Today sees the return of The Dissection to Summerhall, a series of music and conversation dedicated to exploring classic Scottish albums with the people who made them. Under the microscope this time is Arab Strap’s seminal 1998 album Philophobia. Aidan Moffatt and Malcolm Middleton will be in conversation to discuss the making of the album, where it sits within Arab Strap’s body of work, and to play a few songs from it in an intimate, stripped back setting. The Fountain caught up with Summerhall’s Jamie Sutherland to discuss the format and style of this event.
TF: What inspired you to start these discussions on albums in Edinburgh’s Summerhall, you had Kenny Anderson a few months ago, and now Arab Strap?
We’re always looking at ways we can add interesting programming to our events and gig calendar at Summerhall, and I have enjoyed the Song Exploder podcast, so this seemed like a good way of getting artists in front of a live audience to talk about their albums and the decisions made that formed them technically, artistically and from a career perspective. I particularly like asking the artist specifically what their expectations were for the record and whether the album did what the artist intended or hoped, exceeded expectation or left the artist feeling deflated. Certainly from an educational point of view, I find this to be the most revealing.
TF: And what made you choose this album specifically for them to discuss?
Aidan and Malcolm made the decision to do this record specifically, I think as it coincided with the re-release through Chemikal Underground on its 20th anniversary. It’s a wonderful record, definitely encapsulates what the “Arab Strap” sound is and I remember the expectation of it before its release. To hear some of these songs live and stripped back will be magical.
TF: And what is the format to these evenings, can you elaborate?
We have two interviewers on stage for this iteration, Michael Pedersen the poet and the journalist David Pollock, who will be looking for a deep dive interview with the guys re all things Philophobia, where Arab Straps were at before the record came out, where they wanted to go, what the concept and feel for the record was originally intended to be and how it changed during production. We’ll also have some stripped down performances of some songs from the record highlighting how some of these decision changed the way we heard the song, key changes, lyric changes, ideas that were thrown away or added at the last moment.
TF: Can we expect an evening with Broken Records in the same vein?
I think at some stage we’d like to do something like this, but I’m not sure enough water has passed under the bridge yet to really have a sense of whether what we have done has merited it! Certainly it’s only been recently that I’ve felt divorced enough from our first two records (2009 and 2010) to really have any objective opinion on them at all. A lot I love about aspects of them, many, many things I’d change!
TF: What more is coming up at Summerhall for us to keep our eye out for?
Lots of great things! 432 bringing Aldous Harding on the 1st December will be special, she’s an amazing artist. Cold Turkey with Michael Pedersen, Hollie McNish, Kathryn Joseph and Withered Hand on the 6th December. DF Concerts bringing Australian band The Chats on the same night. Also on the 14th Dec we have Siobhan Wilson and pals showcasing her new record, so something for everyone here for sure.
For more information on these events at Summerhall click here.