Craig Hughes of Callel

The Edinburgh Evening News summarises this four piece from Scotland perfectly: “Thankfully, Callel don't appear to want to sound like every other indie/rock band around at the moment. It's a blessing for anyone listening, that much is certain." This is territory for audio junkies craving deftly crafted melodies with superbly smooth harmonies.

An entity consisting of an Arron, two Craigs and a Philip; Callel grew up in the same area of Granton in Edinburgh, went to the same school, caught the same nits, played in the same soccer team and now perform in the same band.

Callel have supported Paolo Nutini, Rooney, (selected to play by the NME ), The Bluetones, Two Door Cinema Club,The Hip Parade, The Holloways and Asobi Seksu.

Callel's first album 'Body Discovery' was released on March 25th 2010 on Aardvark Records.

The band plan to continue up the musical ladder until they can be sustained solely by the income made from their popular Callel-branded coasters (perfect for your cup of tea).

How do you describe your music to people, Craig?
Like the soundtrack to the greatest movie never made.

Tell me about how you originally got into your craft.
My first major musical love was for Wet Wet Wet, when I was about 8. Around about this time I wrote my first song. It was called ‘I Love You More Than Anyone’. Sadly, it was pathetic. Plus, I didn’t play any instruments so it was just me singing into a tape recorder. It did, however, feature the beautifully haunting couplet: “Walking is fun oh yeah, lots of dogs have hair.” A couple of years later I recovered from the travesty that was my first attempt and wrote a song entitled ‘Hello Spaceman’. If I was forced to describe it, I would say it lay somewhere between David Bowie and leprosy. When I was 14 I went to see Foo Fighters and that provoked me into learning to play guitar. From there my songwriting skills developed exponentially.

What is your favorite thing to do in the whole wide world?
Probably showering. If I could combine having a shower with eating curry I will have reached my personal Valhalla. All my best ideas and songs are born in the shower.

What is your biggest challenge when it comes to running your business?
Given the sheer amount of access we have to music now, I think a lot more is expected of unsigned and independent musicians these days. Whereas the majority of people join a band because they want to create, record and perform music for a living, the reality is that they’re forced to be agents/promoters/publicists/administrators and ‘networkers’ (what a horrible word) if they want to get a fair shot at it. This is most musicians’ idea of hell and so great acts are destined to obscurity at the expense of worse bands who are better at selling themselves. Some might say that only bands who work hard enough should make it, but that’s a pretty self-flagellating view. After all, the knowledge that a band has played every toilet in the country doesn’t exactly make their album any better, and to condone a musical society where the greatest album ever made might be destined to live in the shadows purely because its creator is not a shameless self-promoter is pretty grim in my opinion.

When you were a kid, what did you think you were going to be when you grew up?
I think I was set on becoming a butcher, primarily because it was the nearest shop to my house. Then my local butcher got busted for drugs and so my respect for him, and the noble trade of butchery, hit an earth-shattering low.

In what way has your community impacted your development as a musician?
The ancient streets of Edinburgh are more renowned for their nurturing of great authors and famous grave-diggers than they are for creating musical history. However, there are some brilliant people in Edinburgh and the rest of Scotland who have helped us tremendously to achieve musical success and they usually helped us for no other reason than that they liked our music, which is truly splendid. Edinburgh itself is beautiful and strange enough to provide a constant muse.

What other artists out there do you love?
Recently I’ve been listening to a lot of The Divine Comedy and Neil Sedaka. In fact, I’ve listened to ‘Breaking Up Is Hard To Do’ so many times in the last month that it’s actually getting unhealthy. I’ve started to memorise the intonation of every individual “dooby doo down down” backing vocal and I seem to zone out whenever the song comes on- I don’t blink for the song’s duration and I have to be slapped before I respond to my name. Besides this song, I enjoy the music of Silverchair, Big Star, Neil Sedaka, Elliott Smith, The Police, The Beach Boys and Neil Sedaka. Oh and also Neil Sedaka.

What does your future hold?
I’d like to go back to South Africa and visit my favourite creature in the world- a vervet monkey named Lulu. He liked to clean my teeth and groom my hair for bugs, and the hugs we shared still warm my heart to this day. However, I fear that now he isn’t an orphaned baby in need of rehabilitation, he would just sink his teeth into my calves and shatter my dreams of the perfect reunion. So failing that, I’d like to found and manage my own media empire; get married to a slightly rubbish opera singer but promote her talent anyway with my millions; revel in the money and glory that my business has brought me and create an estate for myself with an idyllic name like ‘Xanadu’. I imagine my domineering character will drive my wife away and so I’ll live alone in Xanadu amongst a menagerie of exotic creatures and mystical treasures until my last day on Earth, upon which I’ll drop a snowglobe and be heard to utter “Lulu” and noone will know what I was talking about.