It was roughly a year ago that we last met with Calum. Fresh from a move to London, he was new to the city, so naturally we invited him in to intensely unpick his brain on the thoughts of his generation. A year on and he is well adjusted to the city life - it’s his home now, even if not forever. He’s officially a London go-getter, aware of the cruelty of the city if you become too relaxed and not hungry enough for what you’re after - but he’s here and willing. Photographed by Jade Danielle Smith, the pair simply spend a few moments being. Nothing forced, just letting the hours flow from moment to moment. Stylist Nathan Henry adds understated fashion to match Calum's chilled personality. It's an effortless team assembly.
Allowing us to interrupt his afternoon of underwear shopping, time slows down for a little while. Already aware of his love for music and innate knack for drumming, he shared the story of where it all began and how his adoration of music has continued to flourish. He doesn’t say it, but we can see it whenever the conversation goes that way.
We’re intrigued by the workings of his mind, the way he reaches an answer. He doesn’t rush in, mulling it over in his mind dreaming at nothing before telling us. It makes you eagerly await the next conversation - intrigued by what his musical venture will be and the sounds that may be created.
We roughly last spoke to you about a year ago, what have you been up to since we last saw you?
I’ve just been trying to find my feet in London, really. I’ve been making some music, working, travelling outside of that daily commute. I went to Japan and a few other places. Japan was good, made some nice friends. I went for work, but it’s just an incredibly peaceful place. Even Tokyo, it’s like a paradox - in one way it’s completely manic, but at the same time everything’s so safe and everyone’s so friendly, wanting to help you out. I love it there, but I don’t know if I want to live there. I definitely want to go back though, not for work, simply for pleasure.
How have you found London since moving here and being more settled now?
I love it. I’ve been based here in London just over a year, and you don’t stop finding things to do and places to go. I definitely prefer North London, I’ve just moved to the Finsbury Park area. It’s a pretty cruel city if you don’t have any cash, but when you do it’s all yours.
You originally moved from Scotland to Leeds to here, what do you prefer?
London, yeah. I’m from a small town in Scotland and I definitely prefer it to there, as there’s not much going on. Leeds is a cool place, but it’s just a bit boring if you’re over 21 - everyone is a student. I stayed there during university and it was fun, but I think your options are limited once you leave university because everything’s relying on and catering for the students.
Do you think you’ll stay in London?
I have no idea. No clue. I decided to move to London a couple of weeks before I did, I don’t know what’s next.
Do you think as a young person it’s important to move around?
Oh, yeah. I guess that most people would move out when they’re about 18, and I definitely think you should be around 18-21 looking to move on. I never really wanted to move to London straight on from leaving school.
Do you think you've changed since being in London?
Yeah, probably. I’m a lot hungrier for things. The cost of living is higher, so you can’t just doss about - you have to put yourself out there and work hard or you just won’t survive. My eyes are just more culturally open to things as well.
What does your typical day look like?
My typical day? It’s always different. There’s no routine in my life whatsoever, it can be nice. I think since modelling, life is definitely less structured – which is good and bad. If someone asks if I want to go on holiday, say in October, the answer is simply; ‘I don’t know’.
What do you do to let your hair down and step back from all of that?
Go dancing. At a night club called Cosmic Slop in Leeds. Cosmic Slop is sick actually, it needs some more awareness. There’s a club night run by a guy called Tom Smith and it’s there to finance a charity that he runs called MAP, which gives music/arts lessons to people that are in low income areas that don’t get them in school. So for those kids that have been kicked out of school and don’t really have anything to do, can get them into the creative arts. And he just so happens to be an incredible DJ as well, and he runs his own club night after building his own sound system and it’s widely considered one of the best sound systems in Europe and it’s just in this tiny little room. The music policy is just anything goes. Big DJ’s will just play this night for free just ‘cause they want to because the system is so good. Leeds’ council are trying to kick them out because it’s in an area right next to a massive new shopping centre and they have to raise a lot of money to keep the premises – so shout out to Cosmic Slop.
We know you’re a very keen musician and had freshly left a band when you moved to London, but what’s your music life been like recently?
Non-existent, until recently. I was just in a flat where I couldn’t make any music - I lived below a baby and drums aren’t the most sociable instrument. So I wasn’t really doing much in London over the last year, but getting back into it with a friend now.
