How we will reach them, the Scots

30 April 2015 text Mihail Stefanov
Everyone knows what an advantage is the pipe for the folklore music. But has anyone ever listened a song from Titanic played by this instrument?

The chance to hear it is here after 10 days and is called Red Hot Chilli Pipers who mix traditional music and pop culture without any fear, exactly the way they carry their red bags. We talked with the frontman Gordon McCance a few days before he and the band open the 20 Salon of Arts in National Palace of Culture on 11 May. Of course, we asked him the most bitter question - why the name of the band makes us dream about peppers instead of pipers?

Hey there! Where do we find you? What’s going on? Tell us what you see when you look out the window. And what’s on you i-pod?
My name is Gordon McCance and I am one of the bagpipers in The Red Hot Chilli Pipers. I am presently sitting in my house practicing my chanter as we have a few days off before we start our summer touring in early May. In fact our first gig of our summer dates starts in Sofia.
Presently I am listening to a wide variety of music as we are in the middle of putting together our new album and I am trying to develop new tracks.

Please tell us more about yourself and your role at the band.
I joined the band in late 2009 and am one of the three bagpipers in the band. I was very fortunate to be asked by the band at the age of 17 to take over from one of the original members who had to retire due to a hand injury. Since then I have been to several countries around the world and met some amazing people.

How is it to be a part of such big ensemble of musicians? How it all started for you? Was it a dream come true or just fate?

It’s such a great thing to be part of a large musical ensemble and the guys in the band are like brothers. Most of the time we have a laugh and a joke but there are the occasional serious moments. Although I would say because we have such a wide variety of characters and people that the serious moments don’t happen very often. As I said, for me it started in 2009 and it was literally a dream come true for me to perform with a band that I had watched perform live the previous year in Glasgow when they filmed their Blast Live DVD. In terms of being asked, it was a case of right place, right time. The band were looking for recommendations of new, up and coming pipers and one of my friends was already in the band and before it went public I got to perform in front of the guys and they offered me the job. I am just so glad I took the phone call.

Tell us more about the creative process in the band. Is there any new material ahead? Recording plans, interesting collaborations? You also appear on How to Train Your Dragon OST. Do you like dragons or just their mother?

The creative process is really a group effort. We all have our own independent ideas and we bring them to the table and everyone then adds to them. It can sometimes be a really quick process to come up with a new track or one that takes an age as we keep changing the formula of the track.
How to Train Your Dragon 2 was an incredible experience down in the London. We were down for 3 days recording individual parts and then to hear it all come together in a movie was one of my proudest achievements.

Sorry but the next question will probably make you sick. Your band’s name is a play on one of the greatest rock bands ever. Who came up with the idea? Are you a big Peppers fan? Have you ever met them? What’s your favorite Red Hot Chili Peppers’ track and why?
The idea for the band’s name was a complete accident. The concept of Bagrock was already created and the guys were looking for a name. Accidently one night, one of the guys and his girlfriend were tidying his flat when he noticed that there was a Red Hot Chili Peppers CD in amongst his piping collection and he asked why she had done that and she replied – “I thought it said Red Hot Chilli Pipers!” – and the name was born. We have never met the Peppers unfortunately but I am pretty sure they know about us as they passed comment about how good we were when they performed at the Scottish music festival T in the Park the year after us.
To be honest I am not a huge Peppers fan and we don’t play any of their music.

Your show in Sofia is opening a huge annual art event at the National Palace of culture. Were you pleased with the invitation? And what shall we expect from you? Will you rock us? Tell us more about the show on 11th May.

We were absolutely delighted to receive the invitation to come and perform in Sofia. We have never been to Bulgaria before and it’s a huge honour for us to be asked. The crowd can expect high energy, lots of fun and some audience participation when we come to Sofia. We will definitely Bagrock them.

Have you ever been to Bulgaria before? How do you like our country? Do you know what tarator is? Or rakia?
I have never been to Bulgaria before, but I know a few guys in the band have been there on holiday before and loved it.

Are you familiar with our traditional music, we also have a lot of pipes in it?
Yes I was aware of pipes in Bulgarian music as I believe we are performing with a local band – which we are really looking forward to.

What myth about you country would you like to set straight?
What is on under our kilts – “The Future of Scotland!!”


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