Falloch appeared from the abyss of the Scottish wilderness last year with debut record ‘Where Distant Spirits Remain’. The duo – made up of former Askival mastermind Andy Marshall and his ex-bandmate at Concept Of Time Scott McLean – graced us with a piece of music very different to both bygone bands. With a number of UK dates ahead, we found it imperative to find out more. Calum Robson quizzes guitarist and keyboardist Scott McLean.
In Gaelic, the word ‘falach’ means ‘hidden’ or ‘in hiding’. September of last year marked Falloch’s own emergence from hiding, in style. Their penchant for an epic soundtrack atmosphere and cleanly sung vocals made them an unlikely newcomer on Candlelight’s roster in 2011. They’re not exactly in the blazing limelight, but after the release of ‘Where Distant Spirits Remain’, Falloch are firmly on the map. Nevertheless, to be geographically isolated is something that subtly resonates with this Scottish twosome. “We’re not exactly hermits but neither of us are great fans of cities,” McLean says. “I don’t go out ‘clubbing’ or anything like that, the only time you will probably find me out socialising is at a gig or maybe going out for a coffee with a friend.”
Falloch’s music is beautiful escapism that makes your seat fall into recline position, and ensures you drift away to an imaginative expanse of uninhabited, green land. It isn’t connected to the raw, reclusion that Askival once provoked from their sound – it’s something more subtle – but still, an escape that doesn’t point to any references in modern civilisation. “We both love the nature and landscapes of Scotland but as for an affinity towards the country – I don’t really have any interest in the way many people lead their lives here or the way the country is run. I try to distance myself from that as much as possible.”
Diverting away from recent debates on Scotland’s political independence, Falloch are happy to avoid the rush of nine-to-five mayhem or the contamination of political agenda. It’s an important aspect to allow Falloch to harness the spirit of the wilderness. “We both love the feeling of isolation and the freedom from normal day life that you get when you are amongst nature,” McLean says. “In some ways for me it provides a similar escape that music can often provide, so it is this aspect we try to link in with our music.”
It’s a mental bridge that directly links the band to the beauty and liberation of the untainted wild. Both Marshall and McLean bask in the tranquillity of life away from urban pressures whenever they get the chance. “We both really enjoy going up to areas such as Glencoe and the Isle of Skye,” McLean reveals. “Some places in Scotland truly are remarkable and we both feel very lucky to live in this country and have so many incredible places so close to us. Unfortunately, I haven’t had much time to go and enjoy the natural areas of Scotland recently.”
Often claiming heavy influence from Jeff Buckley instead of the black metal influences of old, the Scotsmen have brought a gust of unfamiliar yet fresh air to the UK underground. A backdrop of post-rock gives Falloch their depth whilst occasional bouts of panpipes add enticing folk flavours to ‘Where Distant Spirits Remain’. McLean reveals the intriguing influences that had an effect on ‘WDSR’. “Musically our influences come from many different sources,” he says. “We really don’t want to limit ourselves to any style or any preconceived ideas about how certain styles of music should be made. While making the album we were listening to quite a lot of Alcest, Deftones, Drudkh and Jeff Buckley, so they probably influenced the sound of the album in some way. At the moment I’m most inspired by Yann Tiersen – most people only really know his soundtrack stuff from ‘Amelie’ or ‘Goodbye Lenin’ but – his music outside of those soundtracks is just as incredible.”
So, what exactly does McClean want his listener to feel from the music he and Marshall have conjured? “Obviously it’s down to the listener, but I hope for some people it manages to take them away from where they are and gives them a sense of the atmosphere [that] we feel while in the beautiful areas of Scotland.”