Touring with Fish and 'Love Disaster': A chat with Edinburgh's Calum Busby
Redhanded Magazine talks with Calum Busby about his debut single 'Love Disaster', as well as his musical experiences and inspirations.
Calum Busby has certainly experienced a lot as a musician. Writing music in his teenage years, he would make a regular appearance at the Edinburgh Festival in his twenties and then went on to support Marillion frontman Fish during his 2014 tour during exam season no less.
"That was a weird experience for me because I was at university at the time about to do my exams for that term when suddenly I got the news. So I was during uni revision and exams during the week and then going off to Exeter, Bristol or London, travelling for hours to play with Fish from the 80s prog rock band Marillion.
"It was a great experience, it was a scary experience. I felt very out of my depth at times but to play to 500 or 600 people a night was completely novel to me. To be sleeping on a tour bus and travelling with people who had been in the music industry for decades with all these stories to tell me was a great experience but hard to recount properly as I was in a strange state of mind, trying to pass my uni exams while feeling like a rock star at the same time."
Now living in Barcelona, Calum has become a regular of the local music scene and recorded his debut single 'Love Disaster' over a period of two years. The single is very much an international affair, featuring musicians from Israel, The Philippines, Catalunya and even a string quartet from Ecuador.
"It was a song that I wrote in Scotland that has been developed over the years. It was a gradual process as I was unhappy with parts of it and I got my producer to help me build it up after it had been recorded in the studio. Because Barcelona is a very international city we were gradually adding different musicians from different parts of the world."
"My producer is from Ecuador so when he went home at Christmas he said we could get some strings from the symphony which would have been super expensive if I had done it in Scotland so were lucky to have that privilege to use those musicians and they played great."
Love Disaster carries a lot of raw passion and vulnerability bouncing from tranquil introspection to dramatic outbursts of emotion. The track puts a lens on the often warped perceptions of love as well as the expectations we have of others as well as ourselves.
"The song talks about a distorted view of love and expectations of people from a personal perspective. I look back at a lot of the lyrics I wrote when I was younger and it seems that I had an anger in me about not being able to communicate properly with people. That's why you see the very vulnerable start that crescendos into a dramatic, cinematic overthetopness and then comes right back to the vulnerabilty and right back up. Thats probably representing my battle with my own conscious and what I want to believe. I can be very calm but then be very dramatic all of a sudden so I think I was trying to express that."
Calum draws from a wide variety of musical sources finding lyrical inspiration from the likes of Leonard Cohen and John Lennon while also tapping into contemporary music styles from the likes of The Last Shadow Puppets and Wolf Alice. These elements combined with Calum's self-deprecating and dry humor help forge his own unique style of music.
"Lyrically, recently I've been obsessed with people like Leonard Cohen and Nick Cave, thats were I see a lot of inspiration taking humor and dark lyrics and mixing them and at the same time adding a bit of sarcasm. The sound, maybe more contemporary acts like The Last Shadow Puppets in terms of the orchestral arrangements they add onto some songs. I also really like Wolf Alice and going back a bit, I think the Cure are a very important band. I'm not sure I sound like The Cure but the darkness in their music comes through for me."
"I'm very self-deprecating and dry as a person which can give me complications in a foreign country when you are trying to communicate an idea to someone, but that's definitely a part of my personality. Maybe its a defense mechanism, I suppose if your exposing your art and emotions, having that self-deprecating humor can be a barrier to feeling vulnerable so I think I use it for that purpose as well."
However, 'Love Disaster' is only the beginning with another song scheduled to release this summer. 'Obsessed With The Self' currently slated for July focuses on peoples obsessions with social media and showcases a different side of Calum's sound
"It's about how extreme individualism effects our mental health and the way we interact with other people. It sounds a lot different to 'Love Disaster' its got a Rolling Stones vibe, its a lot happier than 'Love Disaster' so hopefully it'll show my range. I'm looking forward to that, when we play it at gigs thats the song people go crazy to."
Be sure to check out 'Love Disaster' now available via Spotify