Imagine your dream job. Perhaps you would love to be a dj…or maybe you would like to manage a band..or perhaps you would like to be a scout for a record company – going to gigs for free and getting paid to listen to new music? One lucky 23-year-old is achieving all of the above and more…meet Craig McGee.
Working as a band booker for King Tuts, djing in venues across Glasgow, managing Bishopbriggs band Hi 5 Alive and scouting for Relentless Records, it’s all in a week’s work for Craig. But the friendly lad from Erskine hadn’t mapped out his path in the music industry when he was young – it was a series of chance happenings that led him to his current ‘jammy’ position.
Whilst Craig was studying economics at university he discovered Sub City Radio.
“Uni was really boring but through that I found out about Sub City Radio,” said Craig. “I got involved and started going to gigs and reviewing CDs. I remember going to see the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s at the QMU in 2004 and then girls I knew were going on about a band called The Libertines. The next day I went to Fopp and bought their CD and it had a huge impact on me.
“I started doing a radio show focusing on unsigned Glasgow bands and I built up loads of contacts as there was a stream of great bands coming through. By the end of 2004, there was such a lot of talent that I decided to start a club night in Stereo.
“From there things started snowballing and I started running band nights at Firewater and the Buff Club whilst I was djing in both venues. It all kind of kicked off from there and as time went on I grew less and less interested in uni. I stayed on to finish the course but my social life had become my life.”
Fast forward to this year, and in February Craig started ‘Horrorshow’ at Firewater, a successful and busy night with a mix of live bands and dj sets, and his role as booker for King Tuts came to him in March.
He said: “I had got in touch with DF Concerts approximately two years ago and told them I was clued up about what was happening in Glasgow and asked if there were any jobs.
“I had given up on them getting back to me and had a few other jobs on the go when out of the blue I met Dave McGeechan (of DF Concerts) by chance and he told me there was a job coming up with DF.
“Four days later I was called into Tuts and they told me the job was mine if I wanted it!”
Craig has slipped into his new job role with ease although he says the early morning rise for a 10am start took some getting used to.
“I have had to change my lifestyle, but it is without a doubt my dream job. I couldn’t be happier,” he said.
Craig’s job with DF has kept him on his toes this summer. He was integral in selecting the bands for the ‘Your Sound’ Bandstand at the Connect festival and he helped organise and run the T Break stage at T in the Park.
He said: “It has been hectic but superb. I love what I do. I am living my dream job and it is a lifestyle not work.
“This year was my third year of working at T in the Park. I was djing in the X Tent three years ago in between bands and I worked in the silent disco, which was a great experience.
“This year I was djing in the King Tuts tent on the Friday before Club Noire and then I was filling between bands on the main stage. At King Tuts people were coming in out the rain and it got really busy – it was so much fun – everyone was jumping about and having a great time. I was running down to the crowd to see what they wanted me to play which made it for them. It was the biggest gig I have ever done and I was bricking it.
“At the T Break tent I was there to make sure the bands were okay and set them up with their rider. I would collect them and bring them into the arena. It was great to see T from behind the scenes and to be involved was really cool. It was a great experience.”
Craig’s job means he sees and hears a plethora of acts. He loves the Glasgow music scene but he has been spending a lot of time socialising in Dundee lately where there is a buzzing scene.
He said: “The scene in Dundee is great at the moment and The Doghouse is a fantastic venue. There are a lot of great bands from that area such as Sergeant and a lot of bands are helping each other out. It is a good attitude to have and it makes for a better scene.
He continued: “The Libertines had a huge effect on my age group and that is the reason why a lot of people started bands. There is definitely a bigger interest in new music and a lot more people go to see live bands now.
“I know I am really lucky to be where I am and sometimes it all seems a bit surreal. For example one day I got a call out of the blue from a guy I had only met once – he wanted me to scout for Relentless Records and I was taken down to London to meet with the record company.
“They had been looking into what I had been doing locally and a lot of things fast forwarded from that point. When I was working in Sainsburies and Marks and Spencer years ago I never thought I could make a career out of music like this but it has happened and I love it.
Craig has been specially selected to play a number of gig after parties over the last few years including Oasis, Arctic Monkeys and Dirty Pretty Things. The DPT gig was a particular highlight for him as it gave him an opportunity to share a stage with Carl Barat.
“That was pretty special as I am such a Libertines fan. I really enjoyed that and it was a great buzz. The Oasis gig was mental and I loved it. I had my friends in tow with me and it was a drunken night. It is great to be able to let my friends enjoy the experience with me, that’s what it is all about.
“ You need to live your life to the full and make the most of it. You have one chance at it and I want to have good fun and I think I can say I am achieving that at the moment.”