THE XCERTS: “We’ve all matured so much as live players now too so I’m super hyped to do it justice.”

Murray Macleod of The Xcerts talks about the importance of being able to shine a spotlight on their 10-year old album ‘In The Cold Wind We Smile'

THE XCERTS: “We’ve all matured so much as live players now too so I’m super hyped to do it justice.”

By Sophie McCarthy

Nov 28, 2019 19:37

In the run up to The Xcerts’ ten year anniversary, we sat down with front man Murray Macleod, a couple of wines mulled wines and some Guinness to get his take on the anniversary. With a re-release of their debut album ‘In The Cold Wind We Smile’ and an upcoming tour we didn’t know where to begin…

Since The Xcerts released their first record on 30th March 2009, they’ve gone from strength to strength. Few reach a ten year anniversary or have the highlights that go with being in a band for that long.

“To me, the biggest highlight has to be each record we’ve released. Travelling to Japan and playing Wembley are high up there too!”

And of course, with ten years of touring comes ten years of stories, but none are quite so entertaining as the one Macleod tells for the very first time. 

“I’m actually gonna go public with this because it’s that funny! So we were touring and had played an amazing London show, we all went out after and, as always, Jordan (Smith – Bass) and I pushed it a bit too far. We staggered back to the hotel room I put him to bed in the little single while my ego and I took the double. He went to bed, I went to bed and all was well.”

As it turned out, all wasn’t well.

“I wake up in the middle of the night and Jordan is in my bed and I’m like, ‘Well this is weird’ so then I’m about to go and tell him to get out but something wasn’t right. I was just like really uncomfortable, then I put my hand on the mattress and it was soaking wet.

“Then I was like ‘My trousers are soaking wet? My shirt is soaking wet? Oh my God, have I pissed myself?’ Luckily, I hadn’t but I remember jumping out of the bed and pulling back the duvet from Jordan. And there he was, fully clothed with his trousers around his ankles, even more soaked than I was….”

We both burst into fits of laughter and when asked if he’s been able to see Jordan in the same way since, Macleod’s answer is definitive, “Nope! Never been the same since, can’t look him in the eye.”

THE XCERTS: “We’ve all matured so much as live players now too so I’m super hyped to do it justice.”

In addition to a re-mastered version of the record pressed on white vinyl, fans are being treated to a whole host of ‘bonus tracks’ – a collection of unreleased material recorded around the time the album was originally released.

“I went through about thirty or forty tracks and some were honestly the most unlistenable things ever. I remember debating for ages whether to re-record some stuff but that’s not the point? We all wanted the focus to be on material recorded from that time so we could remain true to the original album.” 

As a band, their inspirations, both past and present, are wide ranging. From Tom Petty, “because he’s the greatest of all time”, to how obsessed the trio are right now with Julia Michaels. 

“We’re a band who prides ourselves on our songwriting, she’s such an inspiration. It’s amazing to have someone so fresh and forward thinking doing incredible things. But personally, I’ve always wanted to go in the studio with Robert Smith from The Cure. Just so he could drag out my inner goth because it’s hidden away a little bit…”

“I’m also gonna shout out Swim School because they’re all amazing musicians too. They’ve got a new track out called ‘Too Young To Know’ and it’s so good I’ve had it on repeat all day!” 

If you ask any of their fans about any stand out songs from the past ten years, ‘Aberdeen 1987’ would be a popular choice. With a story and format that Macleod has never quite replicated since he wrote it, it’s no wonder that it played at every headline set without the band ever becoming “bored with it”

“I think the way it’s become so special to our fans is a testament itself and it will definitely outlive the band too if i’m being honest and that makes me super proud of it.” 

After releasing four albums since 2009, it’s a safe bet that at least half those ten years have been out on the road touring. Something that “does wonders” for Macleod’s ego when he gets to “prance around” on stage every night for an hour and a half. 

THE XCERTS: “We’ve all matured so much as live players now too so I’m super hyped to do it justice.”

But away from the glitter and gold of playing shows across the world, the time away from the stage is something that the whole band love. 

“The travelling aspect is amazing! From meeting new people all over the world to getting pissed on by Jordan. There’s a special camaraderie from being in the van you don’t get anywhere else.”

With a special anniversary tour kicking off earlier in November, there’s an opportunity for old fans to relive their debut album, while new fans get the chance to see it in all its glory. The infectious excitement from Macleod is a clear indication that these shows aren’t to be missed.

“I think what we’re all excited about is being able to shine a spotlight on the record because when we released it, nobody, like nobody, cared. We’ve all matured so much as live players now too so I’m just super hyped to do it justice.”

For anyone who might not know (where have you been?), Murray and Jordan originally hail from Aberdeen. It was there that they started the band after ending up in their headmasters office together, so their homecoming show and two nights in Glasgow are set to be stellar. Alongside a host of other dates is a big show at The Omeara in London on 2nd December that sold out quicker than they ever expected.

“Playing at Omeara is going to be so special for us because it’s such an incredible venue. We all remember playing to no one in London when we released the record ten years ago so it’ll be a proud moment for us.”

For any band, ten years is an awfully long time to stay together. It can feel like hardly any time at all, all the way to feeling like you can’t remember ever doing anything else. You need grit to be able to achieve the kind of longevity The Xcerts have and it’s a grit that not every band has. 

“I remember when we hit five years we immediately set our sights on ten. It’s crazy how everything is still on the up too but we definitely have this huge sense of pride that we’ve made it this far!”

After finishing the last of our beverages, we get chatting about what advice we’d give ourselves from ten years ago. 

“I think to just breathe and take a chill pill in our music but also in life? I thought I had to fill every bit of space with something, be that drum or guitar breaks. But the more I think about it the record wouldn’t be the same with more space on it? So I think to just chill and not overthink it would be better advice.”

It’s certainly advice I think we could all do well to remember…


Tickets are still available for some of their tour dates and can be found here.