Talking harbour lights, wood chip and more with King Creosote – the Kenny Anderson interview

Kwaing Creasite: East Neuk’s prime beef export, aka King Creosote, back on the road in March. (Photo: Ross Trevail)

It’s been five years since King Creosote last treated us to a live accompaniment of his soundtrack to From Scotland With Love, receiving rightful acclaim at the Edinburgh International Festival last time around.

But now Fife-based Kenny Anderson – the singer/songwriter and composer behind that regal moniker, with more than 40 plus albums to his name since the mid-’90s – is taking his nine-piece band back out on the road to do just that, with dates in Edinburgh, Inverness, Aberdeen, Perth, Glasgow, London and Manchester lined up next month.

I’m hoping you already know this, but From Scotland With Love is a 75-minute film by New Zealand-born, award-winning director Virginia Heath, released in 2014 and comprised entirely of archive film, a powerful ‘journey into our collective past’ that ‘explores universal themes of love, loss, resistance, migration, work and play,’ the silent individuals on camera given voice by King Creosote’s poetic music and lyrics, the man who wrote the score seeing it as something of an antidote to the ‘ongoing chaotic upheaval’ happening right now. He adds, ‘What better a tonic than to revisit the daily lives of our grand, great-grand, and great-great-grandparents’ generation as they go about their work and play’.

Kenny was in a house on Shore Street, Anstruther – the largest community on the Firth of Forth’s north shore, part of the East Neuk – when he answered my questions a couple of weeks back, pressing deadlines having ruled out publication before now. Yes, face to face is arguably more personal and over the phone works just fine for most of my interviews, yet while this one comes to you by the wonders of electronic mail it’s no less intimate for that. And I’m fairly certain you’ll agree soon enough, my interviewee setting the scene perfectly when he describes his surroundings, telling me, “It’s almost dark so the harbour lights are all on, as are the double red/flashing green lamps at the jaws of the harbour, the tide is out and the grey clouds are very low. Alas we had a family bereavement on Thursday night so I am in the midst of … well, you can imagine.”

Seems to be the month for it. January tends to carry that air of post-festive blues anyway, and I too have witnessed grief of late. But we’ll crack on all the same, keeping the mind occupied.

We were born the same year, Kenny and I, albeit a school year and approaching 500 miles apart, today’s interviewee one of three brothers who struck out as musicians, sons of renowned Fife ceilidh bandleader Billy Anderson.

On this occasion Kenny was in his girlfriend’s flat, some four miles west of his own house, which seems to fill up a lot of his spare time, it appears.

“Having bought bits of an old property and inherited others, I’ve been working on my place in earnest since 2013. It started with the roof, joining up attic spaces along the way and then having to knock out walls and what-not below in order to get access to the new attic above. Lots of wood chip, lath and plaster dust going out, insulation, plasterboard and new wood going in. Chuck in a dry rot treatment, replacement windows, doors, a bathroom …

“This Autumn I was able to at last rebuild my home studio in the attic, only to realise all my un-boxed recorders – two digital, one reel-to-reel, a four track – were in need of repair.”

Despite his world travels in pursuit of a life in music, it seems that my subject (or perhaps I’m his subject, given that royal title) hasn’t strayed so far from his roots, with his mum’s side of the family from Crail, his girlfriend’s family hailing from Anstruther, and Kenny growing up in St. Andrews. And in his own words, ‘I reckon that’s me settled now’.

At this point I confessed that I arrived at his front door via a roundabout route, a parallel love of archive film documentaries leading me to triple-word scorers like Public Service Broadcasting (via early promos for 2012’s The War Room EP) and British Sea Power (specifically 2013’s From the Sea to the Land Beyond: Britain’s Coast on Film), and later The Magnetic North (second LP, Prospect of Skelmersdale carrying on where they left off on 2012’s Orkney: Symphony of the Magnetic North). But while I was vaguely aware of King Creosote, it took a BBC4 airing of From Scotland With Love to properly make me sit up and take notice.

