The making of Detour TV

In typical Detour style, all they’ve supplied is an address and a time.

The instructions lead me to an inconspicuous residential street in Partick, then a narrow lane that separates two blocks of tenement flats. At the end of an underpass that even the Google Street View car didn’t venture down, I find myself in a deserted wasteland containing three white vans and a gleaming, blood-red pick-up truck with one flat tyre. So far, so redneck.

The text message told me to come to No.22 at 9.30pm but there’s no sign of a house number – or a house for that matter. The only evidence of potential dwelling is an oversized cabin structure with metal steps that take me up 10ft towards an imposing steel door. I tentatively knock and a dull thud echoes unforgivingly around the barren midden behind me. I hear the muffled sound of footsteps. The door creaks open. “Heyyyyyyyyyyyyy!”

It’s Ally McCrae. Phew.

He has brought me to Detour’s secluded hideout to talk about their most ambitious project to date. A Scottish new music TV show. Only, it’s not actually on TV – not yet anyway.

This, in fact, is Detour coming full circle. Since its launch in late 2009, Ally and co-founder David Weaver have become renowned for organising audacious stunts in the name of live music – from kidnapping bands and filming them in unorthodox locations to hosting free, all-day Wee Jaunts around Glasgow and Edinburgh to their web-savvy followers.

Since its very beginnings, though, the boys have dreamt of having their own television show, and today they unveil the first of five monthly online pilots, each 30 minutes in length.

“The idea is to make a programme that presents new music in the form of a TV show that’s irreverent, a bit funny and interesting,” says Ally, who has been championing Scottish acts as a Radio 1 presenter for the past 18 months.

“We’ve always said we wanted to do a TV show. That’s what we wanted Detour to be from day one. All we’re aiming for with these first five episodes – we’re calling it series one – is to experiment with the format, do different features and see what works, what gets a reaction.”

The great thing about Detour events is that their online audience has always been able to relive the experience through professionally filmed and edited videos, thanks to about a dozen creative-minded contributors, including newly-appointed NME photographer Euan Robertson, described by Ally as “the utter driving force” behind Detour TV.

Now their not insignificant challenge is to hold the attention of a click-happy, quick-fix YouTube generation for a full 30 minutes.

“I sit in bed or on the bog and look at wee videos that people have posted on Facebook,” says Weaver. “But there are certain times when I want to be able to watch a half-hour programme, like when I’m having my dinner. Even when I’m cooking, I don’t want to be going on YouTube and clicking four or five different things.

“I know people who can get through boxsets of lengthy American dramas in a week. So I don’t see why they can’t watch 30 minutes a month if it’s decent.”

“It’s about drawing in an audience,” adds Ally. “Even if people don’t care about the music, they can still watch it and think, ‘That’s kinda cool’.”

Enjoy Episode 1:


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