Having formed back in 2001 in their hometown of Aberdeen, the Xcerts have gone from strength to strength to become one of the most exciting bands on the scene today. The band comprises of Murray Mcleod (guitar and lead vocals), Jordan Smith (bass and backing vocals) and Tom Heron (drums and backing vocals). With a style described by themselves as 'distorted pop', the band's music has made themselves many fans and secured support slots with bands such as Fightstar and Funeral for a Friend. The band are now an established act in their own right and have headlined their own tours of the UK, and have even crossed the pond to play shows over in the states.
We were lucky enough to chat to Murray from the band to tell us about his life as a musician, how he got started and his advice to anyone wanting to pursue a career in music.
Can you give us an insight into how and when you started out making music?
I started playing music because it was something to do, and something I thought I'd be good at and enjoy. My parents/family are very musical, so there was always instruments in the house and music playing. My Dad has a killer vinyl collection, and I remember being so intrigued by them. I mainly played Kiss and The Monkees purely because the front covers were really great, and then my Dad introduced me to a band called The Beatles and from then on I was obsessed with music. I started writing songs when I was 12 years old, they were awful, but you've got to start somewhere right? I haven't really stopped since. I guess I became exceedingly serious about being a musician when I was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease. I was very keen on sports at the time, and when I was told I could no longer play physical sports, I turned to music and it changed my life in a way.
I also saw a DVD called Urethra Chronicles which is a DVD about Blink 182, and that really made me want to be in a band. Watching a group of guys seeing the world and playing music was so inspiring. They looked like they were having the time of their lives, and it's something that appealed to me greatly.
How did you make the step from playing as a hobby to being a full-time musician?
We moved out of our hometown (Aberdeen) when we were 17 and relocated to Brighton. We moved there to be closer to our original drummer who lived in London at the time, but I think things became more serious when he left the band and Tom joined. We were all at college together, and once we finished we hit the road pretty much instantly. I personally feel like it became a full time job when we started to record our first album.
How has the experience of playing as a headline act compared to your time on the road supporting bands?
It's very different. When you are supporting a band, no one in the audience may know who you are, so you've really got to impress. The whole point of supporting bigger bands is to win over people and make sure they come and see you next time you play a headline show in their town. We've always liked being the underdog so we really enjoy playing with more established acts. We try and put on a good show regardless of how many people are watching us. Obviously when you are playing to large crowds, you put on more of a 'show', but then I like playing in small venues where people know our songs. We enjoy both basically!
Who would be the perfect band or artist for you to collaborate with?
The perfect band for us to collaborate with? Tough one. I mean, a song with Robert Smith from The Cure would be pretty great. I'd also like to get Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes fame screaming again, so maybe we'll try and get him on the next record. I would also like to do a collaboration with someone so far removed from what we do. I'd like to work with The Tallest Man On Earth, everything that guy has released has been incredible, so maybe we could make magic with him.
If you could go back in time to when you were just starting out what advice would you give yourself?
I'd tell myself to write a song called Sex On Fire. Not really. I'd tell myself to just be patient.
What are your thoughts on the Take it away scheme?
I think it's great! Encouraging people to play music is something I would never be opposed to, it's something that should be embraced. The next Bob Dylan/Kate Bush may be out there somewhere with not enough money to buy an instrument, but you guys can give people this opportunity.
Everyone has the right to play and create music, and the Take it away scheme seems to make it just that bit easier.
Futher information and tour dates can be found on The Xcerts website.