The Aliens have been described as “the sound of sunny Scotland” and they’ll be taking their radiant tunes to snowy Switzerland next month. John Maclean travelled the world with the Beta Band before forming The Aliens and he recently spoke to us about being on the road, and being Scottish:

Dear Scotland: Where are you now and what did you do last night?
John Maclean, The Aliens: Last night I went to my 2nd favourite Pakistani curry house called Tayyabs in East London, still recovering from my Sunday league football team being beaten for the first time this season. So I went to bed early – battered, bruised and full-up.

DS: Paul McCartney said he got into music to avoid a job – and get lots of girls. What made you get into music?
John Maclean: It was always something to do collaboratively – painting is such a solo pursuit.

The Aliens – Magic Man (Directed by John Maclean and Christian McKenzie)

DS: What is your favourite song of yours to play right now?
John Maclean: Well I don’t play my own music, but if I was forced to it would be ‘Everyone’ from the album Luna. I think we really caught the mood when we recorded it and it reminds me of happy, sunny Scotland and bad harmonies.

DS: You’ve played all over the world now with The Aliens and previous bands, is there one particular place that you really looking forward to playing?
John Maclean: The US of A. The Americans get a lot of stick from us Euro-pervs, especially when they shout things like ‘You Guys Rock!’, but they are the liveliest audiences and apart from the Glasgow Barrowlands (the best venue/crowd in the world), they are great to play to.

The Beta Band, as played to Americans

DS: Do you feel more Scottish when you are abroad, or do you adapt well to new places? Anything you miss about  Scotland?
John Maclean: Miss the Scottish landscape and the weather – I like cold, dark lands. There is always a good reception when you say you are Scottish when travelling, so that’s nice and handy.

DS: What will be your first words on stage at The Sudhaus in Basel, Switzerland ?
John Maclean: “Hello Sweden”.

The Aliens – Sunlamp Show

DS: Are there any Scottish musicians, past or present, that have influenced you?
John Maclean: Primal Scream, KLF, Proclaimers, Jimmy Shand, Average White Band, Billy Anderson.

Jimmy Shand

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g3hAtxZXNrA

DS: How do people react when they discover you are Scottish?
John Maclean: awwweeewwwwwweeeeeeeeeeehhhhhhhhhheeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

DS: What should the Scottish national anthem be?
John Maclean: It should be ‘500 miles’ by the Proclaimers.

The Proclaimers

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=69AvNm8zubo

DS: What is the best after-show experience you’ve had?
John Maclean: The time we had to give out after-party tickets to a party for our trumpet player’s birthday, and our bass player only gave tickets to hot girls. The ruse was up when I walked into a party of 50 girls and no men. It sounds great but it was a disaster when they realised what had happened, and we felt like total pervs.

DS: And finally, many many years from now, when you finish your farewell world tour, is there one place to where you would like to retire?
John Maclean: SCOTLAND !!!!! (THE NORTH WEST COAST)

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Tour dates and ticket details for The Aliens in Switzerland here.

More information at www.thealiens.co.uk

The Aliens in Session with Vic Galloway

Photo Credit : Lyndsey Macadam

Comments

  1. The Magic Man video has a real Michel Gondry feel to it. But freakier. Maclean was also responsible for much of the Beta Band’s artwork and design. The guy’s a genius. A very modest and sadly underrated genius.

  2. I loved the Beta Band but I’d never heard of these guys. These videos are awesome. Why are The Aliens not headlining festivals all over the world? Are they just so far ahead of their time?