Charley Buchan, better known as CS Buchan, and one half of Best Girl Athlete has dropped an album at the end of May via Fitlike Records, CS Buchan & Friends, featuring the likes of Pete Harvey and Viking Moses, outlining his love of collaboration.
Charley or CS spoke with The Fountain about the upcoming tour, as well as his favourite gig in a yurt in rural Aberdeenshire.
TF: A new solo album, you must be excited, what can we expect?
Definitely! It’s been described as eccentric and eclectic. The eccentric part probably comes from the cover photograph, which offers homage to June Imray’s The Torry Quine, whose album of the same cover came out in the mid seventies. She was a singer/entertainer and her album covers are instantly recognisable to most people in the North-East region and she would be known to most people involved in the Scottish folk scene. I actually tried to make contact with her so I could have her blessing for the cover as I didn’t want her to think I was poking fun, its genuinely meant as a nod of the cap to her. I got to speak to her son but unfortunately she is quite elderly now and wouldn’t have been interested in chatting, which I was really disappointed to find out. The eclectic element is in the ‘Friends’ part. Consequently, all the tracks are quite distinct from one another but somehow all still work as a collection. A friend had said it was like getting a glimpse into an extended family with various characters and dysfunctional members…like most families I guess. There’ some bar room blues, acoustic folk, nineties Indie and pop. That sounds quite rubbish really but it all works together to make some interesting listening.
TF: And who else features on the album, being titled CS Buchan & Friends?
I invited guest vocalists on to each track, hence the ‘friends’, and despite the suggestion that I don’t really have any friends, I can assure you, they are my actual friends. They may tell you differently. I’m not overly keen on my own singing voice, so this is an ideal scenario for me and consequently, my lead vocal only features on one track, and one is plenty! Let’s see, some highlights include BBC Young Traditional Singer of the year finalist, Iona Fyfe, Brendon Massei, better known as the legendary Viking Moses, Steven Milne of indie institution, The Little Kicks, international Independent Music Award (IMA) winner with Tryptamines, Chemical Callum and Transylvanian troubadour Lizabett Russo who performs with Pete Harvey of Modern Studies. I also got some excellent people I met whilst on tour in the USA with BGA a few years back and have ended up remaining friends with, namely Sam Goodwill and Guy Capecelatro III. Oh and of course, it was hard not to include my own Katie Buchan. Of course, now that I have listed almost everyone, I can’t miss Michael Chang from IndianRedLopez/Miss Lucid and Alexander Ironside, better known as Death Let Her. I’m very grateful to them all for their wonderful contributions.
TF: And will you be promoting this album with a tour, performing with everyone’s favourite cellist, Peter Harvey?
Well, I do have a few dates coming up over the next few months, including Saint Luke’s in Glasgow on my birthday in September, which will incidentally be the first time Katie and I will have appeared on the same bill as separate acts. There may be some moonlighting going on! I actually went to see Pete play with his band Modern Studies at The Blue Lamp recently and had mentioned that I was looking at possibly putting together a wee village hall type tour with Liz Russo and I know he is a big fan of Liz, so who knows! The problem with Pete being everyone’s favourite is his availability. Everybody wants a piece of Pete! That sounds wrong, doesn’t it?
TF: What has been your favourite gig to date?
I’ve been focussing much more on Best Girl Athlete for the last couple of years I guess but I always preferred playing more unusual venues with live CS Buchan dates. There is a place called The Last Stop Café, which is in rural Aberdeenshire that is located in a disused quarry and is essentially a large yurt on stilts and with it’s fabric made out of old bus parts! I played there a few years back to a small but sold out and enthusiastic crowd and remember playing the Bluebell Polka by Jimmy Shand and feeling the elation coming from the audience. I’m not a folk musician but I’ve always loved that tune as it reminds me of my Granda and thought that throwing it in to the set as a curve ball was fitting for an odd venue. Loved it!
TF: And how have you found the process doing it solo instead of under Best Girl Athlete?
It’s actually my fifth solo album so it’s quite easy to detach from that but it was a bit of relief to get back to doing my own thing as there are no constraints at all and I think that shows on the album. I definitely felt a sense of freedom in doing absolutely anything I wanted. It’s the first album I didn’t produce myself and I’m so pleased I asked Ciaran McGowan to get on-board as he really brought the songs to life in a way that I couldn’t.
CS Buchan performs in Aberdeen’s Tunnels on 5th Sept