Interview: Aidan Moffat | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Scottish singer-songwriter and Arab Strap frontman Aidan Moffat has teamed up with his fellow countryman RM Hubbert and together they’ve had an incredibly busy year.  They’ve released their first album, Here Lies The Body, a Christmas album and a live album, as well as playing countless live shows. However, all good things must come to an end and this year sees the duo play their final ever shows, which thankfully includes performing at Cluny 2, Newcastle on Thursday 15th August. We ask Aidan Moffat about the project and why they felt it was time to say goodbye.

How did this project with RM Hubbert come about?
We played a gig down at the Sage for a festival a few years ago – Hubby was headlining and I was doing a spoken-word support, and we also played the one song we wrote together (for his Thirteen Lost & Found album), Car Song. We were a bit hungover on the way home the next day and got lost, and ended up in a car park in Berwick watching the sea and eating a sausage roll, and decided we should do a whole album together. But then it took about another four years to find a window to put it out, so it was a long time coming.

What was the songwriting process like? How does it differ from writing with Arab Strap?
It’s pretty much exactly the same way I worked with Arab Strap, and Bill Wells too – Hubby sends me tunes then leaves me to tamper with them, add drums, maybe keys, and of course the lyrics. Then, when it starts to sound like a song, we’ll record it in a proper studio and mix it together. The only difference between doing it now and doing it in 1995 is the technology at home – these days, the songs and production are pretty much finished before you set foot in the studio, whereas back then we could only really start the production when we got there. It’s much better now, I have absolutely no sense of nostalgia for the past, with its expensive weeks in the studio mixing from tape reels – it’s much better now, with much more creative potential and a much bigger sonic palette, and it’s cheaper too!

Can you tell us more about what your latest album (Here Lies The Body) is about?
Sex and death and Blackpool. The important stuff.

It states on your website that this tour is your uncoupling tour. Why are you parting ways with RM Hubbert and what’s next for you after this?
It’s just time to move on. We’ve released three albums in the space of a year: Here Lies the Body; our festive album, Ghost Stories for Christmas, which is probably my favourite; and a live LP for Record Store Day in April. Maybe if we hadn’t made the Xmas record we would’ve written a second, less seasonal album, but I think we both feel a bit spent now. The last year’s been pretty full on and we’re very happy with what we’ve made and how it’s been received, and it’s always best to end when everyone’s happy. We’ll both be moving on to solo records next – I think Hubby’s planning one for next year, and I’ve got a new instrumental record coming soon too, and I’m working on another three albums that may or not come out after that. You have to plan ahead these days, and I’m quite conscious of getting older and time running out now, so I’ve got plenty to keep me busy.

What can people expect from your Cluny 2 show on 15th August?
This is the third and final time we’ll be down in our favourite English city, so it’ll hopefully be a fond farewell. We have a few new tunes and new interpretations to play, no doubt interspersed with grumpy, sweary stage banter and the relentless plugging of merch. Hopefully there’ll be tears too, in all the various ways they’re inspired.

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