By Jo Dargie
Seven years ago he sparked a desire to turn his hand at DJing with the hope of bringing a new sound to Ayr. Now, he’s ditched the makeshift decks balanced on an ironing board and released with respected underground labels. Meet Ewan McVicar.
He started out experimenting with flavours of Hip-Hop “before naturally progressing into House music.” Early musical influences included The Game, Dr Dre and Kanye West.
A few years down the line, and in collaboration with Steven Simpson, came the creation of Granary 12. An Acid duo formed in the way that all best ideas are formed, “absolutely wrecked one night.” Ewan explained the conception of the collective. “My flat was in a place in Ayr called The Granary and I lived in number 12, so us being the mangled masterminds we were we just started shouting GRANARY 12 at each other and the rest is history!”
Recalling the pair’s first live set at renowned La Cheetah for Electric Salsa x TEN Crossover, Ewan hails it as one of their best to date.“TEN was a night I started with my mates in Ayr and I made Steven a resident. We grew closer from there and I can honestly say if there was no TEN there’d be no G12. It really was the catalyst for most of our music!”
Fast forward to the final months of 2020. The year where hot and sweaty club nights are illegal. Ewan looks back fondly and beams a real sense of pride in his incredible achievements over the last 12 months despite the challenging circumstances. “My whole year has been a highlight, to be honest.”
He’s enjoyed numerous plays on BBC Radio 1, signed and released with Patrick Topping’s label ‘Trick’, released on Nervous Records, nominated for DJ Mag’s Breakthrough DJ 2020 and built his own studio. As for playing live, Ewan still managed to secure some seminal sets throughout the year. Including Bangface Weekender in March where he played alongside Steven under G12.
Then in September Ewan made his debut STREETrave appearance at their live stream event. Joining Dream Frequency, Michael Kilkie and the legendary Carl Cox. A line-up that Ewan says put him alongside many of his “original heroes.” In summer Ewan celebrated his debut release on Patrick Topping’s label ‘Trick’ with the 3-track ‘Street Rave EP.’ A title that pays homage to the iconic club night associated with his local clubs.
Ewan explained that he sent in what is now known as ‘Dorian’ as a demo and was asked to send over more. “From there I sent tonnes of tracks and Street Rave was one of them. Patrick loved it and said I should meet him at Creamfields as I said I was already going as a punter. I got security checked and eventually got backstage in my camping gear. Met Patrick for the first time in person, genuinely the nicest guy about!”
The meeting was about to get even more memorable for Ewan. After quizzing Topping on whether or not he’d spin ‘Street Rave’ in his set. He alluded to being uncertain but only a short while later Ewan’s track would open a set at Creamfields.“To this day the most memorable, surreal moment of my life. It was like everything I’d worked for came to that point!”
This year Ewan was scheduled to play alongside Topping at ‘Patrick Topping presents::Trick Terminal V All Nighters.’ However, like many other live sets Ewan had planned for 2020 such as ‘Radio 1’s Big Weekend,’ he’s had to postpone. “It is gutting but if you dwell on stuff like that you never progress.” For everyone in the nightlife industry, we can only hope for live events to return in 2021 after the treacherous year that the pandemic brought us.
In a pre-Covid world, being a DJ at times could feel like you were in fact on top of the world. The connection with a buzzing crowd. The radiating energy of hungry ravers hanging on your every beat. Surrounded by like-minded people, simply there for a good time no matter how messy it gets. Something which is prominent in Ewan’s attitude when he’s behind the decks. “G12 played Corsica Studios in London and I was on top of the decks pouring bucky into folks mouths then the bouncer told me to get down. I said naw and he ran round to get me so I swan dived into the crowd to get away from him. It didn’t work! I was out the front on my back in a matter of minutes.”
G12 partner Steven shares the same high energy as Ewan recalls another personal highlight. “Steven got panelled before a set in Glasgow and genuinely couldn’t see what he was doing. I played a tune and it went down well, he got too excited, jumped on me and I fell over and cut all the music out. Some buzz man.”
In the studio, Ewan’s writing process mirrors his ethos of there no rules. “I use everything across the board, samples, vsts, hardware. I enjoy making my music so much because I have given myself the freedom to express myself.” Taking the same hedonistic approach when it comes to genres. Ewan’s expansive tastes shine through in his tracks and sets.
Over the years as we’ve watched him develop as an artist, Ewan’s own personality has become a pillar to his production style. “Emotion, passion and energy is something I always try and portray in all my tracks. Comparing his music to a personal journal of memories and moments in time, he claims that “as soon as I put one of my tracks on it takes me straight back to how I was feeling when I made it. It’s a class feeling.”
Expect Ewan to take the next step in 2021, climbing the ladders of elite Scottish producers. “I’m not even sure I’m allowed to tell you most of them but fuck it.” In the early months Ewan will be releasing a Minimix with Annie Mac and providing that live events get the go-ahead next year, expect to see him taking Glasgow, Dubai, and Budapest by storm.
Along with a long list of new releases coming our way. Including UTTU EP, a Trick remix and new EP, a release on Food Music and “hopefully Mele’s label Club Bad. It’s looking class, I’m so happy!” There’s one thing playing on his mind more than anything. Getting back on the dancefloor.“My goals would be to play Subby, do my own show, and run an all-day summer event in Ayr down the beach with a stage near the old Pavilion. That’s my Madison Square Garden!”
Overall, it can’t be denied that Ewan McVicar is carving himself a legacy within club culture. Showcasing to aspiring DJs that opportunities are out there if you “stick at it” and that “the only person that needs to believe in you is you.” He’s the type of figure that the industry needs. Someone who not only forges a path but turns around and helps others to follow. Ewan believes strongly in sharing advice where he can for the sole reason that he was in the exact same place not long ago. Contacting DJs and labels, waiting for the right one to take a chance on him.
When prompted to talk about his own future as an artist Ewan added: “Decades from now I want to look back and know that I did everything I could to get to where I wanted to be as a respected DJ and producer whilst staying grounded and humble.”Through his stylistic production, he has established himself within the industry. However, it’s his attitude that makes him unique. “Aye that Ewan McVicar, what a sound cunt – if folk are saying that about me when my career is over, I’ve done everything I wanted to.”
Check out his latest EP Love Trip released on Nervous Records