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This article was published 23/8/2013 (2376 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Charlie and Craig Reid don't tour because they have to, they do it because they love it.
The 51-year-old identical twins from Scotland, known to music fans as the Proclaimers, have witnessed a sea change in the music industry since they first hit the big-time in the late 1980s.
Their smash album, Sunshine On Leith, sold more than two million copies after its 1988 release, but since then record stores have struggled to survive as most of the commerce has gone online.
Without record sales to fall back on, entertainers around the world simply hit the road for months on end, hoping to sell as many tickets to their shows — as well as T-shirts and other swag — as possible.
The Proclaimers dropped by the Winnipeg Free Press News Caf© Wednesday afternoon to chat with reporter Geoff Kirbyson in advance of their show at the McPhillips Street Casino.
FP: How have you changed as the music industry has evolved over the last 20 years?
Charlie: For some artists, (touring) is perhaps a bind and a chore. For us, the reason we make records is to go on the road. It's not the other way around. Some people go on the road just to promote a record, but for us making the record is secondary. The performance is everything. When you've written a song and you've got the arrangement up, then the live performance counts more than the record for us.
Craig: Our thing was always writing songs and performing them. Making records was not the most important thing. The fact that you make money touring now, where you used to lose money 25 years ago, is good for us, but we'd be doing it whether we were making money or not.
FP: You're involved with a film that's premiering at the Toronto Film Festival next month. Tell us about it, please.
Craig: The film is called Sunshine on Leith. It's basically the film version of a stage musical, which has been doing the rounds in Scotland for the last seven or eight years. It's a tale about two guys coming out of the army and coming back from Afghanistan to Edinburgh and what happens to them and their families. There is an actual story line, it isn't like Mamma Mia. It's a play with music in it. It's being premiered on the ninth of September at the Toronto International Film Festival and it's on release in the UK on Oct. 4. I don't know when it will be released in North America, but I think it will be fairly soon after that.
FP: Do you have any role beyond providing the soundtrack?
Charlie: We do feature, briefly, leaving a pub in Leith and walking out the door and bumping into the two soldiers who are the main stars. We do a double take and then we walk on. Walking out of a pub was not a difficult role to ask us to do.
FP: Folklorama just wrapped up in Winnipeg a few days ago. The Scottish Pavilion gave us a demonstration of some of the Highland games. How's your caber toss?
Craig: I can't say I've ever done it in my adult life. In my last year of primary school, we were about 11, there was always a lot of Highland games. They did give you a go with very small pieces of wood. I wouldn't fancy trying the telegraph poles now.
Charlie: In the Highland games, I used to run for the school, I was a sprinter. I wouldn't even attempt to lift a telegraph pole anymore, let alone throw the damn thing.
FP: You've had several songs, such as I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles), in high demand for numerous movie soundtracks over the years. How does that process work?
Craig: If you're doing a movie and you want to get a Proclaimers song on it, almost certainly you will. You go to the publisher, then they come to us and we say, "yes, thank you very much."
Charlie: In the early part of our career, we didn't have anything in any movie (soundtracks), then we started to get some and it built and built. Craig and I both have a theory that movie people and advertisers think the same way. If they hear your music used in something, then a couple of years down the line they go, "Hey, why don't we do that?" It's kind of a self-perpetuating thing.
FP: What are the pros and cons to being a twin?
Craig: I think it's good that you've got a companion. Our material grandmother was a twin and she absolutely hated her twin sister. If you get on, it's good; if you don't, it's a disaster.
You're always being mistaken, especially when you're young, for your brother and you get blamed for the things that your brother did. In Scotland when we were growing up, for any misdemeanors at school, they'd get a leather belt and hit you over the hand with it. I remember being belted a couple of times for apparently switching classes, which we hadn't done. I think (being a twin) is a plus and a minus.
Charlie: Nowadays, you'd call it a miscarriage of justice.
Updated on Saturday, August 24, 2013 at 9:22 AM CDT: Formats text, adds video