Here’s the second subject of our feature on ex-pat super-Scots working in the music business. What boy from Dundee wouldn’t want to have Kylie and Lily on speed dial?
Name: Murray Chalmers.
Job title: Formerly PR director at EMI Records, where I worked for 24 years. I left in June 2008 and set up my own PR company Infinite. So I guess I’m company director.
Hometown: Born in Dunkeld, raised in Dundee.
When did you leave Scotland? 1978. I came to London to see Siouxsie & The Banshees and ended up following them round the country. I then decided I wanted to be in London and live that life full-time. Now I prefer Scotland again!
Is your Scottish identity important to you? If so, in what ways? Yes, more and more as I get older. I go back up every weekend as I have a house there and I find I really need it after a week in London. The people, the surroundings, the way everyone helps each other – the opposite of London life! I also love it culturally. I’m really into Scottish visual art as well as music.
How did you get your job and what had you done before? I got the job at EMI because I lived in a punk squat in 1978 and someone there knew someone who did PR in an independent PR company. We nicked a band from EMI and, one day whilst collecting some records from EMI, I met the then head of the PR department and she offered me a job.
Who is the most famous person you have met while doing your job? Depends on how you class fame. I don’t really think of any of them in that way. The well-known artists I work with are Kylie, Yoko Ono, Coldplay, Radiohead, Lily Allen and Pet Shop Boys.
What’s the best and worst part of your job? The best part is the music and integrating with the artists. The worst part is that you are on call all the time, particularly with tabloids at the weekend when stories for the Sunday papers might be breaking on a Friday night, just when you are hoping for a night off!
What music are you excited about right now? Broken Records, from Edinburgh, the best new band in the country. Also Burial and I just got some demos of new Lily Allen tracks and they are amazing. After the Radiohead live shows I have been on a big Kid A revival too.
How would you rate your knowledge of the current Scottish music scene? Have any new Scottish acts caught your eye recently? I know a few bands from Dundee such as Luva Ana and I work with Broken Records. Apart from that I’m not too clued up as I’m in London most of the time. My favourite Scottish band of all time is The Associates – the maddest pop music ever and they also happen to be from Dundee.