Arts Q&A: Iain Archer on BB King, John Martyn and This Is Spinal Tap

Brian Campbell puts artists on the spot about what really matters to them. This week: Co Down singer-songwriter, ex-Snow Patrol member and James Bay collaborator Iain Archer

Iain Archer plays Belfast on March 5

1. When did you think about music as a career and what were your first steps into it?

My careers teacher smirked when I tried and failed to get work experience in recording studios at 16. I think I'd decided a couple of years before that music would be my life – teenage dreams so hard to beat! I studied at the University of Ulster and wrote a bunch of songs while I was there. After I graduated, I spent the summer playing festivals and was signed to a label by the end of that summer.

2. Best gigs you’ve been to?

I was at the Grammys this year and saw Jackson Browne front The Eagles and that has to be up there. I saw BB King play in the Queen's University snack bar – that was incredible and surreal. I toured with the legend that was John Martyn – after the final show he asked me what I wanted him to play and I got a personal performance of Spencer The Rover – mind blown.

3. Fantasy wedding/birthday party band?


4. The record you’d take to a desert island?

A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall by Bob Dylan; there are whole worlds to explore in that song

5. And the book?

How To Escape a Desert Island.

6. Top three films?

The Last Waltz, The Empire Strikes Back, This Is Spinal Tap.

7. Favourite authors?

Marilynne Robinson, Haruki Murakami, Ernest Hemingway.

8. Ideal holiday destination?

The Black Forest in Germany.

9. Pet hate?


10. What’s your favourite:

Dinner? Sashimi.

Dessert? Banoffee.

Drink? Guinness.

11 Who is your best friend and how do you know each other?

My wife Miriam.

12 Is there a God?

She's all love.

Iain Archer plays the Belfast Empire on Saturday March 5 at 7.30pm, along with Stephen Bishop and Best Boy Grip, as part of the Belfast Nashville Songwriters festival ( Tickets £15


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