Wraiths are a Scottish music production team consisting of industry veterans James Allan and Colin Mckellar. They made their debut as a duo just three months ago with the “Collective Paranoia EP.” On that record they introduced their visionary sound which combines vintage Acid House with modern EDM and Alternative Rock. You can read all about it here.
Allan and Mckellar are back with another mind-bending Wraiths work of experimental sounds and societal observations. The new “Midnight Son EP” takes us further into this creative team’s dark explorations. The record opens with the title track, a Techno/Rock/Rap hybrid reminiscent of acts like The Prodigy or Nine Inch Nails. The song is a straight up banger, with guest performances by Kyle Smith (Keep Your Secrets, KULT KAOS) on guitar and Neil Skinner (Active Force, Public Domain) on vocals.
“1945 Parts 1&2” is a sweeping, 11:05 cinematic composition that combines the past and future into a Pink Floyd inspired trip. Part 1 consists of historic recordings of people in 1945 predicting the future with remarkable accuracy, over a bed of ambient psychedelia. Part 2 carries that theme into an Disco/Jazz inspired EDM groove. The whole thing is mesmerizing, with a stellar performance from guest vocalist Roberta Childs (“Dreams”).
We recently sat down (virtually) with Colin Mckellar of Wraiths to discuss the past, present and future.
8 Questions with Colin Mckellar of Wraiths
The Static Dive: Where are Wraiths from?
Colin Mckellar: We are from Ayrshire in Scotland
SD: How long have you been making music?
CM: We’ve been making music for over 25 years individually but as a band we’ve been going now for 3 years. We released our first EP in September. This is our second. We have quite a busy release schedule planned!
SD: Who are the musicians involved in your project?
CM: Myself (Colin Mckellar) and James Allan. We started the project around 3 years ago not really thinking long term, we just enjoyed jamming together. James was a founding member of Public Domain back in 2001, they became huge and had a massive top 10 hit in the UK with the song Operation Blade. James also teaches music production courses and I first met him when he started teaching me. We really bonded over our love of all things acid house and then started making music together. We always wanted to work with other musicians to try to bring a more live feel to dance and electronic music.
For “Midnight Son” we brought in Neil Skinner, who had MC’d for Public Domain back in the day. Neil had also been involved in the early Scottish rave scene as both a DJ and an MC, releasing tracks which have become Scottish Rave Classics such as “The Future” & “Masterplan” with Dye Witness. Neil has an amazing ability to write very aggressive but meaningful lyrics and I’m so glad we’ve been able to give him a platform to explore this side of his writing.
We also drafted in Kyle Smith, who’s an amazing guitarist and also a very good artist, he also does all of our artwork. Kyle’s guitar tone was exactly what we’re looking for on both tracks, and his riffs are essentially the glue that holds the tracks together. Finally we had Robert Childs provide diva style vocals on “1945.” Roberta has also had a few big dance hits in the early 2000’s and still writes and records now. We’ve got some more tracks coming up which she has written and recorded the vocals for.
SD: Who are your biggest musical influences?
CM: We have a huge range of musical influences. Pink Floyd, Hardfloor, Prodigy, Pendulum, Metallica, Leftfield, Underworld and many more! Our taste is very eclectic and I think this gives us an edge in the studio. We don’t want to be pigeonholed and have no rules when it comes to writing. Whatever sounds good, we’re on it!
SD: What is your greatest non-musical influence?
CM: I can’t really say for the other guys but my biggest non musical influence is anyone who stands up for what they believe in and doesn’t compromise themselves to suit a specific agenda or trend. We live in an ever polarised world at the moment and we need more people who are willing to stand up and be counted and try to bring people together, instead of trying to divide everyone.
SD: What inspired you to create this project?
CM: The Roland TB303. That silver box changed my life the instant I heard it. The original 303 is worth thousands of pounds now but a few years ago Roland released the TB 3 and TB03 which were clones of the original but modelled on the same sounds. They were great and allowed me to realise a dream of actually making music using them. Then last year Behringer released the TD3 which is fully analogue and pretty much blew the Roland stuff out the water! The sound from the TD3 is so close to the original TB303 it’s unreal. We use these boxes in all of our tracks.
SD: What are your plans for the future (musically)?
CM: We have a very hectic release schedule for 2021 so expect more EP’s following in relatively quick succession. We also want to try to get an album done in 2021 but we’ll see what happens. It would also be good to get some shows under our belt too but that all depends on what happens with the current pandemic situation.
SD: Is there anything else you would like to say?
CM: Just a massive thanks to everyone who has supported us since our first release and we hope that everyone is enjoying the music we’re putting out. stay safe!