Interview: Richard Colburn - Belle & Sebastian
People use music in different ways; to relax, explore, connect and prepare. We sat down with globetrotting Belle & Sebastian drummer Richard Colburn to find out what he listens to – and why.
Hi Richard, good to meet you, and thanks for being in one of our favourite bands. Belle and Sebastian can be quite hard to pin down, genre-wise. How would you describe the music you make?
I would attempt to describe it as competent (sometimes), eclectic, considered, timeless (hopefully) and unfashionable.
Is Glasgow a good place to be a musician?
Yes, it’s probably one of the best places on the planet to be a musician. The musical history the city has makes it an unbelievably inspiring place to be. The sheer number of venues means you can see a great band every night of the week; from huge stadium fillers to the newest, coolest bands. The rehearsal and studio facilities are great, too, so it’s easy for new musicians and bands to get started.
There’s loads of good labels, promoters and other established bodies and organisations. There’s no competition between bands so all musicians tend to help each other no matter how established, new or otherwise. As a bonus, most really good bands from the city tend to stay here - so you see them kicking about the streets on any given day. Nobody in Glasgow is starstruck.
We’re always interested to hear how and when people use music: do you use it to change your mood or complement it?
Mostly complement it. There’s music for every mood. Although, very occasionally it can change my mood too.
When do you tend to listen to music?
All the time. I’d say I listen to music 90-95% of my waking hours. I DJ quite a bit too, so I can always find an excuse to listen.
Belle & Sebastian released the three-part How to Solve Our Human Problems between December and February. It’s lovely, and sad, and funny, and uplifting in turn. For new listeners, can you tell us if you have definitive solutions to all our human problems (and can you tell us now)?
If I tell you, I’d probably have to kill kill you. At the very least, it’ll kill 20-30 minutes.
Which drummer – alive or gone – inspires you most?
That’s a tough one as I love so many drummers for so many reasons. I think it’s between two drummers: Hal Blaine and Jim Gordon. Both were in the Wrecking Crew and played on thousands of hits in the 60s and 70s. They’re complete all rounders and do anything and everything (with a drum set).
You’re stranded on a desert island (or in a Walmart in North Dakota). What playlist do you take with you?
Even harder than the last question! A little bit of everything:
Techno: Derrick May.
Rock, Big Star.
Hip hop: J Dilla.
House, Daft Punk.
Punk: The Damned.
Reggae: Jackie Mittoo.
Classical: Leonard Bernstein.
Pop: The Beach Boys.
Ambient: Boards of Canada.
Soul: The Swampers.
Funk: James Brown.
Jazz: John Coltrane.
Fusion: Weather Report.
And loads of Steely Dan!
Walmart playlist: Help! - The Beatles.
You can see Belle & Sebastian's back-catalogue here on their website
Richard uses the RHA T20i