In the Middle with The XCERTS, who are “falling back in love with life”
We spoke to The XCERTS frontman, Murray Macleod, ahead of the band’s upcoming tour. We discussed making music, coming-of-age films, and falling back in love with life…
You’re off on tour at the end of this month – are you excited?
Yes, very excited. It’s been a while since we’ve done a headline run, so we’re really looking forward to playing for longer, playing to people who have paid to come and see us, who really know who are. It’s going to be great.
Do you think it will feel weird playing smaller venues again after that massive Reading & Leeds main stage?
No, I don’t think so. Reading & Leeds was such an anomaly. It felt almost like it was in a movie. It’ll just feel like being back to normal, back to club shows – which are so great.
I can imagine those are a lot more comfortable…
It’s funny. At Reading & Leeds we did actually feel super comfortable. The new material is definitely suited for the bigger stages – they were written to played on those bigger stages. But it will be great to get back into those 500-cap rooms for sure.
‘Feels Like Falling In Love’ certainly does feel a lot bigger than past releases – but it still feels like The XCERTS. Was it intentional to make the songs bigger?
It wasn’t intentional to make them bigger, it was just an intention to write better songs. That’s the main goal when you’re making a record – to get better at your craft. That’s how we keep ourselves interested, it’s how we keep the audiences interested.
The song feels like it belongs to a coming-of-age movie soundtrack – if it could be featured on the soundtrack to any film, which would you want it to be?
Empire Records. It’s a really good movie.
What inspired ‘Feels Like Falling In Love’?
Well, for a long time I was in a real funk. I was dealing with a really heavy break-up – I’d been with my ex-partner for 5 years and we lived together. When we called it a day it was like a Hollywood break-up – it was completely dragged out, and pretty ugly at times. That time was horrible, but I started to like the way that people were looking at me like I was wounded and helpless. It was feeding into that idea of being a ‘tortured artist’. Eventually I snapped out of it and started to fall back in love with things. I started really falling in love again with physical records, my guitar, friendships…falling in love with every aspect of life and the freedom I had.
I started really falling in love again with physical records, my guitar, friendships…falling in love with every aspect of life and the freedom I had.
There Is Only You was being written whilst you were still in that relationship, and yet it’s also quite miserable…
[Laughs] Yeah. It’s strange because There Is Only You was meant to be a declaration to the person I was with – there is only you that I want to be with, there is only you in my life. It was meant to be a bit miserable to begin with, me clearing the skeletons in my closet, and then positive at the end – it was meant to show a journey to get to this person. But then circumstances changed that quite a bit…
It’s interesting though because There Is Only You to me now means that there is only you who can fix it if you’re in a bad situation. There is only you who can bring yourself back, you have to will yourself to get better. [The title] became a mantra for me in dealing with everything that happened.
It’s cool that you managed to reinterpret it. Would you say this upcoming record comes from a better place then?
Absolutely. This record is much more uplifting. I made an effort to find the light at the end of the tunnel in each song. I never really thought that light and dark could coincide on a record but of course it can – that’s life. Light and dark coexist every day for people. I think the record reflects that.
I hope as well that once people listen to it the whole way through they will feel invigorated – even though it’s a bit of an emotional journey.
When can we expect some more of these new, more positive, songs?
There is a new song coming on Friday 15th September. I can’t wait.
Will you be playing some of these new songs on the tour?
Yeah. We’ll be playing the two singles and then we’re also going to playing two more from the record. One of those is very upbeat and has a Cyndi Lauper meets The Cure vibe. The other is one of the slower tracks on the record, it’s called ‘Show Me Beautiful’.
How are you going to do the album art for this record? You’ve all been on a cover each at this point… Will this one be different?
I’m so excited [that you noticed that]! This time we’ve got all three of us on the front cover. We’re really proud of it and so excited for people to see it.
Finally, can you pitch the tour for anyone who still hasn’t got tickets?
It’s going be great [laughs].
The XCERTS as-yet-untitled 4th album will be out in January. The band are playing at Brudenell Social Club on 1st October. In the meantime, you can stream the new track ‘Feels Like Falling In Love’ here.