When did you begin making music, and did you ever ponder a different career?
At the moment music is not my career, I have a full time job. Over the years I’ve wanted to be everything from an animator, novelist, journalist, radio presenter, or lecturer, and I’ve got a degree in English Studies and a Masters in Journalism. However, it was my disenchantment with journalism and the lack of opportunities for young journalists that led me to focus on music. Basically, drawing, writing pop songs, painting and creative writing are things I’ve done since I was a child, so I wanted to create a persona that allowed me to use these skills however I wanted to create something unique and original.
End of Neil represents all of these unique qualities – the dark, surrealist drawings and poetry, the quick, sketchy nature of my song-writing, the energy of my flyering and PR campaigns. The project has allowed me to step outside of the limitations of thinking about careers and concentrate on pure art.
How would you describe your music?
My music, I would like to think, hits home quickly. I do not over-complicate my stuff, or stress and ponder until what I am writing becomes devoid of meaning. I come up with a tune, and go for it. Whatever comes into my head goes onto the recording. My main influences are Nirvana, for their no-fuss, high energy and very honest songs, and also the rawness of bands like Red House Painters and Sun Kill Moon. Music, I believe, is the chance to say something out loud, something true, that transcends social constraints and gets to the heart of what we are as humans.
What have you been up to so far and what can we expect over the coming months?
In 2012, I played 65 shows. I played every gig offered to me, and a few I organised myself. I supported The Vaselines, Withered Hand, and played at the folk festival Doune The Rabbit Hole. I increased my Twitter following @endofneil to over 500 followers, and my Facebook likes to over 200, beating my target. I made countless videos at www.youtube.com/endofneilmusic and recorded my first EP, September, which I released in a local coffee shop at a launch with over seventy people. This year the centre of my diary is a support slot with Rachel Sermanni in Stirling, although I also hope to launch My Games my second EP, and record what will become my first album. I am also continuing my habit of playing somewhere every night that I have off, and so far I’ve done a small tour of open mic nights in Glasgow, and some in Edinburgh. I want to reach 1000 followers on Twitter and 1000 likes by the end of the year, a target which is very very ambitious, but for a singer/songwriter with no label, management and a full time job, the only way is to push push push and follow every lead.
If you could duet with anybody who would it be and why?
When I first heard Mark Kozalek of Red House Painters, the song was Grace Cathedral Park. At the time, I was a pretty lonely student coming to terms with moving away from my high school friends and losing the security of school, of a routine and a pattern to my daily life. Grace Catherdal Park to me, speaks of that moment when you, as a developed adult, return to a scene of childhood happiness, and everything comes flooding back; the fun, the innocence, the joy. In my life, there are many Grace Cathedral Parks, places where I go and feel that physical sensation of stepping into the past. Listening to this song and some of his other songs, for the first time ever I had the ‘ that song was written just for me’ moment, and exploring his later work I found some other excellent examples, like Carry Me Ohio and The Lost Verses. So singing a duet with him would be a very moving experience.
What’s your desert island disc and why would you take this one album?
I would take Recurring Dream, by Crowded House. Even though Nirvana and Red House Painters represent two of the most important bands in my life, bands that empower you in your very private journey through existence, Crowded House are very much an uplifting band, and being alone on an island I would want something that reminded me that I was not alone. Recurring Dream, is a greatest hits package of the band’s best work, and from beginning to end it is one of the most lush, crisp and depthful albums I’ve ever heard, covering the full cannon of human experience. Furthermore, its an example of a band whose quirky, originality breathes new life into pop genre, and they are one of life’s true original bands.