Interview and photos by Dawn
As their name suggests, Mull Historical
Society are a band who hail from the island of Mull, just
off the west coast of Scotland. Their 2001 hit Animal Cannabus
was championed by Radio One’s Steve Lamacq, while their debut
album Loss was one of Q magazine’s Best 50 Albums
of last year. Their recent Top 40 hit Watching Xanadu was
released to coincide with a UK tour which saw the band play to a
capacity crowd at Middlesbrough’s Cornerhouse.
If you’ve been watching satellite TV in the
past couple of months, chances are you’ll have spotted Mull
mainman Colin MacIntyre once or twice. Relentlessly
promoting Watching Xanadu, he appeared on a number of shows,
perhaps most notably Sky’s Saturday morning hit Soccer
"It was just promotion for the sake of it,
really – I did a full weekend of it," admits Colin as
we talk to him before the Middlesbrough gig. "It’s fine.
I mean, for me it’s just about the music and sometimes you
find yourself on things like Soccer AM and you realise,
‘I’m not a football pundit, so what am I doing on it?’
But I think it’s a good show and the guy, Tim Lovejoy, has
a radio show as well and he’s been really supportive of the
band. I quite enjoyed Soccer AM – it was a good laugh.
I wish my football skills had been a bit better though," he
smiles ruefully. "I took a lot of abuse about that!"
If you didn’t catch any of the
interviews, you’re likely to have seen the fantastically original
video for Watching Xanadu, picked up by the likes of MTV,
which features Colin – in the guise of a giant hare –
being pursued around a dog track by greyhounds.
"Our first two videos were done in Mull,"
explains Colin, "but that one we did in London at the Walthamstow
dog track. It was one of the busiest nights of the year –
there were thousands of people there - and I had to go out between
each race and do all that stuff for the video. They must’ve
just thought I was pre-race entertainment or something!" For
those who haven’t seen the video, Colin dons a unique brown
suit and a fetching pair of furry ears. "I know how these chickens
in shopping malls feel now," says Colin, "I just felt
On the music
side of things, much has been made of the similarities between Mull’s
album and the Beach Boys. A compliment, surely?
"I’d like to think it’s complimentary!"
Colin laughs, sounding a little unsure. "I mean, I don’t
have the Beach Boys’ back catalogue or anything, but I get
reviews like that and think, ‘oh right, I’d better go
and buy some Brian Wilson then!’ So it’s the other way
round, as opposed to me listening to it then trying to sound like
it. I’m flattered by the comparisons really."
When asked about his musical influences, Colin looks
thoughtful. "I listen to a lot of classical stuff – Bach
and things like that. But it’s just a mixture of stuff really.
As a kid, I’d listen to The Beatles, the Stones, Bowie and
Dylan all the time. It’s not really stuff I listen to now,
but I think you sort of store it up. Influences are weird –
you just get a mix of things and you make it into your own."
He smiles mischievously. "You try and hide where you stole
So are there any songs you wish
"Oh, there’s loads! I mean, I love stuff
like The Real Slim Shady. I love what Eminem does –
I think from a songwriting point of view he’s really clever.
It’s incredible how he puts it together. But I could say a
million songs, you know? I also like Daft Punk – I’ve
got it as an intro song tonight – Digital Love. I
love that song."
So what have you been buying lately?
"The last album I bought was Gorillaz. I haven’t
listened to it yet – I’ve got it with me. Oh no –
I bought Gorillaz before I came on tour, but I bought a Bach album
in Inverness a few days ago, so that was the last album I bought."
He pauses and grins. "And the last single I bought was my own
to try and increase the sales, if I’m honest!" he laughs.
"I don’t really buy singles."
So what’s next for Mull Historical Society?
Your first three videos have all featured animals, so where do you
see the next single taking you?
"It depends what the next single is," says Colin.
"I think it’s going to be a new song – it won’t
be off the album – so in that case I’m not quite sure. Depending
on which one it is, I’ll probably start thinking about it soon –
but I think we’ll move away from animals!"
Thanks to Colin and his management
for the interview. Visit www.colinmacintyre.com
for more information on Colin's latest project.
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