BBC 6 Music's Marc Riley Chats Glasgow, Festivals & Rainy Days…
In case you missed the memo (really?), it’s only the BBC Radio 6 Music Festival this weekend! Top bands from the new and exciting to the wise and well-established are rolling into town, and Glasgow is gearing up to show them a good time.
We caught up with Radio 6 DJ, musician (our words, not his but we think that’s unfair), part-time model and whale wannabe Marc Riley to see whit patter we could get out of him, and there were so many great tunes named in the convo that we made another playlist, too. Enjoy!
As a musician, which cities/particular clubs or festivals would be your favourite locations to play?
Those who have heard me play would take issue with the ‘musician’ element to this question but yes – many years ago – I did fire musical instruments in anger. I never really played any festivals with The Fall or The Creepers – but I always loved playing in New York. We had some fantastic shows there. Perhaps the most memorable was the show we did opening for The Clash during the record breaking stint at Bonds Casino in Times Square. They had a different UK band opening for them each night. The Slits/Gang Of 4…. and in amongst the mix, The Fall. We were staying just around the corner from Times Square and we went to the venue a few nights before we played it. There were police on horses, mini riots. They’d sold too many tickets for the original run of shows and had to extend it.
‘We played another show where Diana Ross and Gene Simmons (who were an item at the time) came to see us. I doubt they were impressed.’
Are there any particular upcoming or new bands that have caught your attention lately?
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Lots! So many great new bands. A list? Duds – a great band from Manchester who’ve just signed to the Oh Sees label, CastleFace. GirlRay are amazing. Both of these bands are playing the 6 Music Festival at St Luke’s on the Friday night. Teen Canteen and Ette (which are both led by the same talented lady – Carla Easton) from Glasgow are ace. Honestly I could go on for pages here. Omni from Atlanta, Irma Vep from Manchester… I tell you what – I’ll leave it there!!
If you could pick any movie, what one would you love to do the soundtrack for?
Funnily enough, Jonathon Demme is a massive Fall fan. About 10 years ago he said something like “If there’s been a better band than The Fall in the last 20 years – show me them.”
‘He was such a fan, he used one of the Fall songs I co -wrote and played on called Hip Priest in the film Silence Of The Lambs. It’s the bit where the killer is chasing Jodi Foster around the cellar in the dark. He (the killer) had the record on upstairs and you can faintly hear it in the terrifying end-game of the film. I like to think I’ve kind of won an Oscar, kind of…’
Talk us through your hypothetical dream music festival?
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It’d be in Moor Nook Park because it’s a 5 minute walk from my house.
The Line-up might be…
THEE OH SEES / BUTTHOLE SURFERS / TY SEGALL / OMNI / DUDS/ VIC GODARD AND THE SUBWAY SECT / WIRE / THE MOONLANDINGZ / RICHARD DAWSON/ THE BLIND SHAKE/ FIELD MUSIC
DJ’s would be Gideon Coe / Tom Ravenscroft / Jarvis Cocker…
We enjoyed your catwalk demonstration of The Associates’ t-shirt published on Twitter last month. Which bit of Glasgow would you enjoy strutting down the most, and why?
Thank you. I shall be strutting (that is actually more like running) between the various venues that are hosting the 6 Music Festival this year. Lots of different bands I want to see playing in venues not that close to each other – one after the other. I expect to lose a few pounds in weight over the weekend.
Glasgow is known as a rainy city. What is your favourite record for a rainy day?
Have you ever been to Manchester?? LOL. It’s hardly Death Valley… But a rainy day record, Maybe Berlin by Lou Reed. It’s my favourite Lou Reed record – but it’s hardly a cheery affair so I reckon I might as well compound the misery of this magnificent record with a downpour!
What does your ideal pub or bar look like? We’ll try and recommend a Glasgow venue based on what you say.
It should look like it hasn’t changed since the 1950’s, but sell craft beer from all over the world… cheaply.
GlasgowLiviong – I’d suggest Blackfriars? Readers got any more ideas?
Do you have any Glasgow memories? Have you visited the city before?
I have lots of great memories of Glasgow from The Fall and The Creepers. My WORST memory was when we (The Creepers) were unloading the van outside Rooftops on Sauchiehall Street on a sunny afternoon when a bloke ran up to another bloke and attacked him! No one died thankfully – but it did shake us a bit. The great memories are too numerous to mention. Playing with The Cramps was a good one… oh…too many.
