Tuesday, January 24, 2006

INTERVIEW with Dougie Maclean
Since his earliest days as a solo artist, Dougie Maclean has written song after song that speaks in the voice of his beloved homeland Scotland. Dunkeld Scotland to be exact where he lives with his wife Jenny in a restored schoolhouse that he once attended class in as a youth. It his here that Dougie founded Dunkeld Records. The label and studio that propels the music to eager ears around the world.

Armed at times (and often!) with nothing more than acoustic 6 string, Maclean has a solid knack for blending crisp folk lyric with a unique finger picking sound that remains fresh and pleasing to the ears of young and old around the world. Since taking the plunge and stepping out on his own in 1979 to pursue the solo spotlight (and with much success,) Dougie remains close to his roots. Shunning Major record labels to keep and retain creative control helps insure the quality and integrity he demands for himself and the music. Dougie Maclean simply has created some of the best music I have ever heard. Hollywood has noticed as well. His music has been used in TV Dramas, stage productions and even Major motion pictures.

Maclean is without a doubt a superstar in his genre and arguably the most widely acclaimed folk singer in the UK. Simply put, one listen to any album by Dougie Maclean and you can feel the appreciation in you soul for the man and his music. Born from this appreciation I am grateful for the chance I have had to interview Dougie. I think that you find it insightful and informative and I hope you will give his music a listen if you haven't already.

You can visit the Dougie Maclean official website here: WWW.DOUGIEMACLEAN.COM Dougie's new album INSIDE THE THUNDER is now available for sale on the site as well as past albums and Videos. (18 and counting!) The site also contain a plethora of other items such as concert information MP 3 downloads and of course a link to the Dougie Maclean blog! Even Scottish Folk Singers are into blogging! So without any further ado here is the interview!

CW: Dougie, thank you for taking time out from your busy schedule and sitting down for this interview.

CW:How did you develop your distinct finger picking style?
DM: I just listened to others and played and played!

CW:What brand(s) of guitar strings to you prefer?
DM: D'Addario medium phospho bronze.

CW:Will there be a concert DVD in the works?
DM: It is being made at present and features both solo and band material...available during the summer or maybe earlier!

CW:Any plans for a Dougie Maclean songbook/sheet music to be published and available for sale on the web or in stores?
DM:There are already 2 songbooks "Dougie Maclean Songs" and "Dougie MacLean Songs 2" Both are available from www.dougiemaclean.com .Also available is a CDRom "Interactive Songs" with 10 songs and how to play them...also available from our webshop.

CW:Caledonia has been called by some as the unofficial national anthem of Scotland. Did it occur to you when writing this song would or could evoke that type of emotional response?
DM I wrote the song many many years ago when I was on a beach in Brittany...as a genuinely homesick song. I had no idea that it would prove to be such a popular and well covered song!

CW:Some of your songs have been covered by other artists. How many and which single one would you like to see covered? If any?
DM: Many of my songs have indeed been covered by other artists. It's always a great compliment to have a song covered...though I don't write songs with covers by particular artists in mind, in mind..

CW: Any chance for a Boston area show?
DM: I've done many concerts over the years in and around Boston...hopefully with many more to come! the best way to find out what concerts are planned is to have a look at the CONCERT LIST on www.dougiemaclean.com. As soon as concerts are confirmed they are put up on the site.

CW: How do you reconcile the issue of creative control with artists on your record label vs the need for some commercial success? It takes money to run a label and often the battle between label and artist can be intense. As an artist and business person how do you keep the balance?
DM:Dunkeld Records is has always been an 'artist owned' label, with the artists involved promoting their releases largely through their concerts and own efforts, with back-up and some publishing and promo admin. done by us. We have always been fairly zennish in our approach to commercial success and other artists on our label have shared a similar approach. Artists have always been free to come and go...retaining full publishing and recording rights. Of late most of the recordings on our label have been mine as our office is increasing busy looking after my recording, concerts and publishing.

CW:Besides sales what defines a successful Album for you?
DM: A timeless album that you know you (and others) will always love to listen to.

CW:How has your style changed over the years? (Musically, Lyrical)
DM: I don't know that my style has changed that much. I've always written from the heart about what I know and want to share. I've always loved melody and harmony and exploring with words, experimenting with diverse instruments and different musicians...sometimes recordings are simple, sometimes more complex and produced...sometimes I perform solo, at other times with my band, with strings or with a whole orchestra and choir! I've been lucky to have had the recording studio which makes coming together with other musicians to record a really relaxed and enjoyable experience.

CW:15- 20-30 years from now where do you see Dougie Maclean and the music? Do you see a time when you will stop and say enough is enough I have done my bit for God and Country and grab the fishing pole or golf clubs and retire?
DM:I have 18 albums of music available now, and lots of songs still to come. I don't think I'll ever retire though tours may become more occasional appearances at some point. I think I'll always write, record and play in some form.

CW: In US music stores your CDs are usually in the World Music section; have you tried to break out of that toward "folk", or is the Celtic label better for you?
DM: I really don't like being categorized..but World, Celtic, Folk, Singer-Songwriter are all fine...as long as the music is available it's fine by me.

Special thanks to Jennifer Maclean for helping me put this interview together and of course to Dougie himself for taking time out of his busy schedule and sitting down and answering these questions. Speaking of questions I would be remiss if I didn't express my thanks as well to THE COLONEL for 1) introducing me to Dougie Maclean's music and 2)helping me craft, shape and refine some of the questions.
copywrite 2006 by CerebralWaste All rights reserved.


Anonymous the Colonel said...

This is awesome! Having seen Dougie in concert twice, I also got the opportunity to speak with him, and he is not only the greatest folksinger/songwriter ever, he's a genuine person who cares about music and those who come to hear him. Now everyone should go out and buy up his CDs!

January 24, 2006 1:32 PM  
Blogger Lorna Dee Cervantes said...

Hoorah! Thank you for all things Dougie!

But, gosh, there's so many things I would have wanted to ask him. Somebody should podcast an interview, him and his guitar -- I'd love to pretend he was picking in the next room.

~ Indigenous American & 30 year Dougie MacLean fan.

January 25, 2006 9:45 AM  
Blogger Cerebralwaste said...


Thanks for stopping by and for your comments!
There are literally 100's of questions I also wanted to ask Dougie as well but that pressing issue of TIME is always a problem. So I tried to ask questions that would not press into his schedule too much but at the same time provide an insight into Dougie that might not always be visible. A somewhat tough line to walk. I will pass on the Podcast idea that you have brought up. I think it is a great idea! Don't be stranger!

January 25, 2006 11:46 AM  
Blogger SillyBahrainiGirl said...

Great interview CW.

Looking forward for more to come ;)

I guess I will soon be out of a job!

January 25, 2006 12:43 PM  
Anonymous FenderPlayer said...

Great interview CW!!!

I am going to try those D'Addario medium phospho bronze strings Dougue plays with.

January 25, 2006 2:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great interview with a world class musician! I'd like to thank Dougie for his time and contributions .... very well done! As a guitarist I try to emulate Dougie's unique picking style, and will try the bronze strings as well!

January 26, 2006 1:30 PM  
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