The final night of the Glasgow Film Festival saw an intimate yet packed gig at The Arches seated theatre, where a transfixed audience watched RM Hubbert, or Hubby as he’s known, perform with the collaborators  from his forthcoming album. Despite pre-show nerves. Hubby welcomed a chat.

You’ve just toured Ireland with Mogwai, how was it?

Great, they were my friends beforehand anyway so it was just like going away with your pals!

Your new album is coming out on Chemikal Underground and is being produced by Alex Kapranos, how is it going?

It’s about half way there, the process of collaboration is a large part of why I do this and is very natural to me.  This record’s going to feature Aidan Moffat, John Ferguson, Emma Pollock, Hanna Tuulikki, Stevie Jones and others to be revealed! We didn’t pre-write any of it, we just got together and ran with it.

Your back catalogue shows a sound that’s evolved quite a bit, from indie to funk to flamenco, it’s hard to categorise! Who are your influences?

I don’t particularly listen to funk or any specific genres. When I was in El Hombre we would just get together and talk about bands like Minutemen. I don’t try to be any particular style. For me music is a therapeutic tool, which I’ve used to combat depression and express myself. Now I can have conversations with people about my music which I used to struggle with when I was ill.

Where did your “Will Play for Food” gig  idea come from?

Well, one night I got paid £8 to do a gig and decided I could either get some dinner or a taxi home. So the idea behind it is that what I do works well in intimate situations, so I don’t play at the usual drunken parties where everyone plays “Wonderwall”.  [At] dinner parties on the other hand people listen and connect with the songs.

You have released some music under a Creative Commons license, allowing others to share it or remix/change it without paying for it. Do you think art and commerce can coexist?

That’s a very interesting question. Being on a bigger independent label will allow me to continue to make music as my job, so I do think it can work. But it’s never been about making a fortune for me. It’s nice that people do buy my music but for me it’s about the art and people enjoying it.

As for the gig itself, a beautiful performance with Stevie Jones saw haunting piano lines alongside Hubby’s intricate finger picking, painting a vivid picture of emotional loss and despair. Foxface’s John Ferguson joined him for a guitar and banjo jam, adding yet another style to his repertoire, and again executed with all the vigour of a man completely at home with what he does.  The highlight was the final collaboration with ex-Arab Strap poet Aidan Moffat.  A highly anticipated performance saw a narrative alluding to “pills and paranoia” and running away to “burn our Smartphones”, the beauty of Moffat’s imagery sitting perfectly against Hubby’s emotional backdrop.

The respect and admiration from the audience and his fellow collaborators was obvious, and rightly so. A silent, captivated crowd, astounded by the raw beauty of the performance knew they had witnessed something very special tonight.

Photo by Different Light Photography

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