Ewan McVicar’s meteoric rise to Scottish dance music royalty has come through years of soaking up pulsating rhythms in some of Scotland’s most fabled basement clubs. The young DJ & producer has quickly established himself as the new poster boy for Scotland’s next generation of rave immersed affiliates, wearing his heart on his sleeve within every facet of his career and remaining fundamentally infatuated with community driven club music. We caught up with Ewan to chat about inspirations, Irish festival appearances, acid house, Sub Club and more.
From a BBC Radio 1 residency, UK Top 40 chart appearances, remixing Groove Armada and playing B2B with Altern-8 – Ewan McVicar is quite frankly living the dream as a young Scottish DJ & producer, and his success is a testament to years of learning his craft and a striking commitment to not staying in one lane. Having a musical identity in the modern landscape of the dance music world can seem like a key factor in success and deviating from this can often be shunned as problematic, but Ewan McVicar doesn’t buy into this idea and openly detests it.
Ewan’s devotion to adversity and experimentation has created a fun loving and rip-roaring career in dance music thus far. Having a broad palette in subterranean grooves has meant that Ewan is a custom to veering off the beaten track when it comes to making music. Ewan has never really followed trends in search of success, but has just made what he was feeling on that given day. Ewan’s music is deeply rooted in his experiences as a dancer, and it’s overwhelmingly clear that his music is dedicated to those dance floor’s.
Ewan’s enthusiastically miscellaneous approach to music production feeds into his overall chilled out demeanour, and has allowed his music to fall into all of the right pockets of the broad spanning genre of house music. Having released on Optimo, Unknown To The Unknown, Shall Not Fade, Nervous, Higher Ground, KOOKOO, Trick and more, the youngster has been gaining respect from industry titans and trail blazers, making Ewan a force to be reckoned with and ultimately admired. His cult classic ‘Tell Me Something Good‘ wrapped up two awards in 2021 – ‘Track of the Year’ for DJ Mag Best of British accompanied by Radio 1’s ‘Electronic Track of the Year’, it also spent a lengthy time in the UK Top 40 Charts which is a rarity for house music.
We sat down with Ewan McVicar to catch up about life as a touring DJ, new projects, influences and more.
As summer slowly winds down and we begin to reflect on festival season, has there been any stand-out festival show for you?
Parklife was daft for the scale of it; absolute sea of folk, that was what I pictured when I started djing on my ironing board 10 years ago. Boardmasters was a nice one, on a cliff in Newquay, sun was setting, pod of dolphins swam by, smoke bombs being let off & then Noa Beach Club at Hideout – b2b with Skream, I nearly cried.
You’ve been pretty active on the Irish festival circuit, how was Life Festival?
Life was mental, the Irish love the hard sh*t!!
You also played at BD Festival in April, and played a monumental B2B with rave legend Altern-8. What was it like playing with such a pinnacle character in raves history?
Mate, honestly things like this were so far from my head that they could happen. I caught myself just staring at Mark a few times, like this is a dream. My mum used to work in a club called Hanger13 and she was pregnant with me when Altern8 we’re playing. How mad is that?
You’ve been creating your own history within UK dance music. ’Tell Me Something Good’ was in the UK Top 40 for a monumental 13 weeks which is no small feat for any track and even more noteworthy for a house music single. Did you have any idea on the profound impact that single would make ?
Naw hahaha not at all, it was meant to be a f*cking edit for ma sets coming out lockdown.
Did you feel any pressure following up from ‘Tell Me Something Good’ ? Did you feel that you were pigeonholed to that disco-house sound, or was it business as usual for you in the studio
Nah never, I make music for how I feel at the time and if you listen to my output after ‘Tell Me Something Good’ it’s been exactly what I’ve wanted to put out. I don’t believe in all that genre specific stuff. I’m a music person, I listen to Frank Sinatra and 2pac more than anything else so why would I make one thing!
Looking towards your remix for the legendary duo, Groove Armada. ‘I See U Baby’ is such an emblematic dance music track, did you have any idea prior to your studio sessions as to what you wanted to do with the track?
Yeah, as Fatboy Slim had made one of the best remixes ever, I thought I’d go the other way and make a mad space glitch tune.
How did you enjoy your BBC Radio 1 residency?
I loved it so much, well cool thing to do.
Your first show was a tribute to Sub Club. Can you tell me how much Sub Club has influenced you as a DJ?
Hahah god, what a question. How many pages do you want this interview to cover? Nah seriously though, pretty much everything. I learned everything musical journey-wise from the Sub Club. It taught me about attention to detail and quality of music more than anywhere else.
Scotland has such a rich history in dance music from Slam to Mylo the country has produced a heap of dance music legends. What Scottish DJs did you look up to as a youngster?
Optimo, Big Miz and Denis Sulta.
You’re pretty vocal about your love for acid house. What track do you think perfectly describes the genre?
Depends which side of the pond you look at it. Acid in US was that 303 sound with drum machines but acid house in UK was the whole movement, and some tracks don’t necessarily have a 303 in them. So the answer to that is I don’t really know haha. I played a set at Glasto and it was all of off these opinions combined into one.
What can we expect from you in the next few months?
I have some big announcements, club wise. We’re gonna have so much fun in winter. I’m not stopping. Then next year it’s time to increase the output and get some big ones back out there.
You can purchase Ewan’s remix for Groove Armada HERE.