Interview: Callum Beattie

Callum Beattie isn’t like other musicians out there; thanks to his wit and gallus behaviour he has ‘performed’ with REM on the main stage at T in the Park and signed autographs for Kaiser Chiefs, all before getting his own record deal.

Now set to release his debut album Lights In Stereo we sat down with Callum in King Tuts to chat about how his cheeky antics have got him working with members from The Verve and Kaiser Chiefs.

Fresh from three radio shows and video promotion at Glasgow’s Hard Rock Café, Callum is in good spirits and so he should be with the video for his new single ‘We Are Stars’ going live and his album set to be released sometime in August or September.

Callum tells us that he has grafted to get where he is now, “my story differs a lot from people who have been on the X Factor or things like that, I’ve done it the hard way. I’ve done hundreds of gigs from really grotty bars to clubs, anything I got my hands on I would play it” and there have been some interesting gigs along the way.

Having been invited along by Forth One Radio to perform at the Usher Hall, Callum got speaking to Pixie Lott who was set to perform in Dublin the next day, “I pretended I was someone, I told her I had a sold out show in Glasgow. In reality I played in front of 2,500 that night and the following day I was in Edinburgh with, no joke, a guy sitting reading his paper and his dog; the dog was more interested in what I was doing.”

Moving to London saw Callum’s opportunities grow and his music develop. Taking his life experiences and making it into music Callum hopes people can relate to it, he explained, “I’ve used experiences with my dad as a single parent and all the bumps I’ve had in my life and put it to music. It’s all autobiographical so hopefully people can relate to that,” with Kaiser Chief Nick Hodgson and Coldplay’s producer, Ken Nelson Lights In Stereo already has some high profile backing.

Callum said, “I’ve been writing songs with Nick, two of them are going to be on the record. One of them is called ‘San Antonio’ and it’s my favourite one on the record,” but Callum urges people to listen to all the songs on the album as “they all tell a different story and it might have some impact on their lives too.”

Time in the studio saw Nick McCabe from The Verve getting involved in the recording process which Callum enjoyed as he got to see a rock star at work, making new sounds and learning from the pros.

Lights In Stereo has been produced in such a way to ensure it is as timeless and authentic as possible. Callum enthused, “I wanted a record that would still sound good in 30 years. Ken invited me up to his house in Liverpool to listen to some demos and by the second song he was in. We went for that organic sound as we didn’t want our production to sound like everything else in the chart. You hear a good song and its just good production. I wanted my songs to do the talking; I don’t want people to think about the production when they’re listening to it, I want them to think about how good the song is.”

The Edinburgh singer songwriter is certainly onto big things with his forthcoming album and a phonebook of famous pals already. Callum reminisced about his first encounter with Nick Hodgson whilst the Kaiser Chiefs were performing at Edinburgh’s Meadow Park. Using his high vis Tesco jacket Callum blagged his way backstage in the hopes of passing over his demo.

Getting the chance to speak with Nick directly, Callum said, “I promise you one day I’ll be playing on that stage, the band thought I was nuts and got me to sign my autograph. When I moved to London my management asked me, after I had been signed, is there anyone you would like to write with, I said Nick. Two days later Nick sent me a text with a picture of the autograph I gave him and the rest is history.”

There aren’t many upcoming musicians these days that have a host of interesting and funny stories on how they’ve managed to get to where they are now alongside dedication and hard work. With festival shows later in the year and his own headline tour featuring a full band in the books, Callum Beattie is a breath of fresh air in the musical world with his approachableness and well written, melodic songs to boot; watch this space.

To find out when Callum is touring near you, click here.

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