Aidan Moffat is the headline spoken word act at Rally & Broad: The Eureka Moment (Glasgow) on Sunday 30th Nov, 2.30pm, Stereo, Renfield Lane, alongside The Strange Blue Dreams, Martin O’Connor, Rosie Garland and Chrissy Barnacle. £5. Tickets on the door.
1: You are a man of many talents. Tell us about something you are working on at the moment.
I’m actually in a fortnight of limbo right now, having just finished an album for release next year, and now I’m a bit bored. I’m not quite sure what I’ll work on next, I’ve got plenty of ideas but I’m just waiting for one of them to take hold. I’ve been meaning to write a book of short stories for years now, and I’ve got a few of them half-finished and some sketched out, but I can’t seem to find the discipline that long-form writing – i.e. longer than a song! – requires; I’m too easily distracted and my attention span’s awful. So I expect I’ll start one or two of those and then just abandon them again to start another record. My current thing that’s out there is a children’s book published by Cargo in Glasgow, beautifully illustrated by Emmeline Pidgen, and I’m very proud of it. I did an event a wee while ago where I read it to a group of kids and I loved it – they can be a tough crowd, but very rewarding. I may well try another one of those too, I’ve got a few ideas sketched out, but we’ll see.
2: Where would you say is “home”?
I was born in Falkirk and grew up there and around it, but I’ve lived in Glasgow for fifteen years now and I’d consider it home. It’s always where I wanted to be – as a teenager, I was always coming through on the train. Because Falkirk’s right in the middle, I had easy access to both Glasgow and Edinburgh, but it was always Glasgow that won. Partly it was the music venues and record shops and comic shops, but I’ve always been drawn to the grime of Glasgow too; it just always felt more like the kind of city I wanted to live in. I love Edinburgh, but there’s an edge and vibrancy to Glasgow – especially in its music scene – that’s pretty unique in Scotland.
3: You’re doing a spoken word set for us at Rally & Broad, but on Twitter describe yerself as a man who “sings songs.” What tends to come first – the music or the words?
It depends what I’m working on and who I’m working with, but generally speaking most things are adaptable. Sometimes I’ll write things specifically for the page – one of those short stories I mentioned is in the form of a short screenplay, for instance – but most of the time the words can be songs or poems or whatever. Sometimes I’ll start with a phrase I like and then create a melody as a framework, but it’s never the final song; and sometimes I’ll be given a piece of music to write to, which is how I mostly worked in Arab Strap and with Bill Wells. I probably prefer that way of working, to be honest – being your own boss is great, but there’s a buzz you get from a collaboration that can be really fruitful and inspiring. Plus, touring on your own’s no fun at all.
4: What is the best thing that has happened to you because of being involved in the Scottish arts scene?
I’m really not sure, but I played the Barrowlands this year and that was pretty amazing. I did cheat a little by making the gig free, mind you – it was publicly funded as part of the Commonwealth Games Culture program, so that was part of the stipulations – but nonetheless it was quite a buzz. The first proper gig I ever went to was at the Barrowlands (David Byrne on his Rei Momo tour in 1989), and I’ve always been in awe of the place. But generally I’m just happy to be part of it – Scotland has a long tradition of being very creative and prolific, and I’m just chuffed that I’ve made a contribution.
5: And the worst…?
I honestly can’t think of anything, but then I’m not the sort of person to dwell on negative things. I’ve certainly played some howling gigs, but everybody has, that’s just life. Maybe I’m just in a really good mood today, but I can honestly say that can’t think of anything bad. It comes with being a middle-aged dad – I’ve got much bigger things to worry about now.
6: Finally, the theme of this month’s Rally & Broad is “The Eureka Moment.” How will you be interpreting that (if at all) in your set?
In all truth, I haven’t given it any thought yet, but if I do address the theme I can promise it’ll be as loose an interpretation as you’re ever likely to hear, ha!