“Glasgow audiences (and I’m not just saying this) were always the best in the UK alongside Liverpool – for us anyway!”
What are the top three tracks on your ‘travelling to 6Music Festival’ playlist?
Station to Station by Bowie (I’m going up on the train)… erm…. Hit The North by The Fall (coz as you know, we think we live in the ‘North’ in Manchester, but as I’m sure you’ll happily point out, you are in the ‘North’) and Lust For Life by Iggy (and Bowie) so I can envisage me recreating the start of Trainspotting with me running like mad through the streets of Glasgow – hurtling over cars etc. etc. on my previously mentioned treks between venues to see bands in time.
What is your best memory of previous 6Music festivals?
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Introducing Ezra Furman in a dress at last year’s 6 Music Festival in Bristol. This wasn’t an ambition or anything – but our nightly 6 Music show played a huge part in Ezra’s rise in the UK (ask him – he’ll tell you) and he gets a lot of stick for wearing dresses, so I thought I’d stick a bit of SOLIDARINOSK BROTHER to him in Bristol. I think he liked it – well, the thought – not the dress. It only cost £10.
You say that Queen was technically the first live act you saw, as they were supporting Mott the Hoople. If you could go for a Seaside Rendezvous with any person living or dead, who would it be, and why?
I met Bowie about nine times, and he really was a great bloke, and I honestly do struggle with the thought of a world without David Bowie. It just doesn’t seem right. I remember looking at all the photos of him when I was growing up in the 1970’s, chain-smoking, and thinking “you need to give up, David”. I had to do my radio show the night he died. It was very tough, probably for the listeners as well. I got through it, but with intermittent weeps when records played out. I just about held it together. I’d like to see Bowie one last time, to really thank him for changing my life, coz he 100% did.
One of my favourite Belle and Sebastian songs is called I’m a Cuckoo. What kind of animal are you, and why?
I’d like to be a whale. Not because I’m a chubby chap (I’m hardly Jack Spratt but these days I’m a good deal leaner than I was during the ‘Lard’ days on Radio 1). I’d like to be a whale because they’re amazing, spectacular intelligent creatures. I’ve seen them all over the world and it is always the greatest thing to see. If I have to answer the question properly as in “What animal am I?”… ermmm…errmmmm…I dunno!!! A FLEA!! Shamelessly hitching a parasitic ride on the back of all the great bands I play!
Are there any acts that you haven’t seen performing live before?
I had tickets to see Sparks in 1974 and I didn’t go, not sure why. That haunts me a bit. I’m introducing Sparks at the festival – and I CANNOT WAIT! That’s such an honour for me. I saw FFS (Franz Ferdinand/Sparks) on their tour and that was one of the gigs of the year. It was brilliant, as was the record).
What is taken into account when putting together the programme for the festival? Some of the combinations seem eclectic in a good way, such as the killer combo of Songhoy Blues with Bonobo (Saturday 25th at Barrowlands), who are quite different stylistically.
I don’t pick the all the bands obviously – though the people who do kindly ask me for some recommendations. But I think the important thing is an eclectic mix.
‘This year the Friday night at St Luke’s is wall-to-wall ‘me’ – Duds / GirlRay / Dutch Uncles and Cate Le Bon, but Grandaddy / Sparks… again – so many great bands.’
Which of the Radio 6 Music performers’ songs would be your karaoke choice? (Glasgow has a thriving late-night karaoke scene, by the way. Amongst other, more edgy ones, of course).
Sparks I guess! Who can listen to ‘This Town…’ or ‘Amateur Hour’ without trying to replicate the falsetto of Russell??
Thanks for that, Marc. Can’t wait to welcome you this weekend, and in the meantime, we’ve made a playlist of all the artists/songs that came up in that interview, to keep us going til Friday!
If you can’t wait til then to get a live music and culture fix, no fear! Lots of local venues are also jumping on the band wagon and kindly organising gigs all over the city all through the week to get us off to a good start. Coined the ‘Glasgow Fringe’ Festival, it will see performances, talks, book launches, art exhibitions and more. Check out the lineup here!