• Thomas Splett

Interview with John Reid

Scottish singer, songwriter and producer John Reid has enjoyed a properly varied career. With his new album "Nightcrawlers Soul Sessions" he has revived his legendary band project "Nightcrawlers" from the 90s and conquered the UK soul charts with a seductive mix of modern Soul and R&B. Late Night Dream talked to John Reid about his new album, his musical heroes, the heyday of the London Soul scene in the 90s and further plans.

John, the "Nightcrawlers Soul Sessions EP" already made many fans listen up early this year. Now followed the regular album. What made you want to record another Nightcrawlers album after all these years?

Did you just have enough high class songs in your quiver or did you feel a new enthusiasm for this kind of music out there?

I just wanted to make a real Soul album and this is really a John Reid album to be a Nightcrawlers album. I'm a Soul singer first, so this album is more old school Soul where my Nightcrawlers tunes like "Push The Feeling On" are House records with my voice on them. As I've said before, I see my Nightcrawlers album "Let's Push It" as a collection of Soul songs on House and R&B grooves and beats. This album is straight up Soul.

Success proves you right in any case. In July you topped the UK Soul charts with your album. How important is such a success to you?

When i made the album it was just for the joy of it and I had no real expectations for it. It really is all about the music for me. The fact people are enjoying themselves for the sake of success.

In "If It's Love You Want" you list the great names of R&B and Soul history such as Michael Jackson, Marvin Gaye, Donny Hathaway and Stevie Wonder. Were these artists inspiration for the new album?

These artists would have always liked to inspire anyone in this genre. Anita Baker, Whitney, we all know who the comparison is and it's a compliment indeed.

Your album convinces not only with the quality of the songs, but also with its great sound. Tell us about the recording process.

The album was produced by Michael McEvoy and Ernie McKone. We also wrote most of the songs on there. I actually did most of my vocals in my bedroom in Glasgow by plugging an apogee mike in my laptop and holding a pop shield in my hand and the mic in the other. It's hard to believe, but that's how I did it. My friend Craig Hardy did most of the vocals, Craig knows me out and he gets the best vocals out of me and he's also a genius producer.

John, you clearly have a penchant for penning songs with familiar titles – from "All Night Long" to "Stop, Look, Listen". Coincidence, whim or bow to the classics?

Definitely an ode to the classics and also unintentional in most cases, it's just sometimes what happened.

What can listeners and fans expect in the near future. Do you want to go on tour with the new album?

I'll definitely make more music, as I said. I did not expect the album to be so much, so I'd love to go out live, but we need an audience. So we need to grow and live a live act, but for sure, I'd love to tour this album.

Great Britain was a music hotspot in the 90s. House, Modern Soul and Acid Jazz were big themes and artists like Jamiroquai came into the spotlight. How do you remember that time?

I always say the 90's was the best time for music, but it was much better than that, but that's my opinion.

Your single "Push The Feeling On" became a club classic, but in the following years you focused more and more on songwriting for other artists such as Westlife, Tina Turner, Kelly Clarkson and Rod Stewart. How did this happen? And what do you like about songwriting for other artists?

I was getting ready to make another Nightcrawlers album and was actually in a studio in London, when I was offered the chance to write for Tina Turner. I was up to write "When the Heartache Is Over" for Tina. The Nightcrawlers album did not materialize, so it was a natural thing to carry on writing for other artists, that's pretty much what happened.

A last question, John: With your single “All Night Long” you have a real summer hit on your record. Based on your experience as a songwriter, do you know early on whether a song has the potential to become a hit? Or do songs simply develop a life of their own?

I have a theory on it and it's getting a lot of money, Radio A lists, maximum rotation on TV, big marketing budgets etc., it's a lot more chance of being rita hit record ora for example, as you go, it's all about you, it's all about you, it's going to be all over you. And that's what I mean! And you really like it even if your mate has not heard of it! So what is a hit?! I remember hearing "Every little Step" by Bobby Brown and thinking now that's a hit record! It was on the radio and was everywhere so it was a hit or miss, point. Being exposure makes hits.

Thomas Splett




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