When did you start playing?
Primary school lessons. I played the trumpet, then French horn, then piano, and I didn’t really like any of them that much. And then I taught myself how to play drums and that was that. My teacher tried to teach me in music class but I never got a turn, because the class finished. I got home, and just remembered and worked everything out. Then when I went back to the class the next week I sat down and played, and that was it, and she was like; "cool".
How do you think it effects you as a person having that passion within you to want to do it?
It’s almost as if it’s my duty to do it, it’s what I’m good at, it’s the best thing I can do. It’s like I’d be doing myself a disservice if I didn’t do it.
You began playing quite young - did having this on the side of everything feel like it was different to what everyone else your age was doing at the time?
I wasn’t the child practicing 8 hours after school every night, but obviously I am the person that I am because that’s what I do and it didn’t effect my growing up.
Who are your biggest influencers?
Fishmongers. The dedication to get up early in the morning, get down to the market and I want to be that smelly when I come home from work. That’s what I inspired to be like.
Do you like to write songs?
Yeah, I don’t write lyrics though. I sometimes write poems, but it’s never made it in to any piece of music. Nothing consciously inspires them really, just how I’m feeling and what I’m seeing on that day. I think it stems from a love of hip-hop and rap I guess. They’re not like Shakespearean.
Who inspires your process?
It changes all the time I’ll like something one minute and then not the next, it’s ever changing.
Musically, who is a massive guilty pleasure of yours?
Justin Timberlake - straight to the classics - 'Cry Me a River'. No obscure ones.
Other than drumming, what passions do you have?
Buying new underwear. That’s what I did today.
That’s a good passion to have, it could be a lot worse. What sort of things do you feel dearly about in life?
Breakfast. It’s important. Favourite is just peanut butter and coffee. Not in together. A jar of peanut butter and a spoon and then a cup of coffee on the side.
Do you consider yourself a dreamer?
Yes. I rarely dream at night, but it’s made up for it in day dreams. I day dream a lot about dying a martyr.
What sort of things do you see in your future?
A really well created wine collection. But I’m going to drink them not just have it sat there, I’m going to drink it.
Red or white?
If you could describe your ideal dream world, how it would look and how it would be, what would it be?
Basically, do you know who’s got the best deal in the hole animal kingdom? Bulls. They’re just in a field, surrounded by beautiful women, and they have their favourite food just everywhere, they’re walking on it. I don’t think it can get better than that - the life of a bull.
Do you think there are any misconceptions that surround being a young person today?
Not that I can think of. I think it’s all just a stereotypical, generalised view of what old people think. Just a lot of old people always shaking their fists like; "those damn youngsters". Are there any misconceptions, I don’t know?
Nothing you’ve heard that you’ve thought; ‘I want to prove that wrong’, or ‘I do not agree, let’s discuss’?
Not particularly, lions do not lose sleep over the opinions of sheep.
I believe this generation is exceptionally switched on, what do you think we have to offer to the next generation?
I don’t know, but it’s scary to think how technology is going to effect the generations. It has already impacted us and obviously it has helped move things on, but also is kind of scary. I like it of course, it helps you get places quicker, and not just geographically. And it also helps with the kind of music I’m into - I’m influenced by technology. This thing ‘technological determinism’, which is the way technology determines the way in which you do stuff in many things from the way you cook, to the way get to work. I’m not one of those paranoid people who puts blue tac over my webcam, because if they have been watching, you’ve seen what I’ve been up to - come and get me, but they haven’t.
Other than your extensive wine collection, what sort of things do you want to achieve out of life?
Just to be happy and satisfied. Satisfaction, I haven’t reached it. Happiness is probably a result of being satisfied.
Or being a bull?
Is there any impact you would like to leave on the world?
Just to make some bangers that people want to play in their car really loud.
Anything else you enjoy from a modelling perspective?
I’ve been to some fun parties, met some interesting people. I don’t really put too much thought into it. It’s just not that important really. I haven’t done anything to do what I am doing; I don’t think anything in modelling is to be congratulated. As a model you simply have to just turn up on time. But it is great getting to meet different people and work with different teams. It beats working in an office - not that I’ve ever done that, actually.
What’s your next step now?
I just want to stay in London, to be honest, to stop moving around so much. I’m here to stay, making music.