Interview: The Dirty Beggars
Hard-hitting yet tender quintet The Dirty Beggars need no introduction to those well versed in Glasgow’s music community. By way of their enthusiasm for the blending of Americana and traditional Scottish music, they’ve created a niche for themselves that has turned heads at Celtic Connections and the Edinburgh Fringe to name but a couple. Pedro Cameron, the group’s fiddle player, answered our questions about debut album, Bite the Bullet, and who he thinks you should be listening to right now…
What do you think are the best attributes of the Bluegrass and traditional Scottish music genres?
Pedro Cameron: I think the two are heavily linked. When it comes to playing, it’s the spontaneity and the energy that comes from playing that makes it so much fun. Its an honest and unfussy kind of music.
Are there any diverse interests in different types of music within your own tastes?
P: Yeah, while we all love our own scene, we’re all big fans of techno which couldn’t really be further apart! Anything that gets you dancing, really.
You’re heavily influenced by Americana, is the Scottish music community a good parallel in terms of the similarities between the two groupings?
P: Yeah, as I said before the two are totally linked, and I think both scenes are about playing together. We always relish the chance to play, jam and drink with other bands.
What did you learn in the process of releasing Bite the Bullet?
P: Organisation is key. We recorded Bite the Bullet around this time last year and it took us til October to get it digitally released and til Christmas to get physical copies, and we had so many opportunities to get it out. We went on a month long roadtrip round the States last summer, gigging and busking and didn’t have CDs anywhere near ready, something we really regret.
Your cover of Britney Spears’ classic ‘Toxic’ is pretty special, is an album of pop covers something you‘d consider?
P: Probably not! We loved recording that song, but we’ll probably keep it to the one just now. Hayseed Dixie do the bluegrass covers thing pretty well, we’ll leave it to them!
Who else in your contemporaries would you urge people to listen to or see live?
P: Edinburgh band Adam Holmes and the Embers are favourites of ours at the moment, and are always gigging in Glasgow and Edinburgh, and we love The Staves, who do gorgeous folk pop and are just starting to take off. I would expect to hear a lot from them over the next year!
What’s a desert island disc of yours?
P: OCMS by Old Crow Medicine Show, that’s probably the band that has influenced us most heavily, and I don’t think any of us could live without ‘Wagon Wheel’…
Where are you venturing over the summer?
P: We’re playing Insider Festival up in Aviemore and the West End Festival in Glasgow, and then taking a little break during July and August. We’ve got some great stuff lined up for when we come back, watch this space!
You can keep up to date with all things Dirty Beggars via facebook and twitter and check out snippets from Bite the Bullet on their website. The group announced yesterday their cover of ‘Toxic’ is available for ‘name your price’ download via bandcamp too!