In fact, I only learned this week that Kenny’s troubadours were involved with friend of this website Jo Bartlett’s Green Man Festival in South Wales from the very start in 2003, him and his fellow Fence Collective musicians – he set up DIY indie label, Fence Records in 1997, a ‘collective of musicians, artists, craftsfolk, chancers and slackers based in the East Neuk of Fife’ – and kept returning for a fair few years. And I was only catching up today with old internet footage of them covering The Aliens’ ‘Happy Song’ in 2006, at which point the name on the tin read King Creosote and the Aliens (with both of his twin brothers involved, I think I’m right in saying).

But I digress. The link between King Creosote and those other acts mentioned? Well, they’re certainly all gifted composers with the creative vision to write such vivid musical soundscapes. Does Kenny see himself as part of a wider movement in that respect?

“When the offer of working with Virginia Heath came along in summer 2013, a few soundtrack projects were mentioned as reference points – British Sea Power being the one I recall – and I decided there and then to avoid them altogether. I am acutely aware of Jon Hopkins’ prowess when it comes to soundtracks, and that alone made it look likely that I’d be knocking back the offer. Once I finished working on From Scotland With Love, I was quickly drawn to the more ambient/classical soundtracks by the likes of Nils Frahm and Johan Johansson, and these guys, like Jon H, are well out of my league.

“I’ve long since said a resounding ‘no’ to the offers of working on soundtrack projects that came along in the wake of From Scotland With Love, for as you’ll learn the making of the music turned out to be quite similar to that of ‘merely’ recording a themed album and nothing like the penning of a soundtrack in the traditional sense.”

How did your relationship with Virginia Heath come about, and was it a fully-formed vision before you started on the music, or did it take you into areas you hadn’t expected?

“I’ve recorded most of my Domino albums (the label co-releasing several of his albums) with Paul Savage at Chem19 in Blantyre, and had met one of the studio engineers, David McAulay, a few times over the years. Virginia Heath and David had already worked on a film project, so when it came to From Scotland With Love, both David and Paul recommended me.

“The project was to be a collaboration between film-maker and songwriter rather than music put to a finished, edited film, meaning new songs written by me that were based on archive footage would influence the edited-down footage to be included in the film, and then this newly-found footage would further influence the tweaked songs. I wasn’t in a very good place at the time of the offer, and didn’t think any of my new songs would be much cop, so initially I refused! Part of the brief was that the film would debut outdoors at Glasgow Green with soundtrack performed live by us. Shudder!

“But David somehow made it all sound less far less daunting, and Virginia was already a fan of the Diamond Mine album (his 2011 collaboration with Jon Hopkins, nominate for the Mercury Prize and Scottish Album of the Year) and would happily use existing songs from my back-catalogue if I buckled, but by the time I accepted the mission I was keen to have a go at writing new, archive-inspired material.

“It took a few months for the researchers to even start to trawl through all the available archive footage, working towards finding scenes that suited various broad themes rather than portraying a geographic or historical/chronologically hqa tour of Scotland. No video footage was to be used either, so the start and end dates were fixed by the use of actual film. In Autumn I was shown a couple of half-hour BBC documentary type films but then told that a few seconds, if anything, might be used from each. I was already doubting my credentials for the job given my knowledge of history is patchy at best, so we didn’t get off to a flying start. In the meantime, I began sending Virginia CD-Rs full of what I considered to be soundtrack material (instrumental bits and bobs mainly) and assurances that I’d started writing when I hadn’t … the usual.

“To break the impasse, Virginia wrote out her ideas for the different themes she wanted to explore in the film, alongside a list of my songs she thought fitted the various moods. It slowly dawned on me that the people portrayed within these archive films had to be concerned with the same, universal day-to-day anxieties of love and loss, money earned and spent, consumed by age-old jokes and with their own feelings of nostalgia and inadequacy that come with changing times, and so on. I was able to identify with the characters lurking in the background of crowded scenes, for example shy types and worried onlookers, and soon forgot about the historical backdrop. In short, everyone I know today would have an ancestor cutting about in these films, and at the cutting edge of their own lives when filmed, I might add.

