The Scotsman Sessions #241: Faodail

Welcome to the award-winning Scotsman Sessions. With performing arts activity curtailed 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, Glasgow-based musician Callan Marchetti, aka Faodail, performs an instrumental track called Something More, taken from his new EP Madainn

Madainn, the title of the new EP from Glasgow-based musician Callan Marchetti, aka Faodail, derives from the Gaelic word for “morning.” It’s an apt name for such a hopeful, restorative collection of music, released as the world slowly awakens from lockdown slumber – and one with even deeper resonance for Marchetti, whose mother died towards the beginning of last year. “My mum was a native Gaelic speaker,” he says, “so the EP was named as a tribute to her.”

Marchetti’s mother was, he says, “a really positive influence in my life and hugely supportive of me doing music.” To lose her just as the pandemic was beginning to take hold made for “a really confusing and traumatic time,” he adds. Marchetti found stability in writing music, yet suffered severe writer’s block for months.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

“It wasn’t until I made Bloom that it started to lift,” he says, of Madainn’s softly surging opening track, which has been streamed almost 200,000 times now. “After that the lockdown became a surprisingly positive experience and gave me space to figure out who I was as a person a bit more and focus on making music. It even finally gave me the time to build my own little studio, so I no longer had to work out of my bedroom.”

Callan Marchetti, aka Faodail

Marchetti invites us into that studio for his Scotsman Session, a piano-based performance of another instrumental track from Madainn called Something More. “This felt like it was a track that would translate well to a stripped-back performance,” he says, “and one where I could really just focus on playing a single instrument. The song itself was essentially written for that reason.”

Of the song’s genesis, he recalls: “I had started to feel quite frustrated and lost when I was deep in the production process for my EP and spent an afternoon sitting at my piano with no real intention or goal. That playing around turned into Something More and it really captured the listless feeling I had at the time. I think that’s something a lot of people can empathise with when they’re deep into a project and can’t see the forest for the trees.”

You may find yourself wondering what that strange, semi-rhythmic creaking noise is throughout. “It’s actually the sound of the piano pedals, which is what makes it rhythmic,” Marchetti explains. “It’s a pretty old instrument, I think it was made around 1955, so it probably needs a good service. In all honesty though, I quite like all of the creaks and cracks it gives off when I’m playing, you get a real presence from them when recording.”

While the making of Madainn was a very solitary experience, the EP is in fact the most collaborative output of his career to date, with guest vocalists including Norwegian pop duo Kakadu and Swedish singer-songwriter Hildur Höglind. “I’ve actually had more interaction with other artists, and people involved in the music industry in general, over the past year than at any other time,” says Marchetti. “Which seems paradoxical, but I guess with everything being online and no chance of working face to face, it makes no difference if the other person is in the same city as you or on another continent.”

All being well, by October Marchetti will get the opportunity to play the new songs live for the first time at two dates supporting The Ninth Wave in Glasgow. In fact, the shows will be not only Faodail’s first ever live performances, but Marchetti’s first live performances since his university days several years back, when he drummed with various bands arounds the local scene. (“Mostly playing grunge, punk and post-hardcore,” he says, “anything that gave us an excuse to be as loud as possible.”)

Gigs will represent a big adjustment, not just for him, but for us all. “I’m sure as we ease back into live events it’ll be a pretty surreal experience,” says Marchetti, “not just because of all the precautions that will need to be in place, but also the mental adjustment we’ll all have to make in order to be comfortable around that many people again.

“I hope it can be a positive experience for everyone,” he adds. “The fact we’ve had to go without it for so long will make us all appreciate how important live music events, and communal experiences are.”

Madainn is available on digital services now, see https://enhanced.ffm.to/madainnep; Faodail will support The Ninth Wave at Oran Mor, Glasgow on 21 and 22 October

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription at https://www.scotsman.com/subscriptions