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Monday, December 31, 2012

Interview: RM Hubbert

The Internet may have opened new, exciting mediums for music discovery, but for me there's still nothing which can match the magic of live introduction. It's a method which may as well have existed since the beginning of time, and yet it's one which just keeps on giving, as evidenced by my sudden, unreserved affinity to Glasgow's RM Hubbert. Before October, this lone ranger was but a speck on my conscience; a distant, unfamiliar figure whose name I'd heard yet never felt inclined to look into. Three months and three support slots (with The Twilight Sad and Bill Wells & Aidan Moffat - twice) later, however, the guitarist sits firmly among the artists I hold dear, a result of his sensational performances along with a pair of similarly radiant studio LPs. It was my pleasure then, to quiz my favourite find of 2012 on the past year, those live shows and the prospect of a new album in the pipeline...

Hey man, thanks a lot for taking our questions. Obviously you’ve had a pretty busy year. If you could sum it up in three words, what would they be?

Pretty, pretty good.

What have been the highlights?

The album release show in January was pretty special. The only time the album has been played live with (almost) all of the collaborators. I've been touring for most of the year so pretty much all of my experiences involve that. Playing Green Man festival was fun. Sheffield Cathedral for Tramlines Festival was great too.

Any lowlights?

I didn't see enough of my girlfriend or my dog. Missing my flight out to the Netherlands for Incubate Festival then having to buy a ticket in the airport wasn't much fun either.

Can you see yourself making a highly collaborative record like Thirteen Lost & Found again?

Aye, definitely. The hard bit was in the organisation, the writing and recording was very rewarding.

Is there anyone you didn't work with on that album that you’d like to in the future?

There was a load of other collaborations planned that didn't happen due to time constraints. Mogwai, The Twilight Sad, Adele Bethel from Sons & Daughters, Muscles of Joy and a good few more.

You often cover your collaborator’s vocals when you play live. Are we going to hear you take the lead on record any time soon?

Yes. It takes me much longer to write lyrics than music though. Pissing about on the guitar is much easier!

What gives you more satisfaction; making records or performing live?

I get a lot out of both. Playing live gives me a chance to tell my stories and try and connect to people more though.

Do you prefer playing your own gigs before established fans or winning over new followers with support slots?

It depends on who I'm playing with. I usually prefer my own shows but it can be very rewarding to win over a room full of people that have no idea who I am.

You create an incredible (albeit rather miserable!) vibe when you play. Do you actively try to convey that in the studio?

I don’t think it’s miserable, just a document of some of the things that have happened in my life. I try and be humourous with it as well. People shouldn't be scared to laugh about death, mental illness or anything else. I don’t actively try to convey the meanings whilst recordings, it will seep in anyway.

The last time we spoke you said you have a new record due around May. How’s that progressing?

It’s going well. We've done about half of it. Will probably be a bit later in the year before it’s out though. As I said, writing lyrics takes me a long time. Longer than I was expecting!

It’s an entirely solo effort, if I'm not mistaken. Is there any particular reason why you’re returning to that format?

There will probably be some augmentation from others but yes, it will all be written by myself this time. I wanted to make a very personal record this time, much like my first, First & Last. I don’t like to get others involved too much when I’m doing that. It’s going to end a trilogy of sorts; First & Last was written whilst dealing with my parents’ deaths and my diagnosis of chronic depression. Thirteen Lost & Found was my attempt to connect with old friends after my marriage ended. This one is about letting go and trying to move on.

Do you have any other projects lined up aside from that?

Nope. This is pretty much a full time occupation right now.

Any new year’s resolutions?

None!

Finally – the obligatory end-of-year question – what have been your favourite records of 2012?

In no particular order :

The Twilight Sad - No One Can Ever Know
The Unwinding Hours - Afterlives
Adrian Crowley - I See Three Birds Flying
Finn LeMarinel - Violence

Once again, thanks for taking the time to speak to us. Enjoy Christmas and New Year!

No problem, you too!

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