I've been following the music of Dead Fiction for some time now so was excited when I saw in my Facebook feed that they would be releasing three singles in one day. Although in its current lineup the band is made up of drummer Ruaridh and bassist Stuart, on record it has always been guitarist and vocalist Craig Macleod that played all the instruments, wrote all the songs and produced the tracks. 'The Crux', 'Modern Primitives' and 'A Plot Or A Spine' mark the end of the current line up and signify the end of the epic alternative rock sound that Dead Fiction has been known to create.
They are certainly classic Dead Fiction. 'The Crux' has a rhythm guitar riff that Craig sounds like a less-depressed Aidan Moffat from Arab Strapalmost seems to recall the 90's Teenage Fanclub instrumental 'Is This Music', whilst the anthemic chorus is pure Biffy. 'Modern Primitives' benefits from some urgent drumming, a throat-ripping vocal performance from Macleod and a great, granular guitar sound. The pick of the bunch for me though is the sweet-natured love song for cynics, 'A Plot Or A Spine'. It displays a real lyrical deftness and without being overwritten, it has a great turn of phrase. I also love the unhurried, sparse, strummed intro and it's nice to hear a more laid-back side to Craig's vocals. I think I've said before that I love it when people sing in their own accents, and here Craig sounds like a less-depressed Aidan Moffat from Arab Strap. It's a tremendous triptych of singles and well worth checking out.
I sat down with the force behind Dead Fiction, Craig Macleod, to talk about the singles and discuss his plans for the band going forward. That, and how a Daily Record headline writers fondness for puns could potentially have put a strain on his marriage!
What gave you the idea to release 3 singles on one day?
Interestingly, these songs are actually pretty old. In fact, 'Modern Primitives' was written way back in March 2017. I’ve had these songs for a long time now but they never made it onto the EP. I recorded them last year in November and my idea was to put them on an album, but due to various things plans have changed. I’m now going to continue Dead Fiction as a solo project, so the reason for putting out the three songs together is to mark the end of the current sound and line-up. I thought it would be nice to put everything out that resembled the old sound and this would sort of act as a new beginning for the project.
What was behind the decision to make Dead Fiction a solo endeavour going forward?
The reason behind moving forward but keeping Dead Fiction as my artist name is actually due to a lot of different things. Ruaridh (the drummer) is moving I'm going to branch out and incorporate new sounds, instruments and stylesaway to work as a surf instructor and so that was definitely a major reason to rethink the band. Speaking to Stu, I think we both agreed that getting someone to replace Ru would just make the band feel like a ‘session band’ and not a group of mates making some noise for fun.
To be honest, I actually wrote, engineered, played and produced everything on the records before Ru and Stu joined and so the Dead Fiction records that people have heard are actually a solo project anyway because it’s me doing everything (laughs). I'm going to branch out and incorporate new sounds, instruments and styles, as well as, invite different musicians and artists to feature on certain tracks.
What sort of guest artists are we likely to hear on future releases?
Stuart and I will definitely keep collaborating and I’m really looking forward to working on some new music together with him. I'm really keen to work with I’m already enjoying getting stuck right into the new record without the constraints of just being an alternative rock trio.various folk from bands I used to be in (Dante, This Time Tomorrow, Ocean Conveyors, Partners in Crime etc.) and I’ve already spoken to some really good players and songwriters that I would love to work with and have round to the studio.
My wife (Ashley) helped me in the studio while making the last records. She has really good ear for balance and is very critical, in a good way, (laughs) which is really helpful and so she acts like an executive producer. She also helped me write some lyrics too for songs that were about us and or family, and so I’m really keen to work on more songs together for this new album. Time will tell how things play out and plans can always change but I’m already enjoying getting stuck right into the new record without the constraints of just being an alternative rock trio.
I saw the Daily Record headline "Single Life Is Suiting Perth Frontman", how did that go down with your wife?
What wife (laughs)? To be honest we were actually lying in bed when I opened it and we were both confused (laughs again). We realised it was pretty funny and so we came up with the idea of using our own headline with the post (‘confusing headline ends marriage’). Funnily enough, it has to be the most popular review I’ve had on social media anyway.
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