Bagpipe Society Logo
Promoting the Bagpipe Revival since 1986

The Bagpipe Society

In the bag - Matt Seattle

As told to Andy Letcher

When asked for his biography to accompany this interview, Matt’s response was “It’s complicated!”. Well, for those that want to know more about him, simply visit his website at

What bagpipes do you play?

Border Pipes

What led you to take up piping?

Gordon Mooney’s early work awoke in me a strong sense of a distinct Border piping tradition and the possibility of rediscovering it more fully. I had ideas about what a reinvigorated Border piping tradition might be like, but no way to try them out: I had to learn to play the instrument.

Which pipers do you most admire?

I try to see piping (and musicians, and people in general) as an ecology rather than a hierarchy: listeners, learners, scholars, amateurs, professionals, maintainers, innovators – all are interdependent.

The Beatles; Jimi Hendrix; Robert Fripp (I was a 1960s teenager).

What three albums are top of your playlist right now?

I rarely play albums (I’ve been enjoying the new Dave Faulkner and Steve Turner).

If you had your life again, what instrument would you play?

Those I already play and as many others as I could manage – some keyboard facility would be useful for composing / arranging.

Name your favourite music festival.

Rudolstadt 2004 was a personal high; I’ve enjoyed the Blowouts and Pipers’ Gatherings I’ve been to. I generally prefer more intimate performance settings.

What three words describe your piping style?

Sweet Border Soul.

Bellows or mouth-blown?

Bellows. I find the notion of oral bagpipes repugnant.

Cats or dogs?

Not for me; other peoples are OK in small doses.

Do you prefer playing, dancing or both?


Cane or plastic reeds?

Cane chanter reed, plastic tongue/brass body drone reeds

What’s your greatest musical achievement?

That people I’ve not met play music I’ve composed, arranged, or discovered – and doing likewise for William Dixon.

What’s your most embarrassing bagpiping moment?

Small ones happen all the time, but a particularly uncomfortable one was while I was depping in Bag o Cats at a late night Regatta gig for drunk posh boys when my pipes refused to cooperate.

What’s the most annoying question you get asked about the bagpipes?

Are your pipes different from ‘the bagpipes’?

What advice would you give a novice?

Be hungry for music.

I love bagpipes because…

In a remarkable universe they are rather remarkable.