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High times in the Highlands: Exploring the outer reaches of Scotland's music scene

Outside of Glasgow and Edinburgh, pockets of hedonism and forward-thinking electronic music are thriving

  • Words & photography: Jack Needham
  • 16 May 2017
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“Scotland has a grit to it in the industrial areas like Dundee or Aberdeen, but you’re also never too far from the sea and there’s an amazing contrast in that,” cites Neil McDonald, otherwise known as Firecracker Recordings artist Lord Of The Isles. Now based in Edinburgh, McDonald was born in the picturesque surroundings of Fife on the east coast before moving to Dundee as a youngster, and now regularly takes himself back to nature to find new inspiration.

“It’s got such a long coastline that you’re never too far from the sea, and if you go up to the highlands it almost feels like you’re on the end of an island,” he says, describing how the expansive, ever-changing landscapes of Scotland became embodied in his 2016 LP ‘In Waves’. “When it gets dark at 3pm in the winter you’re in the studio, and in summer when it’s light you’re making the most of your time outside. There’s a melancholy aspect to that, and I think being from the northern hemisphere has something to do with it. It’s where you’re from, it’s in your heart really. Well, it’s either that or the whiskey…”

 
 
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