One of the best aspects of our time on the Royal Mile at Edinburgh Festival Fringe was connecting in person with many local SoundCloud creators. We sat down for interviews with former SoundClouder of the Day and singer/songwriter Amy Duncan, Dave Hook from Scottish hip hop group Stanley Odd, and folky Royal Mile regular Megan D.
When Amy Duncan dropped out of music college and moved back to Glascow, she was unable to bring her double bass, her primary instrument at the time. Luckily, “There was a guitar sitting propped up in the corner of the flat I was staying in. I just picked it up and started making little tunes on the guitar and then started singing.” Now four albums into her music career, the multi-instrumentalist is playing out regularly with a wide variety of collaborators.
Her recent Creative Scotland funded album Cycles of Life gave her the opportunity to work with acclaimed producer Calum Malcolm. What was it like, working with a producer for the first time? Intimidating, but then great:
Amy’s main collaborator, Fiona Rutherford, a harpist and composer herself, “opened up the whole [local] folk world [of collaborators].” For her recent show at the Festival Fringe, Amy was joined on stage by Fiona and many other collaborators:
Amy says being named SoundClouder of the Day gave her “such a boost,” and finds the commenting on SoundCloud “really really helpful”:
The Fringe show was recorded for everyone unable to attend it and several of the tracks have been uploaded to Amy’s SoundCloud profile. Hear more of her interview, including what being SCOTD was like, on the Community Team’s profile.
Scottish hip hop group Stanley Odd, fronted by mc and lyricist Dave Hook, have had an excellent year – their album Reject was shortlisted for the Scottish Album of the Year Award and they toured New York City for the first time. Demand for tickets was so high that they had to add shows.
We sat down with Dave for a wide ranging conversation about his life and music. He’s an energetic, positive, and well-informed person so when we asked him what it was like to play shows in the birthplace of Hip Hop, we weren’t surprised when he said it was “amazing”:
The most surprising aspect of that trip was realizing how many people had discovered their music through online means like SoundCloud:
Like his lyrics, Dave was honest and thoughtful when interviewed. Because it’s still fairly rare to hear the Scottish accent in contemporary music, let alone in hip hop, we were curious as to how he came to find his voice:
More of his interview is also available on the Community Team’s profile.
(photo by Jannica Honey)
And now the story of a magical thing that happened at the SoundCloud Shack. Comedians Carl Donnelly and Chris Martin were podcasting live from the shack, talking occasionally with people they’d pull in off the street. SoundCloud creator Megan D happened to walk by on her way to busking up the Royal Mile. After a few moments of convincing, she agreed to stop and play a song. A crowd began to gather as she started singing.
If you haven’t been to Fringe, you should know that is difficult to get people’s attention on the Royal Mile. There are hundreds of performers competing for attention. But Megan transfixed everyone. No one spoke, they just stood in silence waiting for her to finish. And when she did, the crowd burst into a sustained applause. It was clear to everyone present that we’d experienced one of those rare but incredible spontaneous moments made possible by live music. Megan first walks by at 16:20 in the below recording of the podcast.
Naturally, we asked her to come back and perform on her own the following day. This is Megan’s first years as a licensed busker: “Last year, I didn’t busk a lot, but I did go to lots of shows. But this year is the first year that I’ve got the busking license and I’ve been busking everyday and loving it.”
Megan first posted her music to SoundCloud about a year ago, when no one knew she was writing music. The reaction was instant and positive:
Hear more from Megan in this set, posted to the Community Team profile.