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Music: Callum Easter chats to us about new album, System

Callum Easter

Callum Easter is an artist both unpredictable and impulsive, a multi-instrumentalist who thrives on a sporadic approach. Soulful, bluesy, folk-led and yet indie, he’s an artist who feels comfortable outwith the mould, affected by where he is in the present. His soulful up-tempo second album System is out later this month on Moshi Moshi / Lost Map, following last year’s Green Door Sessions EP. 

Like his acclaimed debut album, which was released on Lost Map Records in 2019, System was recorded largely alone in Callum’s Edinburgh studio. But he’s moved away from the poignant reflection of two years ago, with a riff-ripping, frenetic and soulful foray into madness.  

Callum spoke with SNACK about his trek forward in sound and about keeping himself on his toes. 

What can we look forward to from System?

It doesn’t hang about as much: it’s pretty straight to the point, so it’s a different kind of experience from Here or Nowhere.

And ‘What You Think’ is very different from a lot of the accordion-heavy tracks of the last LP. Are you dropping your accordion for the new album? 

There’s a lot more guitar on it – the accordion album was just a reflection of how I was doing the songs live. But I can play these new songs on accordion as well. I think with the next album, I’ll figure out how I am going to play it live before I do it. I’m always just recording different instruments that are not very straightforward to play live. 

System is more up-tempo, and I’ve been playing a few live shows, which have featured guitar and accordion. It’s just different versions. I have been putting the accordion through a guitar distortion pedal, which kinda helps. I’m my own worst enemy with that; I’m always doing it differently with each show. It keeps me on my toes. 

Photo Credit: John Mackie

And what has it been like working with Moshi Moshi to produce this record, moving away from Lost Map?

It’s not that noticeable as far as my process, because I do all the mixing and production myself. It’s still just me in the studio.

And I suppose there is quite a bit of overlap between those two labels? 

Yeah, because Lost Map are still involved in the release, I mean I speak to Johnny Lynch a lot. 

You recently performed at Hidden Door. But will there be a whole spell of gigs alongside this release? When and where can we look forward to seeing you perform live? 

So far I’ve got Newcastle and Manchester lined up, and I’m just figuring out things as far as Glasgow and Edinburgh [since announced as Lost Map’s Christmas Humbug, Summerhall in December] and London, but it’s in the works.

What are you listening to right now that’s inspiring and influencing your music at the moment, that you would urge others to pick up and listen to?

It’s not that I don’t like that question, it’s just that I’ve just not been listening to much at the minute. She’s an older artist, but I’ve been listening to Jessie Mae Hemphill a lot. I like the approach, just trying to capture the sound of a room. 

System is out on 19 November 2021, via Moshi Moshi Records 

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