“With that flash of inspiration and Virginia’s chart I penned most of the new lyrics on a train journey to London and back, busked a few chords together, sent Virginia some acoustic demos and then set about building an all-acoustic band culled from the fence players I’d worked with over the years. Virginia is from New Zealand, and was in no way going to deliver a cliched Scottish ramble through heather, shortbread tins and golf courses, and that suited me fine – but I insisted the music come from a traditional, acoustic source, and that nostalgia would feature heavily in the song material. I simply put myself and the views of those around me into bygone days.

“The next couple of months were spent looking at any and all footage available that Virginia thought roughly suited my themed lyrics, with a band fleshing out music to fit that footage, me tweaking lyrics to sit better with the film footage, and so on back and forward right up to our January deadline. David (McAulay) kept both sides well away from each other and brought in some genius players from his circle of music pals.

“There were a couple of very last-minute song switches and inclusions, and as preparation and promo for the film launch with live performance Virginia made short, area-specific loops of additional footage, and the film went on a small tour of film theatres with the added attraction of a Q&A. Easy for me – all the questions were film-related – but Virginia’s genius is that her themes were universal, and she included 20th-century social change and industrial decline relevant to the whole of the Western Hemisphere, all set within Scottish countryside and towns. All age groups were turning up too. I just sat and played a couple of the rejected songs as folk filed out.

“The reaction to the film with full live band caught us all by surprise, as did the attempts to politicise the film during the 2014 referendum, and the timings could not have been better/worse. In a band of 13 players, the split was 10 ‘yesticles’ to three ‘nawbags’, with yours truly, spokesperson in interviews of course, soon outed on the side of the union. Ha!”

At this point there’s brief break in the answers (and that was a very detailed answer, you’ll agree), Kenny telling me, ‘Hold on … my haggis and neeps have arrived in front of me … I’m joking, it’s a spicy veggie pie and beans.’ But he’s soon back and straight in there again.

“On paper, ‘Scottish archive film footage with accompanying soundtrack by a band you’re unlikely to have heard of’ probably sounds a dull night out to most, so the full spectacle of big band plus film on the big screen caught a lot of folk off-guard, with grown men bursting into tears, the lot. The emotional punch at certain key moments is as powerful as any blockbuster attempts to do the same. We were very surprised because as a band we were basically counting beats and listening to metronomes for the entire 69 minutes, and not performing songs in the usual fashion. Most of those around me were following a score, FFS!”

He did actually write, ‘FFS’ there, which makes it sound more like the wondrous Caledonian/Californian supergroup collaboration when Franz Ferdinand joined forces with Sparks. Anyway, carry on, Kenny …

“And it’s that last point we’re attempting to address this time around. We’ll be using my regular live band of the past five years, the band that played on the Astronaut Meets Appleman album in fact, making use of our electronica side with a dose of modular synths to boot, with our cues all visual this time, meaning we’ll be playing those songs instead of just trying to keep up with a film edit. A few of the soundtrack songs have stayed with our live set, and evolved, and one song covered by Simple Minds at the end of last year.

“Any sound design will be worked into a musical setting and played live too. On machines.”

I guess inevitably there are traces of your Scottish heritage captured within that film soundtrack. Did your parents experience the album, film and live shows first time around?

“My folks haven’t seen the live show yet, and no doubt my Dad would fall asleep 10 minutes in if it airs on TV again, but I’d like to think they’d hear some familiar, family turns of phrase throughout. My gran for example has had a few of her choice phrases appropriated and poeticised.”

I mentioned The Magnetic North, for whom Erland Cooper continues to put Orkney back on the cultural map in certain circles, celebrating another proud part of your homeland through his own sonic journey. But did you ever wonder what it was about From Scotland With Love that resonated with so many of us? I mean, as a Surrey lad exiled in Lancashire for 25 years, with nothing more Scottish about me than my first name, it can’t be just some vague Caledonian calling, surely … however much those pipes on ‘Melin Wynt’ grab me. Did you get the impression your audience grew overnight through the film, the likes of me finally catching up with King Creosote?

“Yes, there is indeed a new awareness of King Creosote via DVD sales of From Scotland With Love, largely as gifts to relatives abroad I believe, and the screening of the film on BBC4, and this new audience arriving late to the party has in later years chosen to sit through some unexpected and largely unrecognisable song performances from us.”

