ALLY MCCRAE/BBC Introducing… In Scotland, Detour
You’re co-creator of Detour, one of Scottish music’s most exiting projects. How did it all start – over a hazy pint?
Exactly! Haha. No, Weaver and I met at uni in Stirling, through a philosophy class no less, then, more importantly through Air3, the student radio station there which we both ran. This lead onto us somehow graduating and thinking…’What next?’ Ideas came up – we did them regardless of sense or expense – then amazing people got involved and made Detour what it is.
One of the most memorable parts of Detour are the band kidnaps, which you film and document online. Have there been any times when these have been touch and go as to whether they would happen? Angry locals, authorities etc?
Surprisingly not! The police have suspiciously driven by two of our events, never bothered us though. Public… Lots of people look confused sometimes, maybe bewildered is a better term, like the one down at the banks of the River Forth with other people in the snowy shadow of the rail bridge – the delicate folks of Queensferry were more inquisitive as to what was loudly interrupting their Sunday afternoon strolls. I think a lot of it is about perception really – it looks like such a big operation that folks must think ‘Nahhh, they’ll have permission for that’.
Are you and partner in crime well known with the police?
We’ve had our moments separately. I once got mistaken for a burglar and bundled in a police van. I was innocent!
If you could choose one band in the world, kidnap and take them to any one location in the world to play a gig at, who and where would it be?
Jay-Z in the Ritz Cafe, Millport, Isle of Cumbre, Scotland.
You’ve landed a place at the BBC, replacing Vic Galloway on his Radio 1 Introducing show. Did you ever think something like this would happen so soon?
No chance. I listened to Vic’s show as a wee lad growing up! Then at uni, with our student station, he was a purrrrrre inspiration. Still can’t really comprehend it, but I’m honoured and proud to be offered it and I’m now starting the real mission of doing that justice, and making good all the support and help I’ve had.
Are you going to mix it up a bit and do it your own way or will you try and emulate Mr. Galloway?
I don’t want to be no imitator, although there is a vast amount to learn from Vic, and his energy and effortless patter is something I can only strive to emulate. I think the whole vibe of the show will be different; I hope for lots of interaction and getting the show right out there – make it essential listening every single show, by drawing people in, therefore giving the bands even more exposure and love. A show to do Scotland proud.
We spoke to producer Muslim Alim a few months back and he said having you in as a stand-in for a couple of shows last year wasn’t a risk at all. How much were you wetting yourself when you went live for the very first time on Radio 1?
All pumped up to go, all fired up, jumping up and down on the spot, headphones on, ten minutes to air – Nick Grimshaw said my name and I thought ‘Oh oh this is actually happening’ (or words to that effect…) The reaction was great, although my voice was DEFINITELY shaking in the first link! Whitey! Working with Muslim is unreal – the knowledge, attitude and wit of that man is astounding and inspiring.
What Scottish bands at the moment are impressing you?
Young Fathers, otherpeople, Loki, Three Blind Wolves, United Fruit, Debbie Kate…So, so many. I’m right excited to be able to actually spend a lot more time listening to new stuff – Detour plus a full time job plus various other adventures didn’t allow much free time in the past.
And finally, you’re well known for getting topless. Will the BBC studio become a haven of nipples and chest hair?
I can’t even grow any!
Ally’s BBC Introducing…In Scotland show goes out live on Radio 1 in Scotland between midnight and 2am on Monday mornings. Listen again to the show at its website.