Edinburgh Fringe: Niteworks interview

Niteworks are Ruairidh Graham, Allan MacDonald, Christopher Nicolson and Innes Strachan.

Formed on the Isle of Skye, they fuse Gaelic language and traditional music with electronic influences to create a unique and exhilarating sound.

Winners of Up and Coming Artist of the Year at the 2012 Scottish Trad Awards, the band released their highly-anticipated debut album, NW, in late 2015 to an overwhelmingly positive response.

Their live show has won them plenty of admirers – the last year has seen multiple sold-out shows in Glasgow and stage-closing performances at festivals across Scotland, leaving packed crowds pulsating into the night.

On Sunday, Niteworks play their biggest Edinburgh show to date at the Queen’s Hall, as part of the Fringe. AAA caught up with the band for a chat ahead of the gig…

Niteworks have a very unique sound, merging Gaelic language and trad songs with electronic dance music, you could say the modernisation of traditional music. How did you end up creating the Niteworks sound and how would you describe it to our readers who haven’t heard you before?

We were banding around a term Electrad for a while back in the day. I’m not sure if that really covers our sound now – it’s probably closer to Electradpop or something. We have all played together under various band guises since we were in school. Back then it was probably a bit more traditional focussed, with power chords and big ladder progressions. Then we bought a synth, started going clubbing, and the rest just fell into place really.

What are your biggest influences, do you all have quite an eclectic taste in music?

Mostly our music tastes are fairly synched, especially when it comes to electronic stuff. Moderat, Caribou, Holden, Boards of Canada, Craig David etc. But we also diverge fairly wildly on other stuff. Chris loves 80s pop, Innes digs a bit of indie, Allan is into reggae (and is regularly found singing No Woman No Cry in the shower) and Ruairidh is still a Guns N’ Roses boy at heart.

What can Edinburgh Festival audiences expect from the Niteworks show at The Queen’s Hall and do audiences react differently to your sound?

We’ve really been working hard this year on improving and expanding our live set. As most tracks on our album were collaborations with other artists, we’ve brought a lot of these guys into the fold, and along with other guest musicians playing live percussion and fiddle I think we’ve really upped our game over the last few months. The show is also only our second ever in Edinburgh, so we’re super excited!

You recently played alongside King Creosote [we note also playing The Queen’s Hall] and Hector Bizerk at the Upside Doon festival, how did that come about and how did it go?

I can’t second-guess the booker on this one, but I think perhaps because the Gaelic Language features so prominently in our music and is obviously an important part of Scotland’s linguistic make-up (as is Scots), then parallels between our music and Scots music may have been drawn. It was a great festival, though, and it was the first time that I had actually seen Hector Bizerk, which I’m glad about as I hear they are winding down.

Tell us about your live highlights to date?

Playing Hebcelt Festival for the first time in 2011 was a big breakthrough for us, and was definitely one of the funnest gigs I’ve ever played.

Our album launch last October was unreal as well. Managing to sell out the SWG3 was really quite something.

What future plans do Niteworks have in the pipeline?

Album No.2 – work has already begun and we’ve started bouncing some ideas around. Some of which are quite interesting, giving play to some quite radical ideas for us.

Niteworks plus special guests Inyal, Queen’s Hall, Sunday, 28 Aug, 8pm, £15, 0131 668 2019, www.thequeenshall.net/whats-on/shows/niteworks-plus-special-guests-inyal-2016  

For more information about Niteworks visit www.niteworksband.com 

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