Creative Conversations: Danny Scrimshaw, MusicianDate: 06 Jun 2019
In partnership with Edinburgh-based photographer Ellie Morag, Creative Conversations is a mini-series born from her love of portraiture, and our desire to provide a platform to share the knowledge and experience of creative locals. In part 4 of the series, we meet Danny Scrimshaw.
Danny is a musician based in Edinburgh.
On getting into music
Music is deeply rooted in my family on both sides. My Nan & Grandad were entertainers during the war, as were their fathers before them. My mum and dad are both musical, and in particular my uncle (my dad’s brother) who has made an entire life from it, still living off the royalties today. My dad used to tour with big acts during the 80's. Bands such as Big Country, Elton John, UB40, Phil Collins & Diana Ross to name a few. It wasn't music that particularly struck a chord with me as a kid but I couldn't help being completely and utterly drawn in by the whole live music scene. From sitting backstage during many band performances, to running around on the huge tour buses, ecstatic that they had a kitchen as well as all other household amenities.
Growing up I thought drums were the instrument for me, always drumming on any surface (I still do) until my dad gave me his acoustic guitar aged 13. From then on my interest in music grew and grew. I was in a band while at high school, dabbled in electronic music in my early 20's, and finally and to this date with The 10:04s. We've been fortunate enough to play with some big acts including Princes Street Gardens at Hogmanay a few years back. I also play weekly acoustic gigs, putting my spin on covers and the odd original song thrown in (if I want to clear out the venue).
On musical inspirations
For me good music is something that inspires you. Music has a distinctive power to stir up emotions and memories that will forever be tied to something as ineffaceable as a melody or phrase. When I listen to music the stuff that really strikes a chord with me is the stuff that sounds attainable. I appreciate classical music but cannot fathom the process involved in creating and arranging it. However, when I listen to guys like Nick Cave, Ian Curtis, Matt Berninger and Leonard Cohen, there's a deceptive sounding simplicity to it. It inspires me to write when you think ‘how did I not think of that melody or lyric?’. I think that’s true for other people as well because very often the music or art isn't as simple as it looks or sounds but it inspires people to try and make something themselves.
As a band we have always tried to evolve and improve. We started off as four mates making a bit of a racket and having a laugh. Fortunately, or unfortunately depending on how you look at it, quite a lot of people enjoyed that racket and continued to pay money to see it. We really didn't have a clue what we were doing, other than making up catchy melodies.
I’m not sure if you are born being creative, I think it’s massively influenced by the environment you grow up in. For instance, being surrounded by a musical family, you in turn have a natural interest in it, as does everyone around you.
I believe the other side of that is that is creativity can often be a great cathartic outlet and the process of creating something can be a means of venting or a distraction from lifestyle you’re not happy with.
All that said, I think you can certainly improve the standard of your creative skills through hard work. But, I think to excel in a creative endeavor you have to have some degree of natural talent.
Edinburgh is my home and so I always have a real sense of pride (and likely bias) towards it. It's an aesthetically striking city but a lot more than just that, it has a huge amount of history and culture to it. I live in Leith and there's a real vibrant creative hub there. Everything from music, fashion, art, photography and even a lad we know who has his own glass blowing business down at the shore. It’s also a real foodie part of town with amazingly varied restaurants and bars too. Edinburgh always strikes me as an open and inviting place to live.
Advice for my younger self?! Try not to worry what anyone else thinks. It’s especially important if you're making a type of music that isn't all that common. Don't create for other people, create for yourself. Have confidence in what you're doing. If you're worried about whether you should do something or not as it's maybe too different, then definitely do it. There's a famous Bowie quote I love...
“If you feel safe in the area you’re working in, you’re not working in the right area. Always go a little further into the water than you feel you’re capable of being in. Go a little bit out of your depth. And when you don’t feel that your feet are quite touching the bottom, you’re just about in the right place to do something exciting."
ABOUT DANNY SCRIMSHAW
ABOUT THE 10:04s
Spotify: Listen here
ABOUT CREATIVE CONVERSATIONS
Creative Conversations is an innovative, cross art-form series profiling local individuals working within the creative industry. Delivered in partnership with photographer Ellie Morag, an Edinburgh based photographer represented by Crew Scotland. She specialises in lifestyle, street style and portraits. With a style that falls somewhere between documentary and portrait photography, she is inspired by movement, colour & narrative.
Locke aims to bring creative organisations and practitioners, producers and curators into productive conversations, to share their stories and the wide range of experience and expertise amongst them.
The Creative Conversations Photography Exhibition is running at Eden Locke, Edinburgh from 31st July - 31st August.