Influences: Jeff Beck, Rory Gallagher, Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton, Peter Green & many more
K: Thanks for taking the time to talk to me today Fraser. I listened to your album”Melodic Mayhem“. A varied collection of styles as the name suggests. It’s almost like a showreel of different styles that you’re fluent in. As a professional session musician it promotes you well as being a great all-rounder.
F: Yeah I used a lot of different combinations of amps and guitars on that album to set up different sound stages and make it interesting
K: On your website section http://fraserjohnlindsay.com/Gear.html I can see that there’s quite a few possible set ups available. If there was a fire and you could only take one guitar with you….?
F: It would be this one, (the one in the picture), it’s a Mexican Strat. I didn’t go in specifically to buy it. I sat down and tried the Mexican and the American one with my eyes closed and played them both without knowing which was which and the Mexican was better…just something about the neck.
K: Tell me a bit about the Blues jam session you host in Swing.
F: The Swing session is every Thursday night. The core unit is me on guitar and Charlotte Marshall on bass and vocal , Kenny Robertson on drums and we normally have a keyboard player as well. Either Tim Brough or Matthew Berlow. There’s the regulars who show up every week, which is great, as well as many new musicians showing up all the time.
K: Were you ever a State Bar jam night attendee?
F: Well I was one of those guys that sneaked in when I was 17 and it’s amazing that it’s still going. Now, I think the music scene in Glasgow is doing very well. There are so many great jams and open stages running now. Glasgow is a great scene for young musicians.
K: You have 3 core units that you go out with. Fraser John Lindsay’s Blues Incentive, Charlotte Marshall and The 45s and Black Snake Roots and you and Charlotte seem to be the common factor across all. What is the advantage of having 3 bands on the go at once?
F: Black Snake Roots is a stripped down thing that we do for smaller venues, smaller gigs, cafes etc. That’s just me and Charlotte and occasionaly Gordon Dickson on Sax, so we do that as a duo or a trio. That’s what we do on a Sunday night in Oran Mor. The FJL Blues Incentive, that’s more of a full on line up with Sax, Drums Keyboards but even that can be condensed down to a 3 piece. It depends on the venue and the budget. We play blues covers in our own way. We don’t see any point of playing tunes the same way as anyone else.
K: So you’re trying to keep the flexibility there so that no matter what work is available you have a format to suit?
F: Yes. It’s all the same personnel really, just shuffled about for different environments. Charlotte Marshall and the 45s is more of an original song format where we promote Charlotte’s songs and it’s more of a bigger sound with trombone and sax. The band had various influences from Soul, R&B but at the same time has loads of blues influences.
K: I think audiences expect that approach now. People are becoming a lot more educated about all sorts of music and styles. Spotify, iTunes, Amazon all provide and endless stream of instantly available music from all over the world. YouTube as well. You start up a randomly generated Blues radio playlist online and all sorts of stuff get queued up. What’s your view on the whole Spotify thing?
F: I think it’s a naturally evolving thing. There’s pros and cons like everything else. It’s far less costly. But I think there’s something lost in it as well. Personally I never download any music from the internet. If I want something I’ll go into a shop and buy it or I’ll get it at a gig. A cd or a cassette…I still listen to cassettes. When I released my first album I chose not to put it on Spotify. Actually my last car had a cassette player in it.
K: So you’re still listening to the “old school” formats? I sometimes find the digital download format almost like “disposable” music.
F: That’s what it feels like doesn’t it?
K: It’s right at your fingertips and it can be quite easy to go through an album in 30 seconds, skipping from one track to another.
F: I like the ritual of turning the tape over. The other thing about the non-digital format is that you can’t put the tape or vinyl on shuffle. When I produce an album the order that the tracks are in is important. There is a context to the deliberate order of the tracks a lot of the time. When you only hear one or two random tracks from an album you might decide that you don’t like the album but really you haven’t heard the whole context of the album so you can’t properly judge it.
K: So when you have concept of a new album do you look at it as a body of work, a flow of ideas, rather than a collection of individual tunes?
F: If I’m producing an album I want the whole thing to sound good as a package.
K: Do you have the same opinion about your various set lists. Do you spend a lot of time planning the flow of a live gig?
F: Well there’s another dimension playing live and that’s the audience. A lot of bands, they’ll have a set list and that’s it. They play the set list. It’s one thing coming up with a fantastic set list which means something to you but the audience might not be into that on the day. If, for instance, there’s a “dancey” crowd in, Charlotte will change the set list to suit that. Set lists are very fluid for us.
K: Last question then Fraser. Do you have any more projects on the go?
F: Writing is an ongoing process. I’ve got a back catalog that I’d like to get finished and there are other things lined up producing for other people. Currently we’re working on the Charlotte Marshall and the 45s album so busy with that.
K: Brilliant. Busy times. Thanks very much for your time. I’ll let you get off to your gig. Have a good one!
F: Thanks very much Kirk. Pleasure. You couldn’t show me the pics again could you…..
I leave Fraser’s flat, feet squelching down the hall. We both got caught in an absolute downpour out at the Riverside Museum and walked through the rain coming at us sideways for 10 minutes. I tried to do the interview during this…I won’t try it again. The night was cut short but it was great to catch up with such a focused and determined young musician.
Lessons learnt: Take a tripod, take a light stand, take a trigger, don’t lie on wet slabs, anything more than 100 yards away…take the car
More links available on Fraser’s website…
The museum is currently next door to Fraser’s flat!
Camera: Nikon D7000
Lens: Nikon 18-105 Kit
Focal length: 21mm
Exposure: 1/100 sec at f/5
Time of day: 17:49
Conditions: Very heavy intermittent rain.
Lighting: Speedlight on ground directed upwards
fraser john lyndsay
the riverside transport museum