The Xcerts

Concorde 2, Brighton

Saturday, April 13

SCOTTISH rockers Xcerts travelled from the north to find a home in Brighton. Ahead of their biggest “second hometown” show, singer Murray Macleod spoke to Jamie Walker about the band’s evolution.

Hi Murray, how is everything going?

It’s all going well.

The last few weeks have been busy preparing for the tour and the new EP.

It’s been quite a quiet start to the year.

We’ve had a couple of months of chill and now we’re getting prepped to be busy again.

That down time must be important as well.

Yeah absolutely, especially because last year was so full on.

We were on tour for 11 months of last year.

We were on tour with You Me At Six right up until Christmas, and then you go home and you have the hecticness of the holidays.

It was nice to have to start of the year to relax.

You’ve got this new EP coming out, how much are you looking forward to putting that out there?

Yeah we are really looking forward to it.

They are four songs that were written for our last album [2018’s Hold On To Your Heart] that never made the cut.

But we are still incredibly proud of the songs so it’s good that they are going to find their place in the world, they deserve to be heard.

Was it always a plan to save some songs to release an EP following the album?

We knew we’d release the songs, it was all about the capacity in which we released them.

We had the idea of doing four separate singles and then tying them together.

Our label were keen to release them as an EP, with two of them being released as singles too.

It was perfect timing really because being on tour for most of 2018 we were busy.

And then being off for these two months gave us something to be preoccupied with before we head back on the road.

How great is it to come off the back of Hold On To Your Heart being such a great success?

We are always looking ahead, so I don’t think I’ll be able to take stock of the situation until we’ve finished this next run of the tour.

Then I’ll be able to give myself and the boys a quick pat on the back.

But we’re always busy writing songs.

We’ve had an amazing 12 months though.

Was the album’s success something you expected?

We definitely had a feeling about it, we knew it was a pretty special record for us.

When we were writing the songs we had a sense that we’d climbed the ladder a few steps in regards to what we are capable of.

You never know how it’s going to be perceived, we can think it’s a masterpiece and then get told it’s trash, you never really know.

We thought it was special and quite quickly the reaction showed it was going to be great.

And you must be looking forward to being back on the road.

The funny thing with touring is that it’s a bit of a catch 22.

When you’re near the end of a tour you’re just wishing for your own bed but then when you’re in bed you just want to be back on tour.

For us two months off seems like an eternity so we’re excited to be going back out.

It will be the last run of this campaign so we want it to be more of a celebration.

We have a great connection with our fans so we can’t wait to treat each night as one last waltz.

You’re playing a hometown show at Concorde 2. You moved down here from Scotland. Do you feel like you have two hometown shows to play?

It definitely feels like more of a homecoming playing in Scotland, but that’s probably just because we’re a lot bigger in Scotland.

The shows we play in Aberdeen, Glasgow and Edinburgh are big shows.

But it’s funny because we’ve been through so many phases of the music industry, we’ve always felt outside of what’s happening down here.

We’ve always wondered where we fit, but we’ve always been treated very well down here.

We’re very much looking forward to stepping up to the Concorde level.

Once we play and after the show, all our friends will be there and that will make it more of a hometown show.

What is it like, 13 or 14 years on, getting to grips with the Brighton music scene? There are a lot of bands down here.

I remember when we first moved down and it was a bit overwhelming.

The music scene in Aberdeen is really healthy but down here, because Brighton is so close to London, there’s so much going on.

Around the time of The Kooks and those huge artists coming through Brighton we felt it would be hard to get noticed.

But now we’re on tour so much so maybe I don’t have my finger on the pulse as much, but I know there’s still a lot.

We’re great friends with big Brighton bands.

I went to college with Sam from Architects. I know the guys in Royal Blood and Blood Red Shoes too and we all seem to have gravitated into this friend group that will never play shows together – because we’re so vastly different.

Let’s talk about Architects for a second. A Brighton metal band that headlined Wembley Arena this year. Their rise is remarkable.

I’m the proudest friend right now.

They’ve been through such a traumatic experience and hellish scenario [losing guitarist Tom Searle to cancer in 2016 at the age of 28] that you wouldn’t wish on anyone.

The fact they have been so resilient is testament to not just Tom’s amazing work but the work they are all doing.

Bringing that back to the Brighton music scene, being a relatively small city with a huge music scene, does everyone benefit from a local band breaking on to a large national level?

Yeah definitely.

I think any band that can break out of their hometown boosts the profile of that music scene.

Bands in the area then feel like it’s achievable to do the same thing.

That’s how I felt when I saw Biffy Clyro break out of the local scene in Scotland.

It really ignites a fire in you.

Does it put pressure on the next release, knowing that Hold On To Your Heart was such a big success?

I guess in terms of a personal desire there’s some internal pressure.

You always want to write better songs and push yourself creatively.

We always strive to be a better band but that’s pressure we always put on ourselves.

Now we’re a bit older and wiser, I think we just want to have fun with it and enjoy it.

We had so much fun in this past year that we just have to enjoy being a band for so long.

I always think you can hear when a band are stressed on a record, the quality can be lacking.

So I’d rather release a s*** record because we had so much fun, rather than making a record under pressure.

We’re excited by these new songs and we know where we want to go with them.

What is the plan for after the tour?

We’ll be back in the studio doing demos.

We wrote and recorded a batch of songs before the You Me At Six tour and scrapped them because they weren’t good enough.

So we’ll be back writing again and get back to work.

For tickets to The Xcerts show at Concorde 2 visit