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Stephen Pastel: 'The national trait is to be slightly self-deprecating but there have been so many incredible records from Scotland'

Stephen Pastel: 'there have been so many incredible records from Scotland

The Pastels play with Sacred Paws at Museum Lates to celebrate the Rip It Up exhibition

Rip It Up at the National Museum of Scotland is a celebration of Scottish pop, indie and rock. Covering the 50s through to the present day with memorabilia, instruments, outfits music and film featuring the great and good of the Scottish music scene (including The Proclaimers, Lonnie Donegan, The Rezillos, Simple Minds, Garbage, Franz Ferdinand, Young Fathers, Biffy Clyro and many more).

And as the exhibition's six month run comes to a close (on 25 Nov) there's a very special edition of Museum Lates on Fri 16 Nov. A chance to explore Rip It Up after closing time, plus silent disco tours, karaoke, talks and two every special live performances from Sacred Paws and The Pastels.

Two bands that represent the breadth of Scottish music: The Pastels formed in 1981 and helped shape the Glasgow indie scene with their mix of lo-fi acoustica and garage rock; while Sacred Paws represent the new generation with their punk funk art rock as found on debut Strike a Match (which won the Scottish Album of the Year Award in 2017).

Stephen McRobbie (aka Stephen Pastel, pictured below) looks back at The Pastels early days and to the future of Scottish music.

What was the music scene like when The Pastels first started out?
It was quite ad hoc, there wasn't the infrastructure that came along later, there was a lot of trial and error. We were really influenced by a lot of the records coming out on Rough Trade and just tried to join the DIY music network. There wasn't too much of a scene so everyone made up their own thing, which is what we did, we put on our own shows, so you ended up playing in weird clubs or you'd play the local community hall.

Stephen Pastel: 'there have been so many incredible records from Scotland

Was there a real sense of community?
We all started out feeling like outsiders but it ended up, because we played together, feeling like a community. We played a lot with Strawberry Switchblade, because they started around the same time, then we started playing on bills with bands like The Jesus & Mary Chain, Primal Scream and The Shop Assistants and it started to feel like we had some kind of an identity.

What did you think of the Rip It Up exhibition?
It's really good. There are things just as a fan that are really nice to see. To see all the Poets singles on display that was really great, a slightly under recognised group. It's really nicely presented, a lot of thought and work has gone into it.

Do you think it's important to shine a light on Scotland's musical past?
The national trait is to be slightly self-deprecating but, without wanting to boast, there have been so many incredible records from Scotland and it's good to acknowledge that, and it's fantastic to get something like that in the National Museum of Scotland, it's a triumph.

You are playing with Sacred Paws, are you a fan of their music?
They're fabulous. I work with Eilidh [Rogers] and the two groups have never played together and it's something we both wanted to do. There's something really vivid about their music, they're really great role models, really intelligent and very cool, so really happy we're playing together.

Do you think the future is bright for Scottish music?
It keeps changing. There's a musician coming out of Dundee I really like, Andrew Wasylyk, his music is beautiful; through Monorail we've released this group Hairband that I think are brilliant. There's a really strong DIY scene in Glasgow alongside a good electronic scene, it overlaps but it's kind of separate too. It's becoming harder and harder for musicians to make a living exclusively from music but there's a freedom in that too, where you don't have to make music to please your record label or sign a deal.

And finally do you have a favourite album or song that you think sums up Scottish music?
There's an Orange Juice track I really love called 'Wan Light' and there's a line on it 'life began when I met you' that I've always found really poignant.

Rip It Up Museum Lates, National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, Fri 16 Nov.

Rip It Up: The Story of Scottish Pop

National Museums Scotland and BBC Scotland are coming together to tell the story of Scottish pop music in a major collaborative project that explores the musical culture of a nation over more than half a century.

Museum Late: Rip It Up

Enjoy live music from two of the Rip it Up exhibition's featured bands, 2017 Scottish Album of the Year award winners, Sacred Paws, and indie legends The Pastels, along with bars, food, silent disco, karaoke, themed activities and a chance to explore the museum after dark. Ages 18+.

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