve been toying around with for a while, but decided to really go for it by setting up collaborations with choice musicians that we thought would suit the tracks. It proved to be the right thing to do, as it gives the album a fair amount of variety and pace. You can’t exactly say that we rushed into making it; however it’s an effort that we’re all proud of and to us that’s what matters more.
Which other musicians have been your main influences?
I think as individuals we all have slightly different tastes in music, and can probably attribute influence in our playing or producing to different people. Speaking for myself, growing up as a teen I was split 50/50 between listening to the likes of Gordan Gunn and Session A9, but also rocking out on the school bus to Guns ‘n’ Roses and Rammstein.
Nowadays, there’s access to so much music, and so many musicians from all walks of life that are amazing, that it’s almost impossible to distil that into a few choice names. Some electronic acts and producers that have made their mark on us include the likes of Apparat / Moderat, Kollectiv Turmstrasse and Craig David.
What inspires you when writing music?
More than anything it’s still that main desire to just write and play music with pals. We don’t often take long walks around the garden to draw inspiration for a lead synth line or anything like that. We simply want to create music that’s a bit different that people can dance to and enjoy. The thrill that you get when you can finally get months of work and tinkering on to a live stage is all the inspiration that we need really.
Which bands/artists from the contemporary Trad scene, in Scotland or elsewhere, do you rate most?
Some stuff that’s coming out of the Trad world is shaking up conceptions of what can be done with trad instruments, which is great. I’d recommend any of Mike Vass’ albums, Lau and The Ollam.
Have you played TradFest before? Are there any other acts on the programme you’d recommend seeing?
This is not only our first time playing at TradFest, but is also our first time playing Edinburgh full-stop so we’re incredibly excited to play some music for a new crowd! Also sharing a stage with Dàimh and Griogair is going to be top notch fun. I would definitely recommend gettin yer lugs round some Moishe’s Bagel!
What does Tradition mean to you?
Tradition to us probably means highlighting cultural roots/heritage by means of an authentic expression, in whatever form that takes. Keeping core traditions alive is key to securing a distinct identity down through the generations. At the same time, tradition evolves by responding to new environments and influences, and it has always been so. For example, if there happened to be no economic incentive for tweed, we would never have developed waulking songs and so forth. There is a fine line between tradition responding to new influences, and it being coerced to do so however.
Niteworks play the Caves with Griogair’s Ghettocroft and Dàimh on Wednesday 27 April. Book tickets.