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Interview: Saint Raymond


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The more observant, or TV addicted, amongst you may already recognise the sound of Saint Raymond. One his indie-rock tinged, pop firecrackers features on the ITV player advert and another soundtracked the Made In Chelsea advert.

Saint Raymond

Hailing from Nottingham (no, he’s nothing like Jake Bugg) Callum Burrows created his pseudonym by taking his Grandfather’s name and the street name that he grew up on.

After playing around music venues in the Midlands, Saint Raymond was possibly the first person ever to have to cancel his own tour… in order to release his debut EP on Gabrielle Aplin’s label.

With festival slots, headline tours, three EPs, a whole load of online backing and an album on the way, we caught up in the weirdly pristine tour bus ahead of his Birmingham show at The Institute.

With two cold-ridden snotty noses between us, we’re empathetic about the cold conditions. Of which, fans were steadily forming a long and winding queue in.

"I might go out and see them later, it’s always cool to do that whilst they’re queuing" he demonstrates putting his hood up "They never know!"

With an impressive internet following, there are Twitter (@Callum_SR) accounts for his hair (rightfully) and many are fondly called 'Saint Baemond'. Established and loyal, the relationship between artist and fan is ever growing.

"The fans are so good, they keep me sane, I really love them. They're amazing, just super supportive. They give me a good laugh for sure."

Monday, and it’s the second night of the sold out tour. Having opened in Glasgow, Saint Raymond is hitting the major cities and venues.

Ending with a homecoming show at Nottingham’s Rock City, the high ticket demands meant adding an extra date at London’s Shepherd’s Bush Empire in May.

"It’s pretty mental when I think about it. Especially like, because Rock City is like the dream. I can’t believe it’s actually happening. Then to go to Birmingham and sell places out and then Manchester, Glasgow where it’s not my home town. Then London, it’s like really special. Shepherd’s Bush is one of the more famous venues, with like Brixton and stuff so yeah I’m super excited!"

This run of shows is the Midlands lad’s biggest to date, and joining him on stage to perform "a few newbies and a few oldies" of material, is his full band.

"I do just like rocking out and having some fun. The boys on stage are a lot of fun; they're all good lads on and off stage. This is the first tour where there are quite a lot of us in terms of crew and stuff and there's like a family feel, it's great."

With a whole excitable team on the road, there are bound to be rock n roll moments isn’t there? Discussing the antics of tour, SR confesses, "To be fair we just like, sit up talking rubbish to each other until the early hours and then moan that we're stupidly tired the next day."

Later, admitting that he was planning to catch some more Breaking Bad and take some cough sweets before hitting the stage that evening.  

"Hopefully in Nottingham?" he jokes.

Having spent the back end of 2014 touring Europe for nine weeks opening up for the one and only, Ed Sheeran, there hadn’t been that much time to take in the happenings of the year.

A fan of speaking about those moments in life, it was only being away from music over the Christmas period that Saint Raymond had time to reflect on the experiences.

"I just sat down and was like 'woah' this year has been so fun and the stuff I got to do on the Ed tour was pretty mental…I had a couple of weeks at home to just do nothing really! Which was nice actually, I needed to chill out a bit."

As clearly no stranger to the live show and having played with the likes of Ed, beautiful songstress Gabrielle Aplin and Californian delights Haim, a couple of pre-gig rituals have been picked up.

"I have this really weird thing; I have to walk on stage with a bottle of water even if I don't drink it!"

Adamant that it has nothing to do with superstition, but is instead his own equivalent. We suggest swapping the bottle of water for a bottle of wine, in honour of a personal favourite of his Matty Healy (of The 1975).

Producing melodic and catchy pop tunes lined with subtle funk, Saint Raymond’s songs wash over a live audience. With upbeat rhythm to get a groove on to, and strong, clear vocals, each track has sing-a-long elements.

Most recent single, a re-release of opening track to his first EP ‘Fall At Your Feet’ features empowered instrumentals. Confessional lyrics lead softly to an explosion of an ending ‘who am I trying to be?’


From the bouncing chorus and chant in ‘Everything She Wants’ to the dance vibe of ‘Wild Heart’ each bursts with personality making great wiggling earworms.

Perhaps for everybody except the singer himself, shyly laughing whilst recounting the sticky situation that happened the previous night on stage…

"I had a really embarrassing thing in Glasgow last night. I forgot the words to 'As We Are Now'. So the first line I just couldn't remember. I was like 'Shall we sing it together?' and then they just didn't do it. Then as soon as I remembered and started singing, they started singing. I've never had anything bad happen on stage, ever. Then that happened and it was so embarrassing."

At age 15, Callum explains that he wrote crowd pleaser ‘Bonfires’. Having always had pride of place in his live sets, the folksy emotion-jerking track highlights the versatility of the singer/songwriter’s tones and pitch. 

"It's really surprising because when we started talking with the label, there was no real recording of 'Bonfires' and they were like 'oh yeah, it's kind of an alright song'. Then they came to see it live and realised that it was a song that I'd been playing live for years and saw the crowd’s reaction."

It’s fair to assume that all three EPs Escapade, Young Blood and Ghosts revolve around pinpointing moments in life. Focussing song writing around story telling, 2013’s stripped back, acoustic ‘As We Are Now’ was written whilst Callum’s friends were all moving out of Nottingham to university.

Despite the seemingly effortless musicianship, funnily in primary school guitar wasn’t Saint Raymond’s first choice of instrument to play.

"Apparently, my mum tells me that I wanted to play a clarinet. I can't remember but she said that my mouth wasn't the right size, or something?!"

Once the clarinet dream was crushed, the guitar was picked up but not taken all "that seriously". However, this changed upon hearing The Kook’s record, which was the first that he had ever bought aged 12.

"I remember I always said I wanted to be good enough to play 'Naive' by The Kooks. That was my song to play to.  Then I just started playing that and then started singing as I was playing. Then it went from there really."

Currently finishing up the debut album, mostly produced in LA with Irish producer and mixer Jacknife Lee (Two Door Cinema Club, Taylor Swift, Bloc Party…) the EPs are said to have defined the sound that is to come.

Though, it has been said that there’ll also be "some slower moments" like previously heard on the Ghosts EP ‘English Rose’. Also "there’s a moment on the piano."

The album should feature a song collaborated with the soulful Shannon Saunders.

"I did my first collab writing session with Shannon Saunders the other week, that was fun, so hopefully that'll make it onto the record. She's amazing. I knew how good she was but then when she sang in the studio I was like 'wow'."

So expect more groovy beats, confident vocals and sun-kissed vibes, with a pinch of experimenting.

If Saint Raymond wasn’t a name on your lips before, expect it to be pretty soon. It would be cliché to say that he’s one of the most exciting names for this year’s scene, but sometimes clichés are just undeniable.

With the album set to hit everybody’s iTunes and Spotify playlists in the touchable future, perhaps your summer playlist has already been taken care of.

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