A Scottish singer-songwriter who embraces classical, folk, pop and electronic influences to create a gentle sound all of his own
Name: C Duncan
Location: Glasgow, Scotland
Style: “Quite folky, and pretty chilled out… with bits and bobs of an electronic influence as well”
Look out for: His debut single For, out this week (for free!)
If there’s one thing you couldn’t accuse long-running UK indie label Fat Cat Records of, it’s getting stuck in any one groove. Their back catalogue features the diverse likes of Sigur Ros, Black Dice, To Roccoco Rot and Mùm, while current signings include uber-hip acts like We Were Promised Jetpacks, Vashti Bunyan and Max Richter.
And now the latest addition to the electic Fat Cat roster is the equally eclectic Christopher Duncan, or just ‘C Duncan’ as he’s known professionally. This 25-year-old Glasgwegian caught our attention with a sound that’s at once classic and modern, familiar and arresting… but then what else would you expect from a classically-trained, folk-leaning musician who namechecks The Knife, Flying Lotus, Cocteau Twins and Burt Bacharach among his influences?
Coming from a musical family – both his parents are orchestral string players – Chris started writing songs aged 12, but spent much of his teenage years playing classical music, going on to study composition at the prestigious Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. “But I’ve always been into pop music as well,” he says. “After I graduated, I started writing more pop songs and found I was enjoying it more and more, and it’s kind of taken over now.”
Eventually he sent one of his tracks to Fat Cat, who put it on their demo site, and – with the track getting a great response – invited him to their office. “And that was it, really,” says Chris. “They gave me an advance to record my album but I was pretty much left to my own devices. Which was good! So I recorded it all at my flat, and they left me to do that and play around with whatever I wanted. We did send the album off to be mastered, but other than that it was literally all done at home.”
The resulting long player, entitled Architect, will be out in the summer. In the meantime there’s the single For, out as a free download this week… and hopefully some live dates. “I’ve started gigging very recently,” says Chris, “but my music’s quite tricky to put together in a live setting because there’s lots of different layers. So I’ve had to strip it all back to where it’s just me and a friend, and we’ve basically got lots of loops, and then we both play lots of different instruments and sing over the top. It’s been fun but it’s also been a lot of work trying to figure out which songs will work on stage and which won’t. It’s not just a case of getting a guitarist and a drummer in, but we’re definitely getting there with our live sets.
“Hopefully, once the single comes out and we’ve done a few shows up in Glasgow and got comfortable with playing the songs on stage, then we’re very keen to get out there as soon as possible,” he continues. “But we’ll see… really I just want to carry on making music. This is the first step, and I’m happy with the album, so I’m looking forward to seeing where it goes from here, and what I’m going to write next.”