Many say that he has the voice of an angel but after a trip to Australia, soul singer MCALMONT has been listening to a different voice.
Words: Alastair Mabbott
It‘s a spiritually exhilarated Dayid McAlmont who‘s coming our way this month. After taking three years on his album A Little ('o/it/ituit[calm/t. the singer decided to spend Christmas in Australia and came back through Customs with one item he hadn't counted on when he left: a blown mind.
“I‘m sort of coming up into my karmic self for the year 2000. and it's pretty cool.’ he declares. ‘I got with the bugs and the wildlife and the sea and the sun and the cyclones and the monsoons and people and food. and it wasjust all really extraordinary. and 1 had to realise that there was a lot more to Attstralia than met the eye. I had a month to really explore it and get into it and see what was behind that which was so unusual about white Anstralian people. And then it suddenly made me turn and take a look at the world I lived in and begin to see it completely differently.’
The sleeye of A Little ('ummun(cation indicated that changes were afoot. For the first time. shorn of his dreads and glam togs — and sporting a beard! — the former peacock looked like a bloke who might have just wandered in off the street. This was. he says. a consequence of his acclaitned rendition of ‘Diamonds Are lioreyer‘ on Dayid Arnold‘s Shrike/t Aizt/ Stirred James Bond compilation. alter which he realised he'd taken the glam look as far as it could go.
‘I started wearing "cool—but-casual” clothes. Started wearing trainers for the first time in my life. (iod. they‘re comfortable!‘ he confesses. The album itself is a lot more atmospheric than his preyious records. and sparscr. to bring the lyrics out. It‘s also less immediate. but it marks a point where he feels he‘s finished his apprenticeship and can ‘express my inner artistic self without the assistance of what anybody else thinks‘.
.-\lthough the third albutn to bear the McAlmont name. it‘s really his solo debut. the first being a 'l‘hieyes record in all but name and the second being a collaboration with Bernard Butler. All the same. he's perfectly happy to continue collaborating on
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'At the moment I'm just interested in consolidating my position as Britain's finest soul singer. That’s what I think I should achieve next.’ McAlmont -
McAlmont: experienced awakenings down under, as it were
songwriting rather than trying to prove he can do it all himself. All but one of the songs are co-written. including two with Dundee‘s own Gary Clark.
‘My childhood.’ he says. ‘was populated with the idea of great songs being written by teams. There is a modern thing that says you’re only really there if you can write. perform and produce everything yourself. but I don’t believe in that. I like to see myself as the ligurehead of a franchise. It‘s a McAlmont album and my face is on it. but actually it's been created by a group of people. and for tne the group should be in the writing. because once it‘s been written I like to then take it and stage it. So the album is my staging of a writing workshop. if you see what I mean.‘
liinally. his more sober appearance hasn‘t meant a scaling-down of his ambitions. Quite the reverse. in fact. ‘At the moment I‘m just interested in consolidating my position as Britain's finest soul singer. 'l'hat's what I think I should achieve next. Because I‘m in a unique place to grab a hold of that. and I think I‘m going to take it with both hands. because he decided that I am that good. Like I say. a lot was made clear in Australia.‘
David McAlmont plays King Tut’s, Glasgow on Tue 26 Jan.
The weird and wise words of the stars.
'Our kid came by when l was recording and I thought he was going to sing on some of the demos. But he comes in, opens a can of Red Stripe, sits on the couch, drinks it in one, lights a fag and goes "lt's fucking great being back in the studio!“ Noel Gallagher ponders his siblings lack of a work ethic.
‘Before I went on, I was behind the stage going, "Fucking Hell, this is the biggest audience I've ever played to". When you're in a boy band you get used to lads following you down the street and calling you a cunt. l was playing in front of all those lads who were calling me a cunt.’
Robbie Williams tells of the difficulties in moving between teen idol and a new audience at Glastonbury
'Okay. I admit I’m a bit of a speedfreak, but I never touch smack. Besides, people who like smack also like Lou Reed, and that can't be anything in its favour.’ _
Way back in 7971, Mr Motorhead, Lemmy, bitches about whose drugs habit is best,
'But, um, yeah - l, uh, jumped off a cliff. But it didn’t work. I got freaked out and started running, it was totally dark and I ran off the edge of a cliff. I saw it coming up and it wasn’t like "I'm going to throw myself of this cliff and die". It was just "Ground's coming up. Who cares. Whatever."'
Elliot Smith takes indifference a step further than most,
'I never used to sing in public but I always used to sing to the Hoover. I sing really well to a drone. I'd be singing at the top of my voice because no one could hear me.’
Beth Orton reveals her unusual training methods