Why The Sundancer?
The name came to me one day when I was reading a book on primitive religion, I loved the iidea of Raindancers in Africa being a shamanic presence in their tribe that could summon up a connection with nature to bring rain for the crops. In Scotland its more like the reverse effect is needed and I had this image in my mind of a being dancing inside the sun and I felt that was a very powerful symbol.
At first I wrote a song called The Sundancer that may still survive on a tape somewhere..."You can't stop the show, you can't stop the fever inside, so sing and sing along, while you got the feeling, that's right."
All my friends were starting to get serious about life, jobs, marriage and I still felt this burning desire to make music and be creative. So I wrote a book called Into The Sundancer at the local library in Ayr and tried to get it published, but no-one took a chance on it even when the feedback was good. So, I drew a little symbol - which is still the logo - and became The Sundancer for live performances and collections of songs on tape. I'd wander round music shops checking out if anyone had the name, they didn't, so that was it.
How would you describe your music?
To be honest, I've never been able to pin it down. I would say that I like to skirt around the genres of folk, psychedelia and rock and that most of what I do is built around vocals and guitar.
Words or music first when you write a song?
Either way is good for me. The key thing is to never force it. A riff or a chord sequence can get you started and words flow into it, and in the same way an interesting phrase or idea can bring a melody that you can add chords to. I tend to record ideas very quickly now onto my phone, before that I had a dictaphone and before that I had to memorise everything while walking along the road.
Live performance or studio recording?
lBoth. They are very different. Live, you're pulling on an energy at that time and place from your audience and band. It's much freer and in the moment, and the same songs can work or not work to different crowds. In the studio you've got multiple takes and layers that you can build up over time...I'm aiming for somewhere between the two.
What's next for The Sundancer?
I'm excited about the new songs that I've recorded with Laurence Lamb, who is a fantastic producer and guitarist and did the backing vocals on the songs. I put out a couple of singles, Planet Ur-Th and Last Star just to guage the reaction. It's been really positive, but there's no rush and a couple of E.P's will come out this year. I've also spent time bringing everything together that's been done so far as The Sundancer and processing it all. All those songs, videos and performances capture moments in time. In terms of playing live, I want maybe 20 really good songs that I can just play whenever and wherever I want. I'm not a jukebox, I'm a songwriter. The thing that drives me is the creativity involved and enjoying what I do.
A gig we played as a band at Maggie Mays in Glasgow on the day we recorded The Alarm Clock Song video at Whitelees windfarm in Ayrshire. The musicians all connected that day and made magic.