My Firsts: C Duncan | Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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My Firsts: C Duncan

Fish In Cars

Mar 29, 2019 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

My Firsts is our email interview series where we ask musicians to tell us about their first life experiences, be it early childhood ones (first word, first concert, etc.) or their first tastes of being a musician (first band, first tour, etc.). For this My Firsts we talk to C Duncan.

Scotland’s C Duncan (aka Chris Duncan) has released a new album, Health, today via FatCat. Elbow’s Craig Potter produced Health, which is Duncan’s third album. Health follows 2015’s Mercury Prize-nominated debut, Architect, and 2016’s Twilight Zone-inspired sophomore album, The Midnight Sun. His first two albums were bedroom-recorded affairs, this is the first album recorded with other producers, engineers, and musicians. “This was the biggest shift in dynamic for me,” Duncan said in a press release announcing the album, “having always worked alone, it was a daunting prospect but one I knew I had to explore.”

Lyrically, Health is more direct than his previous albums. The album’s first single, “Impossible,” is about the challenges Duncan had making a long distance relationship with an ex-boyfriend work, where as a video for the song was filmed at Europe’s biggest Elvis Presley tribute contest.

Read on as Duncan, who was born in 1989, talks about his first broken heart (which was quite recent), his first job, his inaugural email address (which he can still be reached at), and the actor he still has a crush on nearly two decades later.

First time your heart was broken?

The first time my heart was properly broken was about three years ago. I had a very intense relationship with my (then) keyboard player in my band. We did everything togetherlived together, worked together, same friend group, same interestsuntil one day we were walking through a park in Glasgow and he announced that he wanted to break up. To make the heartbreak worse, he continued to play keys in my band for the following three or four months. On the upsidehe gave me lots of things to write about, some of which are on my new record.

First record your parents played for you?

The Carpenters’ best of. Until this day they are still one of my favorite bands. We used to listen to it on vinyl and my older brother and I would sing along. Now, almost every time I see my brother, we play The Carpenters and we still sing along.

First favorite song?

My first favorite song was “Brimful of Asha” by Cornershop. I remember getting it on cassette whilst on holiday in the [Scottish] Highlands. I was about eight and I made my parents play it on repeat in the car. I’m still a big fan of Cornershop and I urge you to go and check out what they’ve been making for the past 20 yearsit’s not what you’d expect!

First actor or actress you had a crush on?

Jake Gyllenhaal. I saw Donnie Darko and instantly fell in love. I watched Velvet Buzzsaw the other day on Netflix and he is looking finer than ever (even with that slightly greasy hair).

First job you had?

My first job was at an art gallery in the village I grew up in next to Loch Lomond. When I was about 12 I would walk my dog (a HUGE deerhound) down to the gallery and the owner thought it was so cute that the dog was bigger than me that she gave me a job. (I know, I wish it was still that easy to get a job.) I worked there until I was 20. One of the best jobs I’ve ever had!

First car you owed?

I didn’t pass my test until I was 23 as I was living in a city and didn’t need a car. When the time came for it I went for a Dacia Logan. A what? A Dacia Logan. It’s a Romanian car company that basically take all the best (albeit old fashioned) parts from old Renault design and make their own thing. They are very basic, very reliable and very cheap. Since then I have moved on to something a little more exciting.

First country you visited outside of your own?

Technically England. My grandparents lived in Northumberland and I always thought it was so far away. It also seemed very exotic at the time as my grandmother and great-grandmother (who were German) spoke in German. It wasn’t until I was a little older that I realized English people didn’t all speak German. My first trip outside of the UK was to France in a caravan with my parents.

First email address?

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). I found the idea of fish driving little cars around very funny. I still use that address for all my spam, so if you want to get in touch, I check it about once every three months.

First roommate?

My first roommate was my brother. He moved into a flat in Glasgow about two years ahead of me going to university and I ended up living with him for a following two years there.

First book you read outside of one assigned for school?

Hannibal. I was a huge fan of the films (even though I saw them when I was way too young). It was probably a bad choice as a first book to choose to read for my own pleasure given that I’m dyslexic and it’s about 500 pages. Took me about six months to read. But it was worth it.

First band you were in?

My first band at school was called Gunneranamed after a huge plant that looks like it’s prehistoric. We changed our name shortly after because people kept mistaking it for Gonorrhoea. We played grunge and a bit of death metal. We were cool, or at least so I thought.

First professional recording session?

First time was for my new album! Up until then I recorded and produced everything from homemy first two records are essentially bedroom records. I wanted to change things up for the new album and I felt like it was time to see what all the fuss was. I wasn’t disappointed!

First time you performed in public?

Ooof, I try not to think about this too much. I performed in choirs and string quartets etc. when I was at school, but I had never performed my own music until I was almost forced to by my record label. I knew the time would come, but I kept holding off because I was so nervous. My first C Duncan gig was supporting a friend of mine in Glasgow. I got on stage with my only other bandmate at the time (who is still my bassist). We both almost passed out with nerves, but made it through four songs then quickly exited the stage. I guess the first time is always the worst.

Read C Duncan’s article for us on his favorite Twilight Zone episodes.

Read our interview with C Duncan on Architect.

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