As we were talking about family before, would you say you and your brothers were fairly competitive around each other with your ventures? Did that love of music chiefly come from your father and his ceilidh band success? And was it always a career for your Dad, or was he working outside music at some stage?

On Board: Kenny Anderson, 25 years and counting sailing under the King Creosote mast (Photo: Sean Dooley)

“We used to be very competitive, through our 20s and early 30s I’d say, and it was the decision to rescue my younger brother Iain (aka Pip Dylan) from a midge-infested Mull to then drag him round Europe behind a double bass that drove Gordon (aka Lone Pigeon), Iain’s twin, to do more with the fledgling Beta Band whilst in art school. Now, though, we don’t ever get near the subject of music, what with aliens and farming simulator to enthuse over, phones long switched off for at least two of us, dogs on leads for two of them, and who can read those tiny words anyway? Glasses, hearing aids, backaches, etc.”

Funny he should mention The Beta Band. I hadn’t put two and two together there until a conversation with Rob from Sonic PR namechecking that acclaimed 1996/2004 Fife outfit, for whom those singing their praises including Oasis and Radiohead. But let’s not spoil Kenny’s flow.

“The music life of my Dad rather than the music itself was probably the catalyst for me running off with a busking band aged 22 instead of applying for engineering jobs. I fought with an accordion from age seven, kept it quiet at school of course, Iain bred cockatiels and Gordon led a teenage pack of smalltown hoodlums. My sister Lynne played the records indoors, but for us three boys just a healthy dose of manhunt, skateboards, Starsky & Hutch, Scalextric and ZX81s.

“My Dad did have a job as an insurance man then as a bank teller, and I have a vague early memory of him coming home after teatime in a suit before flying out the door again, but being 20 years my senior I reckon he’s been full-time musician since falling out with my Mum over the authenticity of the moon landings.”

Brilliant. And how about the next generation – is your eldest daughter following in your footsteps, career-wise? And are there signs that your youngest children may be?

“My eldest is at Dundee Uni studying history, with no clue what to do next, Middle is singing all the pop songs from the shows and beyond copying her elder cousin’s dance steps, Youngest is still shouting and hooked on Baby Jake. I’m hoping one of them will go out as the KC tribute act Kid Creosote before too long and let me concentrate on my memoirs.”

How will the live shows work, and how will that differ from first time around?

“The original From Scotland With Love live outings were made possible funding-wise thanks to projects like the Scottish Year of Homecoming. The rest was accidental, and the reason it’s happening again is that one of our best performances in 2015 took place outdoors on a rare sunny evening in Kelvingrove Park for a promoter who, like most of us Scots, is in dire need of another such roaming in the gloaming.”

Looking back to the optimism and celebration at the heart of the 2012 Olympics in London and the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, we seem to have fallen some way amid the uncomfortable reality of austerity policies in Brexit Britain. We certainly need cheering up in light of recent political happenings. Was that part of your reason to revive this soundtrack album?

“Partly true. I agreed to revisit From Scotland With Love because there are very few occasions now when I get to bring such a large band on board, and it just feels like five years on is as good a time as any. If we left it for 10 years, I could transport half of my lot, me included, for free using our bus passes, so even our rock’n’roll use-by date is on the near horizon.

“As I mentioned already we are approaching it in a different way, fully reclaiming the ‘live’ part of ‘live soundtrack’, and not so much as bringing it up to date as bringing it …”

Kenny tails off for a bit there.

“Sorry, that was a phonecall to set a funeral date.

“Ach, I’ve lost my train of thought. One moment.”

He’s back soon enough though, to the previous question.

“Line-up, that’s it. The core of the KC band has been Geeko on drums, Des Lawson on keys, Gogs Maclean on double/electric bass, the Young Team on fiddle and guitar, with PHA11 on cello. To this stellar line-up I’ve asked Mairearad Green to play accordion and pipes, onthefly to bring his MPC and drum machines, and finally Lomond Campbell to bring his modular genius to the mix. There are at least two listed above to cover my ass when it comes to acoustic guitar mishaps.”

