Colin Macleod // California x Caledonia

We first met musician Colin Mcleod at last year’s London Surf / Film Festival. Quiet and unassuming, with a flop of brown hair and a salty twinkle in his eye, he’d flown in from Norway, guitar in hand to support friend and British filmmaker Jim Hope and ended up blowing away the closing night crowd with a beautiful, acoustic set – an intimate affair despite taking place under the spotlight in a packed cinema.

Colin’s latest single,California has just been released so we wanted to catch up with thetroubadour from the Western Isles to talk salt water, stories and playing with ‘TheBoss’. Hit the video link below from filmmaker Jim Hope to sample the delights.

Hey Colin, is that green bus you’ve been recording in at Bustops or is it another green bus?

Yes, thats the bus from Barvas. I live there in the summer, working on the estate. ‘Tis a good office! 

What’s you connection to the sea?

I’m tied to the sea in the old fashioned way. I’m from the Isle Of Lewis, it’s a place that buries deep under your skin and it’s all because of the sea. Since I was very young I’ve spent most of my spare time in and around the water. Fishing, surfing, whatever didn’t matter just so long as it was wet. I tried to live in other places around the country, spent time in London, Glasgow, travelled around a bit. But once you have salt in your blood it’s very hard to stay away. So now, everything works around being able to return to the Island whenever possible. It’s alot more travelling, and maybe I might have been a bit more successful had I stayed in London, but it’s impossible…. It’s like a disease!

Can you describe your musical journey so far.

I started off music when I was in my teens, mostly so I could play along with the guys I worked with when they were jamming along, nothing serious. I only got serious about it when I left school. I was very fortunate to be offered a record deal quite early on and got to experience and learn how things worked from the inside. The first album was released on Geffen records and didn’t do so well, but it was a great experience and set me up for where I am now. So I can’t complain. And I got to play with Bruce Springsteen one time. That was nice.

Where do you draw inspiration from? 

The place I’m from is steeped in storytelling and full of amazing characters,  that’s a great source of inspiration – the people around me.  Before it was very inward, introspective, but I guess I’ve grown up a bit because that doesn’t interest me anymore…

We were lucky enough to have you play an acoustic set at LS/FF 2013 including California. Can you give a little background to the song.

It was great playing at the festival, thanks for having me. The song was a bit different to the normal way I write a song as it was written with the video in mind as opposed to the video being an after thought. It’s basically an idea that you can wish for something that you already have, in this case the place you’re from being an echo of the place you dream of.



Taken from his current Anchor EP, Colin Macleod‘s California is released today on Middle of Nowhere Recordings and available exclusively on itunes.

For a salty, musical lick from the Western Isles follow Colin on Facebook and Instagram: Colindmacleod




Colin Macleod LS/FF 2013 // Image Mat Arney