The Proclaimers

Scottish duo, The Proclaimers, are in the country now for a national tour with shows left in Sydney, Melbourne, Geelong, Adelaide and Perth. It has been thirty two years since Scotland’s finest Celtic soul brothers, Craig and Charlie Reid, aka The Proclaimers, emerged in our musical psyche.

Since then, their enduring appeal across generations has carved a niche for themselves where pop, folk, new wave and punk collide as the emotional honesty, political fire, wit and sing-along raucousness of their songs and their extensive touring has enlightened and entertained fans around the World. Craig Reid talks to Hi Fi Way about the tour.

It must have been a really exciting start to 2019 having a new album out?
It is given we did a lot of touring last year, we have been playing tracks off it every night in the hour and a half that we play including the few hits that we have had and stuff from other records we have made. We don’t like doing the same set two nights running. The show will be really good by the time we hit Australia.

How important is it to keep being creative and writing new songs because it would be quite easy to rest on the strength of The Proclaimers back catalogue?
I think that is something that we hope we would never be. We don’t want to tour and just do a greatest hits show. The main thing for us is writing songs and playing them live. That is the thing we feel that we have to keep doing and want to do. The new album took just a bit over a year to write and we have been writing and touring fairly regularly since 2001 and we’re still happy to be doing that. We’ll keep touring in to September this year and then take a short holiday with the next album coming out in 2021. We’re fifty-seven now and we can’t keep going forever but we’re still enjoying what we are doing and want to keep it going as long as we can.

Fifty-seven is still young isn’t it?
Compared to Mick Jagger, yes! We definitely enjoy the shows even more than we did years ago but you do notice it between shows and between tours that the recovery period takes longer. Having said that we want to keep the momentum going as long as we can.

Is that hard considering the rigours of touring and being able to back it up night in night out?
It’s tiring but when you get up on stage you enjoy it even more. It gets hard when you start having success as it is the end of the era of big record sales and you have to keep touring. It is hard for young acts starting out making any sort of money from recorded music. As far as we’re concerned we don’t sell anywhere near the records that we use to do, we’re still just as proud of the records we make now as we did in the day. Playing live has always been the main thing for us.

Is that the biggest buzz you can get by having your songs sung back to you such as I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)?
Those songs have been going for thirty years and the fact that we still can play these songs live and people sing them is great.

Do you think it’s frustrating that with your new songs that you always are being compared to these big hits?
I think we just embrace it as we’re really proud of these songs and the ones we are writing now. I think if you’re playing and wanting to keep writing new stuff that is success. I think that is why we don’t play the same set list twice, we play a lot of different songs. There are seven or eight songs we have to play every night and we accept that, the rest of the time we play different stuff keeping it interesting for us and the guys in the band as well as keeping it interesting for people coming to see us multiple occasions on the same tour.

Are there any other hidden gems tucked away in The Proclaimers back catalogue?
There are certain songs from previous albums when you give them a listen and play them, it just works. I think we set out to do that on every new tour and we’ll be doing the same on this tour. There are a lot of songs I don’t remember writing and when you hear them after many years I still don’t remember the songs I write.

Is there anything you are looking forward to when you tour Australia?
Definitely the people, I don’t why Sunshine On Leith was so big in Australia but it was the biggest success that we had in any country. I still don’t why they took to us but they did. Australia is a beautiful place as well and always a pleasure to tour.

Interview By Rob Lyon

Catch The Proclaimers on the following dates…