Do you enjoy the challenge of working with a band, or are you more at ease as a one-man operation?

“Playing live I’m definitely more at ease with a band around me, although of late I baulk at the organisation of it all, and the logistics of bringing my lot together – from Ullapool, Fort William, Mull, Perth, Falkirk, Blantyre and Fife – is, um, interesting. Not to mention the expense. As for recording I prefer going it alone and at home for as far into the project as possible, bring in the professional players once the studio clock starts ticking. Having said that, I do really like the ease of playing smaller rooms with smaller audiences, so in future I might flip to playing more solo shows and release greatest hits compilations, live in concert with vocal overdubs type recordings.”

I wonder if there’s a part of you pinching yourself that you’re playing iconic venues such as the Barbican (again), Bridgewater Hall, and these wonderful big-name Scottish halls. Do you get nervous before shows? Does it all tend to click into place the moment you’re up and running?

“I’m no more or less fazed by a big stage than I am when having to walk through a tiny audience to reach no stage, and as a band we just tend to huddle up as though we were on a wee stage anyway. This From Scotland With Love project requires A LOT of concentration, so I doubt we’ll notice where we are or who we’re playing to until the lights go up at the end and we get to fully appreciate the majesty of our surroundings.

“Some venues seem to have jittery nerves built into their very fabric. On our Astronaut tour in early 2016 for example we were coasting along until Cambridge, many shows into the tour. Without anyone saying a word, we were all fidgety and restless, congregating in amongst the ventilation pipes and empty crates of the loading bay backstage when our support act Charlie Cunningham, en route to the stage, blurted out how nervous he was tonight. Vodka shots all round after that.

“But nobody keeps their nerves beyond the second or third song I’d say, unless something goes very awry for an individual, which rarely happens. I usually make a very obvious howler early on and that seems to put everyone at ease.”

You’ve certainly been prolific in the amount of material shared with the world so far. But it’s not a straight-forward path to negotiate for us catching up. Since Astronaut Meets Appleman alone we’ve had the Bound of the Red Deer collaboration with Michael Johnston, a re-release of The Queens of Brush County; Greetings from Hamilton, Canada; the Lino and Your Henchmen releases. You clearly remain a busy man. Is there a new record on its way?

“I took a year out when turning 50, and by year out I mean a year only doing as I like. I’d become very despondent over the dwindling sales of records and the knock-on effect of this on playing live shows, especially when Astronaut charted on such embarrassingly few sales and our biggest audiences to date were fully ignorant of there even being a new album. So I chose instead to forget all about albums, travel, tours, promotion, budgeting, blah de blah, and instead played 50 gigs in the pub up the road over the year, revisiting my back-catalogue, playing dozens of covers, playing my 23rd album 23 times and so on.

“I took a leaf out of Jon Hopkins’ book and agreed to play shows at a distance only if well paid, or incredibly good fun, and gave myself a break from songwriting altogether. To stave off the panics I normally aim for between 12 and 20 songs written and recorded each year.

“I took a leaf out of (East Neuk artist) Keny Drew’s book and followed my daftest musical ideas to their illogical conclusions.

“I worked on my house, tidied up decades of clutter, stopped fretting.

“There are plenty new home recordings, but not anything recognisable as the King Creosote of late, I’d say. Side-projects – Keny Drew’s ‘KY10’ being the most focused I suppose, with Mairearad Green’s ‘BuoyGull’ close behind – have allowed me to confidently explore music outside of songs. ‘KY10’ is a comic character written by Keny Drew, original pre-printed pages made of stained glass artworks, with the bulk of the story narrated by retired Anstruther fisherman Ronnie Hughes. I just add noises, tape loops, samples, and this satisfies my experimental and electronic music side. Mairearad Green lets me hear pibrochs and accordion tunes for which I delve into a book of discarded lyrics written before 1993, and this satisfies my folky music wanderings, keeps me on my musical toes.

