For Callum Burrows (aka. Saint Raymond) the past 12 months have been a real learning curve preparing this young artist for future success. The past year has seen him gracing many festival stages across the UK and Europe, supporting Ed Sheeran on his huge arena tour and if that wasn’t enough he’s also managed to squeeze in a couple of his own headline tours along the way.
His music is all about the feel good factor whether it’s the uplifting, youthful energy of ‘Fall At Your Feet’ or the nostalgic ‘As We Are Now’. A Saint Raymond song is about letting go, freeing yourself and having a good time but with that added meaning and message behind all the tracks, you might also learn something while you’re shaking it off.
I caught up with Callum backstage at Phones 4 U arena on the second night of the Ed Sheeran tour in Manchester. We talked about touring with Ed Sheeran, his forthcoming debut record, Halloween and much more.
Charlotte, Bitter Sweet Symphonies: Why did you choose to put your music out under a pseudonym?
Saint Raymond: “I think for me, I started around a time when people like Ed Sheeran and Ben Howard were really coming to the front and I was a real admirer of it, but I was very cautious of slipping into a certain bracket I think. I was wary of even playing open mic nights, I was wary of being just another name on a list I think. I was keen to stand out a little bit.”
From the conception to the completion of a Saint Raymond song, what’s the process like?
“The process is very different. I think there’s some songs that just click. Some songs are done in half a day, it’ll be an idea I’ve had down, I start jamming with it and start running with it. But then I think there’s others that seem to just take a little bit longer, maybe a few weeks or even longer. Looking back at finishing some songs from ages ago now. I’ve no set approach, I’m just of an open mind I think.”
The question is where’s the album? What’s the plan?
“The plan is hopefully early next year, so as soon as possible in 2015.”
You do you know like a ballpark of tracks that are going to be on there?
“Still figuring it out at the minute. I recorded a lot of it this summer. I was out in America recording it. But yeah it’s getting there.”
It’s been a pretty good year for you 2014. Just looking back this time last year you were headlining Sound Control and now you’re supporting Ed Sheeran at the arena! How has this year felt from your perspective?
“You know what, it’s been an absolute whirlwind. It’s kind of flown by, especially this tour, we’ve done a month of it already and it’s just gone like that but it’s kind of crazy I completely forgot about that tour just because so much has happened since. Somebody was like ‘Do you remember your headline show at Sound Control?’. It was a good night, I think it was the last night of the tour and stuff as well, so yeah it’s been a pretty big whirlwind.”
So I’d imagine your schedule must be quite full-on on this tour?
“Yeah it’s been crazy busy but I don’t think I’d have it any other way really. I love it, I love just doing stuff.”
What have you learned from touring with Ed?
“I think just forever learning every night about his showmanship and how he carries himself on-stage. I’ve been talking to him quite a bit about advice, his big thing for me was just make sure you’re always hanging around afterwards after shows and say hello to people because I think the power of the internet these days and social media is that people buy into you as a person as opposed to just an artist these days, so I think it’s key that you go and interact with people. You know, it’s not just a music thing, you are talking to them, meeting them and saying hello, so I think it’s really important.”
Yeah I’ve been seeing that you’ve been meeting everyone after the shows.
“Yeah just hanging around for however long it takes and saying hello and sometimes if we get the chance going to play to the queue outside and stuff, so it’s been really good, yeah.”
Are there any interesting tour stories that you can share with us from this tour?
“Well, we were day 5 or 6 in and my drummer got my sound guy, my front of house guy tattooed on him. So my drummer has a picture of Lionel’s face tattooed on his arm and that was like day 4 so I dread to think what’s going to be happening in another months time.”
If you could choose any artist to cover one of your songs in the Live Lounge who would that be and what song would you like them to cover?
“Oh that is a great question. I’d love to hear Bon Iver. I’d let him have a go at ‘As We Are Now’. I just love Bon Iver, I think he’s amazing, so anything he did would be genius.”
Are there any songs that are your go-to jam songs, maybe songs you play at rehearsal or in soundcheck?
“Of my own or any other artist?”
Any other artist.
“Trying to think what I’ve been listening to recently. I’ve been listening to [music] to get pumped up before shows because I never used to do that, I used to be kind of just chilled but I find that the best way is to have a silly warm up and a dance. I‘ve been listening to quite a bit of Years & Years, they’re really good, saw them live the other night which was great. What else have I been listening to? Let me have a look on spotify, sorry let me have a check. Another interesting tour story, I smashed my phone last night.”
Oh my gosh.
“Yeah that was not fun at all. I was like ‘Ahh it’ll be fine’ and I woke up this morning and I was like I smashed my phone last night.
Years & Years, SBTRKT’s new album and Broods as well, they’re really cool.”
I heard your song ‘I Want You’ on an ITV advert the other week. Your music seems to be connecting very well with people. Have you heard yourself on the radio or on TV yet? How does it feel?
“You know what, I keep missing it. It’s kind of weird I keep seeing things pop up, even the ITV player advert which is a thing that’s happening for a while. I still haven’t actually caught it on telly. I seem to just catch things, my mum is a big fan of recording stuff so I’ll go home and I’ll be like ‘Mum, why did you record this programme for like 5 minutes?’, she’s like ‘Because your song was on it!’.
Bless her, but I’ve only ever caught it on the off-chance once. I was watching a bit of telly and then one of my favourite songs was on and I was like ‘I love this song’ and then the next song came on and I like ‘I know this song. Oh it’s me!’. So it’s only ever happened once but yeah it’s a bit of a surreal kind of thing that it gets on the TV, that’s crazy.”
It’s nearly Halloween, you’re playing in Glasgow that night, are you going to dress up?
“I think so. I think we’ve got to find out what the plan is. I would like to dress up. I’ve never ever dressed up for Halloween ever so it’ll be my first ever Halloween dress up. So I think I need to do something quite special and weird, that’s probably the best plan.”
You’re from Nottingham, in recent years there has been quite a few singer/songwriters that have come out of your town. Most notably Jake Bugg, Indiana and Joel Baker. Are there any other artists from Nottingham that we should be on the look out for?
“I’m a big Amber Run fan. I just think those boys are crazy. Well, they’re technically not a Nottingham artist because I think they all met at Uni there but I absolutely love those guys, I think they are amazing. They’re such nice boys as well. Yeah they’re a favourite of mine.”