Glasgow’s Christopher Duncan is a rare talent. He constructs all his songs from the bottom up, recording each layer of the track in his own bedroom studio set – which is almost unbelievable when you hear the quality of his debut album Architects. Being a an alumni of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music (now the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland) studying music composition, there is a definite classical tinge to C Duncan's music which makes it sound completely unique, as if it was from a different era but at the same time being remarkably fresh. We did a Q&A with C Duncan a few days after the release of Architects to find out more about him.
Do you think where you live has influenced your music?
Yes, definitely. Glasgow is such a creative place and there is a real mix of styles coming out of here at the moment. There isn’t really a ‘Glasgow’ sound anymore so you can make whatever you want without having to fit into a trend. Glasgow has a massive music scene. So many great bands come out of Glasgow and surrounding areas. There are a lot of really great venues in the city that cater for various different types of music.
What music were you brought up on?
I was brought up on a lot of classical (both my parents are Violinists). Particularly Baroque and Romantic music. We also listened to a lot of The Carpenters when I was growing up.
Do you have a favourite instrument?
I started playing the piano when I was 6. I don’t really have a favourite instrument, but I write most of my music on guitar or piano, so they are the instruments I’m best at playing…
What makes you happiest when you are not playing music?
Painting, reading, watching films and eating (particularly pizza and pasta).
When painting, do you listen to a certain type of music and do you think it influences your work?
I usually listen to classical music when I’m painting. A lot of impressionist music and contemporary classical. The sense of repetition in a lot of contemporary music works its way into my paintings.
What drives you to write music?
I basically can’t stop writing music. There isn’t anything that drives me to do it other than my love of and obsession with writing songs.
Has your style of music stayed the same?
In a way. When I was at school I wrote and played a lot of heavy metal music, then at conservatoire I was writing classical music, and now I’m making more dream pop inspired music. I have always had a love of melody and dreamy harmonisation which has stayed the same throughout the various different styles of music.
What are your main influences?
Music and art of different kinds. Having musical parents, and studying music, I have been surrounded by so many different genres of music, a lot of which has influenced me. Particularly impressionist music and alternative artists like Dirty Projectors, Bjork and Thundercat.
What inspires your lyrics?
Places mostly. I am quite affected by the environment that I am in and the feeling I get from certain places. I always have a clear picture of locations in my head when I start writing lyrics.
How do you approach the writing and recording process? Do you surround you self with people or hide away behind closed doors.
I hide away behind closed doors. I like to create music alone, and once I’m happy with it I share it with others.
Do you prefer writing music, recording music or playing live?
I always thought I preferred writing and recording, but since finishing the album I have had to do a lot of shows. It was very nerve-wracking at first, but I now enjoy it as much as writing and recording.
Tell us a bit about your debut Architect?
I wrote and recorded Architect alone in my bedroom over a year long period. It is a collection of songs that are tied together by style, not necessarily by themes. Although there are recurring subjects throughout the album, it is an album of standalone tracks.
What has been you happiest memory with music?
Receiving the first box of vinyls of Architect.
What would be your perfect line-up of any 3 acts (dead or alive) for a concert and were world it be put on?
Bjork, Radiohead and Portishead. That would be a great concert! Venue: Cottiers in Glasgow.
What music are you listening to at the moment?
Whilst writing this I am listening to Julia Holter. I am listening to a lot of Thundercat, tUnE-yArDs and Kathryn Joseph at the moment.
What are your future plans for the summer and after?
I will be touring a lot over summer in the UK and Europe. I have started work on a second album too!
Have a read of our album review of C Duncan's Architect here.