“As for recordings, I seem to have lost all interest in what happens, or rather what doesn’t happen, after I’m happy with the final headphone mix. Never thought I’d say that, but the album’s dead is what I’ve been led to understand, and yet I’m an albums man is what I’m continually told. In short, streaming stats and songs as email attachments hold zero interest for me, and I’ve never been comfortable with my face in videos, so YouTubers opening up boxes of new tools and so on can relax. A song these days seems best when tarted up as a bit of timely radio promo, and on that score there is at least one track languishing right this minute on a protools system in the West of Scotland awaiting live drums. Wahey.

“Since my 2017 year out, and working in collaboration with visual artists, I’ve looped back to the beginning of my KC life to a time when I recorded purely for recording’s sake, no thought of a listening audience. Once again, I find I’m recording at home, freed from the anxieties of how my new music might sound to anyone else’s ears, and I’m certainly not thinking too hard on what happens with live shows beyond March. My tinnitus is verging on ferocious, so it’s probably just as well.”

Kenny seems to hardly ever stand still. After initial forays into live performance guesting in short slots with his Dad’s band – playing accordion while his sister danced – he studied at university in Edinburgh then busked his way around Europe for a couple of years before re-settling on his old patch.

In an interview with Nick Major for the Scottish Review of Books in 2016, he revealed, “My music taste varied. I was into old electro: Simple Minds around the era of ‘Love Song’ and ‘I Travel’. I dimly remember being warned to stay clear of the St. Andrews’ punks. They looked brutal. They shoved pins through their ears and wore bondage trousers. They were a real alien invasion. But I missed all of that era and got into Mod and Ska. I went to university in 1985 and was listening to Scottish bands like Win, who I think became Nectarine No.9, The Bluebells, Orange Juice and Aztec Camera. Hearing Dexys Midnight Runners’ ‘Come On Eileen’ made me think I hadn’t been totally wasting my time learning the accordion, but still I rejected the instrument, and in university I bought sequencers, samplers and a 4-track to record on. My earliest endeavours in song-writing were drum-machine, sequencer-based. It wasn’t until my fourth year that I tried to learn the acoustic guitar.”

Kenny was barely in his mid-20s when he set up his label, and continued to work part-time at St. Andrews’ Woollen Mill up until its closure in 1999. Before King Creosote there was Skuobhie Dubh Orchestra and Khartoum Heroes, and from 2006 there was also eight-piece Scottish-Canadian folk supergroup project, The Burns Unit, borne out of a songwriting retreat, fellow contributors including Emma Pollock and Karine Polwart. How did that work, considering the miles between members? And are you set to work with Jon Hopkins again, or set out on other collaborative projects?

“The Burns Unit disbanded in 2012, I think. Musical indifferences? I kept working with Michael Johnston in Canada though, and our second foray into the studio has been somewhat thwarted by recent events and my refusal to board an airplane. No Jon Hopkins collaborations on the cards, no. That’d be a bit like the time my brother Gordon swam up behind a swan and grabbed its legs, except Jon would have the sense to twist his head and break my arm, or whatever it is a swan breaks.”

I think I’m right in saying this year marks a quarter of a century working under the King Creosote name. Has that crept up on you? And has it ever been in doubt that this was something you could make a living from, not least in these penny-pinching days of austerity?

“I’ve made a quiet fuss over the 25-year anniversary of KC and Fence. There’s already been an exhibition of KC and Fence art, and I’m planning to revisit my 2009 live album. It took until 2006 for King Creosote to become more or less a full-time concern, but in 2020 I’ve still no sense of security in the job and half expect a redundancy offer any month now. If only I was employable …”

You seem to have had run-ins with labels etc., having worked at cottage (or perhaps croft) industry level through to major concerns. You’ve clearly learned a lot along the way. Is there anything you know now that you wished you knew in the early days that might have saved a little stress?

“Yes, I tried everything, from saying ‘yes’ when every fibre of my being screamed ‘no’, to reigning in expectations and cutting costs, to describing the reality rather than running off with the dream, and so on. It’s taken me three years to shut all of it out. My one regret is that I couldn’t find another part-time job as good as I had with the St Andrews Woollen Mill until it closed in 1999.

“Domino have been very kind and are patiently awaiting some new songs.”

