Calum Ingram

Interview with CALUM INGRAM

The amazing alt-rock and blues-roots cellist CALUM INGRAM from Paisley, in Scotland has been brandishing his horse-tail bow and plucking the strings since the age of nine.

Thereafter, the young cello-wizz has formulated a distinctive perspective for his instrument — creating a dynamic and miraculous intertextuality with the strings. In this respect, he draws influences more from the artistry of Peter Gabriel, Jimi Hendrix, John Mayer, Jack White, and John Martyn than he does, perhaps, from Yo-Yo Ma, Pablo Casals or, indeed, Rostropovich.

In 2015, he headlined the acoustic main state at The Wicker Man Festival in Scotland, followed by the release of his “Turn Around” live EP. Shortly after his return, he signed a publishing deal with 23rd Precinct / Nottinghill Music. Calum has toured America, Europe, and the UK. In 2016, he performed a special concert celebrating the life of the legendary Cream bassist, Jack Bruce, alongside Mick Taylor, Steve Hackett, Bernie Marsden Lulu, and Eddi Reader.

Calum Ingram
“I feel the cello embodies so many instruments into one package…”

In 2017, Calum was featured in the Sky Arts TV series, Tony Visconti’s “Unsigned Heroes” which saw him performing a duet with Stewart Copeland (The Police) as part of Visconti’s 50 Years in Music celebratory concert.

Calum’s debut album was nominated for Best Album and for the Kevin Thorpe Award at the British Blues Awards in 2014.

His recently released single “Dancing in The Moonlight” (an exciting cover of Thin Lizzy’s smash) which we described as a “groovy/fuzzy brew of reverberate percolations with eddying drones from the cello and a light, coppery vocal that trims the outer edges of melody.

We recently had a chance to chat with Calum about his art and about his instrument:

RAWRAMP: What does the cello have that other instruments do not?

“I feel the cello embodies so many instruments into one package. which makes it so perfect for experimenting and coming up with your own unique sound. I love hearing other alternative string players as every single one has their own unique sound”

“With the cello you have such an amazing melodic range, which as a songwriter makes it so rewarding.”

RAWRAMP: Why, how and when did you start playing the cello?

“Honestly, I think I saw the instrument somewhere and was just immediately blown away by how it looked. It was almost like I already knew what could be done with it at that moment and when I heard it I was completely sold! I remember going to the store with my family to check it out. The first time I pushed the bow across the strings and thought this is too damn cool! I could feel the deepness down to my core … this what I wanna do with my life!”

Calum Ingram
If Mozart or Bach were still alive, I really believe they would be doing something completely different and continuing their legacy onto new places…

“I have to give a lot of props to my family for making it a reality. When I first asked to play at school they initially just turned their head and said I wasn’t tall enough so no… But my folks kept encouraging me and finally I managed to start having lessons and that was me on my way.”

RAW RAMP: Tell us about your time in New York City

“This was a real eye opening time for me musically this place really lets you discover yourself and really lets you choose who you want to be. I feel this was prefect for me and my development as I was about 19 when I first went out there. I had the most amazing opportunity of getting out and meeting some really incredible musicians.”

RAW RAMP: What music did you listen to as you grew up?

“Wow all kinds! I’ve listened to all sorts growing up! From my earliest memories it would be my parents bringing me up on Cream, Jimi Hendrix, Johnny Winter, Peter Gabriel, Thin Lizzy, Garry Moore, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Genesis, Robert Palmer. Then as I grew up I delved into the heavier rock thing like AC/DC, Cheap Trick, even Marilyn Manson and Metallica at certain points! I really do love all music and I feel I’ve been on this really cool journey of discovering music through my life and I ain’t stopping now!”

RAW RAMP: Why weren’t you attracted into classical music?

“I think I’ve always seen music as one whole thing, you know? It’s the attitude of separating things into cliques that I’ve got no time for. I don’t understand that mentality, and I totally have dealt with some traditional closed-minded musicians and teachers in the classical world.  However, saying that, I love and respect classical music, as my instrument is rooted in that.”

“I’ve just always felt that from a young age the cello could do more and be played in a more diverse scenario. Mind you, if people were more open in the first place with crossing instruments over maybe I wouldn’t have felt that. I mean the classical rock stars of the day were definitely combating tradition and that mentality, always! If Mozart or Bach were still alive, I really believe they would be doing something completely different and continuing their legacy onto new places. I guess I’m a bit of a rebel!”

Dancing in the Moonlight by Calum Ingram
Dancing in the Moonlight by Calum Ingram

RAW RAMP: You said, in the past, that music has the power to heal…

“Yeah, I work with a vulnerable group of refugees and asylum seekers in Glasgow, Scotland called “Musicians In Exile” helping them acclimatise into their new communities and adapting their skills as they create their new lives  in Glasgow.. Helping them develop their music skills and form their own bands and taking flight to new horizons..”

“From my time working with these amazing people I’ve seen first-hand that music is making such a difference in their lives. Music heals and helps us all communicate together and develops a trust in one another.”

RAWRAMP: How did you choose “Dancing in the Moonlight” for your single?

“I have always been such a big Lizzy fan and ‘Dancing in the Moonlight’ from the album “Live and Dangerous” was a favorite my Dad used to play all the time for long car trips.”

“I decided to release this song  after I was asked by the incredible producer Tony Visconti to prepare a cover for his 50 year celebration of music concerts in London were he ended up asking me to do it as a duet with Stewart Copeland from The Police…”

“When I read his email asking if I would be up for doing my version of ‘Dancing In The Moonlight’ with Stewart Copland I was beyond ecstatic I fell out my chair! I loved recording my version of this song and felt it would be cool to release it as a single – the world needs its spirits lifted right now … so let’s Dance in the Moonlight!”

RAWRAMP: Congratulations on recording such a spectacular single!

@neilmach 2020 ©


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