The Scotsman Sessions #73: Callum Easter

Welcome to The Scotsman Sessions. With the performing arts world shutting down for the foreseeable future, we are commissioning a series of short video performances from artists all around the country and releasing them on scotsman.com, with introductions from our critics. Here, Callum Easter performs ​a new song called System, which he plans to include in a new album out early next year.

“I’ve been making music for quite a while, but it’s been a big jump this past year,” says Leith-based Callum Easter, one of the most eclectic and original singer-songwriters working in Scotland right now. After years of graft, a breakthrough came in 2019 with the release of his acclaimed debut album proper, Here or Nowhere, on Johnny "Pictish Trail" Lynch’s Lost Map label.

Does it feel like he’s finally making headway, after bashing his head off a wall? “There’s still a bit of head-bashing, but there’s maybe more opportunities,” he laughs. “I think I did 50-odd gigs last year, and that’s just on weekends, not with any touring.”

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Green Door Sessions, Easter’s forthcoming album on Moshi Moshi - the small, London-based independent responsible for early releases by Florence and the Machine, Bloc Party and Anna Meredith, - feels like another step forward.

Callum Easter

In fact, Moshi’s co-founder Stephen Bass had already received a demo tape from Easter (who shares studio space with Young Fathers on Iona Street, and has played in the Mercury-winners’ live band) and liked it, so he recommended him to Lynch.“This album’s a funny one,” says Easter of Green Door Sessions, which reimagines his earlier songs in the otherworldly accordion drone which he’s adopted for recent live sets.

“The accordion has been part of my story this past year, but for me this album doesn’t define me,” he says. “I’m working on the next one, you know? It’s quite a nice way to put this version of the songs down, all recorded at [Glasgow’s] Green Door in one take. It’s got plenty of mistakes on there… I didn’t realise I was a bit of a perfectionist.”

​​System, the song he recorded for his Scotsman Session, is planned for that next album, which he hopes to finish writing this month and release early next year. “Is it a protest song?” says Easter. “I’m not sure… I think it could be a pop song. I'm working on the next version.”

Callum Easter’s new album Green Door Sessions is released by Moshi Moshi on 21 August. To purchase and for more information, see www.callumeaster.com

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