You’ve gone from CD-R to CD, digital and vinyl releases, and it seems that people have rediscovered the cassette tape again now. Are you a vinyl man yourself? And have you a large physical collection?

“Just before Christmas I moved my vinyl collection up a floor and was pleasantly surprised by the sheer weight of it, especially the number of 7” and 12” singles. I didn’t think I had much in the way of new vinyl, but in fact I have more records still in cellophane than I do second-hand from the ‘70s and ‘80s, so yes, a fair amount. I still play CDs in the car when Radio 4, 3 then 2 start to annoy me, but mainly tapes and vinyl played in the house now for other than a purge of my cassettes at a car boot sale in 1993, I’ve kept absolutely everything, and any new music I make goes onto cassette. I’ve no internet or TV at home.”

Hat’s Entertainment: Kenny Anderson, the artist performing and recording as King Creosote (Photo: Sean Dooley)

With so many King Creosote releases down the years, it’s rather inevitable if a few of us have missed out on some here and there. Where should we start? Heading back from the rather splendid Astronaut Meets Appleman, or start at the beginning and head forward?

“It being the 25th anniversary of Fence and KC I most recently dug out four-track cassette recordings from 1995 and added in my latest tape loops and noise samples, singing over my younger self too. Very weird. There are moments on 1999’s ‘round of balls’ that I’ve tried, and failed, to recapture many times, and there are moments on my latest efforts for KY10 that I was striving for in 1996. Not only are my albums made up of loops and samples, reworked songs and off-the-cuff experiments, as a collection they fall into a pattern of swirling eddies and spirals. You can hear the switch from analogue cassette tape to digital and back to tape, old mic to tube, valve to solid state to 8,16,48 bit and back to valve, but hopefully you can hear when emotions ran high and to the fore only to retreat to allow songs to stand proud before happy accidents loomed large and nonsense took over.

“I can do better. Holograms, that’s it. A section cut from any KC record ought to let you rebuild the entire catalogue.”

And what happens when you come off this tour? Will there be a holiday, or will you be straight back to work?

We hope to display our ‘KY10’ project as a moving exhibition, starting on Cambo Estate in April, my part being largely improvised samples, tape loops and accordion fluffs I’m afraid. JAMP nights with Keny Drew are ongoing and building, and we’ll plod on with some hi-fi new KC band material when I remind myself that I used to write songs!

“I’m working on a long boring speech as part of KC’s 25th that takes in some career highs and lows, but largely concerns itself with the records I’ve made and how it is possible to arrive at self-indulgent album no.60, something with no idea at all of what should happen next. I largely fret when on holiday, so what with recent events taking their sorry toll I’ve decided that this is the year to edit the diaries, start on the scrapbook, sketch away on paper and on tape.

“And scrape off more wood chip.”

Neuk Vision: Kenny Anderson, aka King Creosote, from Scotland with more love next month (Photo: Sean Dooley)

King Creosote provide live accompaniment to the film From Scotland With Love at Edinburgh Usher Hall (Saturday, March 7th); Inverness Eden Court Theatre (Sunday, March 8th); Aberdeen Music Hall (Monday, March 9th); Perth Concert Hall (Wednesday, March 11th); Glasgow Royal Concert Hall (Thursday, March 12th); London Barbican Centre (Saturday, March 14th); and Manchester Bridgewater Hall (Monday, March 16th, 0161 907 9000). For tickets visit or the relevant venue box office. And for more about the film and the band, head to and


About writewyattuk

A freelance writer and family man being swept along on a wave of advanced technology, but somehow clinging on to reality. It's only a matter of time ... A highly-motivated scribbler with a background in journalism, business and life itself. Away from the features, interviews and reviews you see here, I tackle novels, short stories, copywriting, ghost-writing, plus TV, radio and film scripts for adults and children. I'm also available for assignments and write/research for magazines, newspapers, press releases and webpages on a vast range of subjects. You can also follow me on Facebook via and on Twitter via @writewyattuk. Legally speaking, all content of this blog (unless otherwise stated) is the intellectual property of Malcolm Wyatt and may only be reproduced with permission.
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