Scottish folk outfit Breabach will perform an afternoon show at Martians Cafe this Sunday as part of their current tour. Formed in 2005, the band has won several Scots Trad Music Awards, including the 2016 ‘Album of the Year’ gong. That album is Astar, their fifth album overall. As well as a bunch of touring in 2018, the band will return to the studio to work on album number six. We chat to band leader James Lindsay ahead of the shows.
Hey James, thanks for chatting to Forte! You’re on a massive Aussie tour right now. What keeps bringing you guys back to Australia?
Well, it’s been maybe a year or two since our last trip to Australia and since then we’ve brought out a new album, and everything came together nicely, so we managed to get a wee tour together.
Your fifth release Astar is super cool and includes some Aussie musicians (such as Yidaki (didgeridoo) player Mark Atkins, as well as extraordinary Aboriginal artist Yirrmal Marika), how was the whole process of getting them on board and including them?
Well, the album is kind of a dedication to the travels that we’ve been having over the past few years and we’ve actually had quite a big influence from Australia and some of the people we’ve met from there. We were involved with a project called Boomerang which we performed in Australia and New Zealand and in Glasgow as well, and that was set up for the Commonwealth Games back in 2014, I think, and through that we got to work with some indigenous artists from Australia and New Zealand as well so we definitely wanted to bring some of that influence onto the album. It was really quite important for us to get them involved and pay homage to that. We actually did all the recording online, so we would just send tracks back and forth so it made it work out amazingly well.
Is this something you will continue to do, include artists from difference countries on your tracks, or is this something that has been done purely for this album?
I mean it is quite specific to this album, but something that we love doing is collaborating. We’ve done it a lot over the years. Whenever we travel, we like to meet other musicians, jam, hang out and it’s something we always like to do and we try to incorporate it into our lives show if we can as well. As far as recording, it is quite specific to this album.
And what made you guys want to include this in the album? Was there a certain experience you guys had that made you want to reflect on your travels, or did it just happen?
The Boomerang thing for instance was one thing, and we also got to hang out with The Black Arm Band in Melbourne for a few days and we made some music together, so that was another influence. We also spent a lot of time in Quebec over in Canada and we had such a good time over there so we wanted to bring some of that music in. As well as bringing the guest musicians in, we also wanted to write music that was inspired by our travels so a lot of the material on the album is directly influences by other cultures.
While travelling are you consciously inspired by sights and sounds, or is that more of an in-the-moment, natural thing that happens?
I don’t know if we are always directly looking for inspiration; we keep our minds and ears open, but quite often collaborations and things will happen in the spur of the moment. It could be in a jam session late at night, or we could meet someone at a festival and just have some fun.
In saying that, you guys have been together for a few years now and seem to have a lot of fun. What are some of the things that keep you guys together and keep you doing what you’re doing?
We all love playing and we’re good friends as well, so that always helps. We all live in Glasgow so we like to socialise together and we just try to keep music fun. We do tour a lot, but we enjoy each others company and we enjoy the music more.
Release: Fifth album Astar out now.
When & Where: Northcote Social Club, Northcote – March 24 & Martians Bar and Cafe, Dean’s Marsh – March 25.