Francis Macdonald,
The TVD First Date

“While waiting for Teenage Fanclub to complete our next studio album I’ve been on a bit of a journey, making music for filmmakers and listening to classical and soundtrack music. When I decided to make Music For String Quartet, Piano & Celeste it was important that it be available—albeit in a limited quantity—on vinyl, as well as on CD and digital.”

“I took a lot of time planning this album. I used a good studio with a good piano (Mogwai’s Castle Of Doom in Glasgow) and a great string quartet. I learned a lot about writing for strings. I pushed myself to play all the piano and celeste parts, etc. I wanted to be able to hold an actual record in my hand at the end of the process and feel I’d gotten somewhere.

The first vinyl single I ever got was “Jilted John” by Jilted John—it was a requested present for my 8th birthday. I wanted it because my big cousin said he liked it.

I still enjoy it whenever I hear it.

My first album was the soundtrack to Grease. I hadn’t seen the film but Olivia Newton John’s trousers (pants in the US) confused and intrigued my 9 year-old mind in equal measure.

After that me and two of my elder sisters chipped in for The Police Outlandos d’Amour. I was heartbroken when “I Can’t Stand Losing You” got a bad scratch and wouldn’t play properly. I had been to see them—with The Cramps supporting—in Glasgow when I was eight years old (!). My big sister took me. It was sensory overload. Stewart Copeland made me want to be a drummer—so it’s all his fault.

My biggest musical hero is probably Bob Dylan. The first LP I got by him was a second-hand copy of Freewheelin’ and then the live album Hard Rain. Those two LPs were quite an odd way to start my Bob Dylan collection—then again maybe it was as good start as any.

The next LP I want to get is the soundtrack to Death Watch, a film by the French director Bertrand Tavernier shot in Glasgow in 1980 with Harry Dean Stanton and Harvey Keitel. It’s quite a nutty film—dated but ahead of its time. The soundtrack is by the late Antoine Duhamel. I wrote to him once and sent him some Jura whisky. One of the tracks on Music For String Quartet… is named for him.”
Francis Macdonald

Francis Macdonald’s acclaimed album Music For String Quartet, Piano & Celeste arrives in stores on February 19 via Redeye. On vinyl.

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PHOTO: NIALL WEBSTER

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