Local favourite indie folk rock artist Moteh Parrot and his band will be embarking on a headline tour with support from Nicky Murray from the 8th April.
I was lucky enough to catch Moteh and Friends at the Ironworks when they supported Gordon James and the Power. Moteh was the opening act and the size of the audience was reflective of the high regard he is held in. As they played, I could hear very many favorable comments. I caught up with Moteh to find out more about the planned tour and the music he will be bringing.
For those not familiar with Moteh, he describes the sound of the band as “quite hard to define, although I usually say alternative indie folk or something similar. The line up of the band is electric guitar, vocals, cello, drums and bass, If I was to compare us to artists I’d say we were somewhere between Admiral Fallow, Ben Howard, Bon Iver, Elbow and Frightened Rabbit.”
Moteh was previously frontman of the popular band Red Kites. The past couple of years have seen him employ new musicians to enhance his solo sound so I asked him what we should expect to see on stage with him on tour.
“I’m very lucky to be working with some brilliant musicians at the moment. After the break up of my last band, Red Kites, my return to the Highlands happened to coincide with Kathleen Rollins – McKie’s move back to Evanton with her husband Marc. Kathleen is a fantastic cellist. She plays electric cello with lots of effects pedals, which makes it a really versatile and interesting instrument, especially live. Marc is also a great drummer, and Blair is a very in demand local bass player. I’m really lucky for them to be so dedicated to the project!”
Although Moteh has played some one off gigs recently, I wondered how he felt about the forthcoming gig: “I can’t wait to play a string of gigs where we get to play a 45 minute set! We’re usually limited to 30 minutes, which is never quite long enough to get into it properly. It’s great to spend time with so many great musicians and lovely folk every night, too.”
Moteh will be headlining the tour with another Highland local musician, Nicky Murray, who he has known through gigging in Inverness. “I started going to his Songwriters Circle groups at MacGregor’s last year. He put us on one of the Sofar Inverness shows (you can find the session on YouTube). He is a fantastic singer-songwriter with a unique voice and beautiful guitar and string arrangements. He’ll be joined by the incredible Chloe Rodgers and Chloe Bryce on violin, and maybe a bigger line up for some of the gigs.” You can read our interview with Nicky below;
I wondered what Moteh’s songwriting influences were and where he got his inspiration: “My brother passed away 10 years ago, so a lot of my songs since then have either been directly or indirectly inspired by that. I’m an optimist at heart, so I try to use songwriting as a way of processing seemingly dark, negative things in a positive way. I think everyone tries to make sense of grief on their own way – for me I’ve been interested in exploring different philosophies such as Taoism, which are becoming ever more important in today’s world. I’ve been writing a lot more ‘protest’ songs recently, exploring the massive environmental and social issues we are facing. I was very inspired to see so many kids striking for climate justice outside parliament in Holyrood last Friday. It’s not all heavy though – I love a good simple love song.”
Moteh has been writing songs for a number of years and I questioned how he chose the songs for his setlist from such a huge bank: “This setlist consists of all the best songs I’ve written since starting the band, as well as an old Red Kites’ tune. It’s not difficult to choose for the tour, because with a 45min set we don’t need to leave any out! A 30 minute set can be a challenge though. Usually the least rehearsed tunes are the first to go!”
Moteh’s audience will be looking forward to seeing them play Madhatters on the 14th April but which venue is Moteh most looking forward to?
“I’m really looking forward to The Whitebridge Hotel, as it’s just around the corner from where I grew up on the south side of Loch Ness. I have a good feeling about that one! We’re very lucky to be joined by special guest Emma Gillespie in Edinburgh and Glasgow, so I can’t wait to see her. I’m also looking forward to seeing Bob Neish in Elgin – he sounds brilliant. Inverness is always good. Dundee is a new one for me, so that will be fun. I’m looking forward to all of it!”
As well as the tour Moteh is playing Belladrum Festival again this year. He’s also booked the studio for recording his first proper release in the summer.
Moteh Parrot and Nicky Murray play Madhatters in Inverness on the 14th April, 2019 .
Full tour details below;