C Duncan is the Architect of his own destiny

C Duncan
C Duncan
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Most aspiring young musicians who tell their parents they want a career in the music business are often gently steered towards a more stable job.

But not C Duncan, whose debut album Architect was nominated for last year’s Mercury Prize.

As Christopher says: ‘Both of my parents were - and still are – musicians. I studied classical composition and ended up doing pop music.’

And when he told them of his aspirations?

‘They were delighted. It was either doing this or writing classical music and you can’t really make much of a career out of that unless you’ve got 20 years under your belt.

‘They’re both violinists, so it’s a completely different musical world to what they’re in, but they’ve both been very supportive.’

It’s a very, very satisfying process of starting and finishing a song, particularly when you’re doing it by yourself

C Duncan

A graduate of music composition from Glasgow’s Royal Conservatoire, Christopher was so drawn to indie music and playing in school bands as a teen that he added guitar, bass guitar and drums to his existing repertoire of viola and piano, studying all five instruments at the same time.

But he found that life in a band was not for him, and when it came to the time for the self-confessed ‘control freak’ to bring his songs to life, he decided to go it alone.

He wrote and recorded the album alone in his Glasgow flat on a bedroom studio set-up, gradually adding each layer and each instrument one at a time.

Though time-consuming, the process allowed him to lovingly assemble its subtle intricacies.

With each song taking about a month to complete, he admits: ‘It sometimes drove me a little bit crazy, but generally I loved doing it. It’s a very, very satisfying process of starting and finishing a song, particularly when you’re doing it by yourself as you can build it how you want.’

That Mercury nomination was also a welcome fillip for the artist. ‘It was a complete shock, yet very exciting.

‘It was a very strange to be part of it. As someone who likes alternative music, I’ve followed it for years and followed those who get nominated and listened to them, it’s crazy to be part of it.

‘It has opened up the album to a much wider audience, which is part of the goal – to get as many people as possible to hear the music.’

He’s also developed his live set-up for the current tour to encompass a four-piece band: ‘It’s a bunch of friends of mine, so it’s a nice way to tour.

‘I kind of started with just me and a backing track which was a bit karaoke, so I gradually got more people involved.’

And he’s certainly not resting on his laurels, with the second album already pretty much finished and Christopher hoping to get it out this autumn.

‘I did it myself again. I was toying with the idea of bringing other people in, but I’ve upgraded my home set-up and realised I haven’t quite done everything I want to do with this home production thing yet, so I thought I’d have a bash at doing this one by myself again, and it’s been a lot of fun.

‘I love working this way, because you can do whatever you want.’

The Joiners, Southampton

Tuesday, March 1