09 Jul 2021

HebCelt Survival Sessions Q&A: Ruairidh Graham of Niteworks

Can you tell us what continues to inspire Niteworks?

Music I guess. Which I’m sure seems like a really boring stock answer, however in terms of the substance which pushes us on creatively it’s being inspired by other music. It can be an old Gaelic or folk song that we think we can work with, a particular voice that we really love, looking for synth sounds or interesting rhythms that we can play with. I’m sure there’s grander answers out there, but our piper Allan also makes a pretty mean meatloaf which powers us through the creative slumps.

What and who do Niteworks like listening to, are there any particular influences?

Here’s what we’ve all been listening to lately… Allan: Kathryn Joseph, Francis Harris, Angerfist. Chris: Bruce Springsteen. Innes: Unkle, SAULT, Runrig. Ruairidh: Jasmine Sullivan, SAULT, Dirty Loops.

How have you had to adapt to the pandemic?

Like everybody else gigs have dried up completely, and there hasn’t been the same regular opportunities to meet. Being that we all live a fair distance from each other anyway, we were used to making the effort to meet-up. However, since this all began, we have only managed to do so physically two or three times. So, the pandemic has forced our hand to work in an even more remote fashion, which can be a challenge at times when you want to push things on and not everyone can be in the same room. The silver lining is that we have been involved in some really interesting creative opportunities though. In the form of music commissions for online and tv, as well as playing for an online Skye Live Festival in an amazing setting, and the film that we have made for the HebCelt Survival Sessions, which I doubt would have happened otherwise. So as a consequence, we’ve grown a fair bit in terms of what we now know we can achieve creatively with different types of projects.

What can we expect from your Survival Sessions work?

It’s a collaboration between ourselves and Hearach film maker Dòl Eoin. We’ve actually worked with Dòl on a couple of occasions before, with him directing our last two music videos for Maraiche, and Air Fair an Là. We knew that he would be the best fit for this outing again as we wanted someone with creative vision that embodies and represents island identity, which is so central to the HebCelt ethos.

As the theme for the video is Rebirth and Renewal; for the music we decided to re-work a couple of tracks from our back catalogue, and also try something completely different and new for us to take us out of our comfort zone a wee bit. I think it really works and with the visuals tell a great story.

What have been the particular challenges /opportunities in producing this?

The greatest challenge has definitely been working on music remotely. Sometimes decisions need to be taken collaboratively, and without everyone in the room that can be hard to see which way we all want to take things in. However, the opportunities with remote recording are pretty great. We were able to record to vocal tracks for the HebCelt survival sessions with the vocalists from their houses, which came in really handy.

Do you think new ways of working brought about by the pandemic will lead to new opportunities?

I think it will. It’s definitely shown how adaptable people can be in shifting to online, and with the emphasis on this as a medium that continues I could see small scale festivals continuing to offer streaming to compliment live tickets for instance and things like that. It’s also shown us that there is more to Niteworks than our live shows, however, of course we miss this and can’t wait to end up at a HebCelt stage again in the near future.

Hear Ruairidh's Podcast interview from here.

Posted in Blog on Jul 09, 2021