Aberdeen will mark the live premiere of new material from Mercury Prize-nominated Scottish singer/songwriter C Duncan.
The 29-year-old will play songs from recently released third album Health live at the Lemon Tree next Friday.
Having recorded his first two acclaimed albums in the isolation of a bedroom studio, Duncan has ventured out.
In a change of direction he has worked with other producers, engineers and musicians for the first time including Elbow’s Craig Potter.
Duncan said: “Aberdeen is the first gig of the tour and there will be a lot of new tracks.
“Hopefully by the time we come to Aberdeen people will have listened to the album (released March 29) and will know what they are in for.
“This will be the fourth time I have played at the Lemon Tree.
“I had been up to Aberdeen a few times before but it was only really in the passing.
“The first time I really got to properly explore Aberdeen and get to know the city was when I played there.
“It is an awesome city and the Lemon Tree is a great wee venue.”
Multi-instrumentalist Duncan, the C is for Christopher, emerged in 2015 with debut album Architect which was crafted in his home-built studio.
A genre defying release, Architect heralded the emergence of a unique, fresh voice in Scottish music.
Intricately layered, it ranged from dream pop to electronica-seeped songs and that vision was shortlisted for the Mercury Prize.
Follow-up album 2016’s The Midnight Sun was also self-produced and equally acclaimed.
After years within the cocoon of self-production and complete autonomy was it a leap into the unknown collaborating for Health?
“Totally,” he said.
“It was quite daunting and nerve-wracking going into the studio for the first time as I am so used to working by my own processes.
“I have my own way of doing things, so working with someone else and to their schedule, I wasn’t sure how it would pan out.
“I had somehow managed to avoid studios until then.
“This time however I just wanted to try something different.
“I wanted to try to make my album sound bigger and more luscious than I could do myself at home.
“That was the main reason for deciding to go into the studio and do the third album properly.
“Fortunately Craig (Potter) the producer and myself were on the same wavelength.
“After the first day was out of the way it all felt very natural and turned into a lot of fun.
“It was great and I absolutely loved it.”
Teaming up with Elbow keyboardist and producer Potter was the natural progression from a friendship forged on the road in a coast-to-coast tour of the United States.
Potter has produced artists including Peter Gabriel, I Am Kloot and Stornaway as well as overseeing all the Elbow albums.
Duncan said: “I went on tour with Elbow through the UK about a year-and-a-half ago.
“Then I toured the United States with them and got to know the band pretty well.
“It was great as I got to see an awful lot of the United States.
“Elbow are such a nice band it was like being on a big holiday as we went on a coast-to-coast tour, down the east and up the west.
“We played so many different cities which was fascinating.
“We had been across before to Los Angeles to do an industry thing but that was our first tour of the United States.
“Craig and I had already started talking about it (producing a record) when we were touring the States.
“I decided he would be the perfect person to work as there were a lot of similarities in our ways of doing things.
“So it seemed like a natural thing to ask Craig.
“Having someone else to bounce production ideas off was really eye-opening for me.
“In the past I had been very controlling about how everything would sound but Health really showed me the benefit of working with others and made the whole process much less isolating’”
A deeply personal release, the elegantly arranged songs on Health explore themes of anxiety, love and sexuality.
Health became a cathartic process as the singer delved into areas he had previously felt uncomfortable exploring.
The epic track He Came From the Sun contemplates his own experience of coming out.
The song was composed around the time of the anti-gay purges in Chechnya with the main character depicted in the song an almost martyr-like figure who symbolises the on-going fight for gay rights.
He said: “He Came From The Sun is definitely the most personal track I have ever written and also the most epic.
“I wanted to get everything into it, strings and choir.
“It is a track that is very close to my heart.
“It is mostly about essentially embracing who you are and not letting other people sway you.”
A classically trained pianist and violinist, Duncan began writing songs in his early teens and earned a degree at The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.
Gaining a love of rock and pop he then added guitar and drums to his extensive playing repertoire and began recording.
Finally he mustered the courage to send the demos to FatCat Records, a label that also oversee releases from The Twilight Sad, PAWS and Honeyblood.
Bowled over by the material FatCat agreed to release Duncan’s debut album, Architect, on completion.
It was critically acclaimed and nominated for the Mercury Prize, losing out to Benjamin Clementine’s At Least for Now.
Was there any pressure to follow the success of Architecture?
“To be honest, not really because I had already started writing the follow-up before it (Mercury Prize) all came about,” he said.
“So I already had my mind set on what the next record was going to sound like.
“I think if I hadn’t already started writing and recording it then the pressures probably would have been a bit different.
“I would probably have thought I needed to do something similar to the first record, or whatever.
“Fortunately I had already started the new record.”
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