When searching the internet, often there are artists I find to have that special “aura” which indicate that there’s more to them than just being a skilled musician. Often those artists don’t really bother to showcase every aspect of their creative being, which makes them even more interesting to put the spotlight on. One of these artists is the 56 year-old scottish musician David McCormack. When listening to one of his tracks, I figured that this was timeless music written for generations, developed in a fashion what only can be described as “from the heart”. I had the chance to talk with David about his creative process and his past and future as a musician.
kms/ First things first – what is David, the artist, all about? What is your motivation and drive?
David/ I started playing guitar at about 10 – and found that putting down my thoughts and ideas (real or imagined) into little songs was enjoyable and also quietly therapeutic! I have kept this going over the years and continue to write. Deep down I am a bit shy, so it I took me a while to share what I had written but eventually realised that I did not want to spend my life just writing…”songs that voices never share” like the song of Simon & Garfunkel says. I have now released a couple of albums (“Time to Time” and “Years to Date”) and played in various types of bands over the years. I still prefer writing to performing.
kms/ What instruments do you play?
David/ I mainly play the guitar – most things “with strings” I can get a tune out of and also play the piano, but not that well.
kms/ Tell us about your projects at the moment.
David/ Recently I completed my first instrumental, “The Aftermath” , which started out as an instrumental eight bar instrumental break in a “song” and developed it from there. I wrote it on piano – which is unusual for me as I normally write on guitar.
kms/ What are your main influence sources?
David/ Pretty mixed. In no particular order, I’d say Leonard Cohen, Jeff Lynne, Paul Weller, Elvis Costello. All of those have the ability to match great tunes with great lyrics.
kms/ Can you describe the developmental, recording and mixing process for the songs you create?
David/ It’s very collaborative! I write them, some friends play on them (piano/sax), another friend records them and mixes them. For some we have done full “proper music” arrangements – others are just lyrics, guide notes etc and the rest we make up as we go along.
kms/ Are you generally doing collaborations?
David/ Yes, there are a couple of people I have collaborated with fairly regularly over the years. All are great musicians, from very different musical backgrounds, and each brings their own ideas, time, talent, thoughts and judgement to what started out as a few lyrics and some chords. A close friend, who happens to run her own design company, also developed the album covers for “Years To Date” and “The Aftermath” – these really help frame the music and are great images in their own right.
kms/ What’s your experience with music platforms like Soundcloud,Reverbnation, Spotify and so on? Would you say its a good way to get heard out there?
David/ To begin with I used CD baby – it is good “starter pack” for getting a wide reach and not too expensive. I am not that great at self publicity..but now understand that you have to give songs a bit of a push…I find this bit very difficult and I am still reluctant. However without some kind of “shove” or help, any song is going to struggle to get heard in a world where music is like tap water….the instant availability of music is a great thing, but requires a bit of effort to help get songs heard.
kms/ Here’s the good old “three wishes fairy question” (laughs) – what would you wish for?
David/ Hm… personally, a bit more time to do music, my songs reach a wider audience and the opportunity to record a few more. On a wider front, a much more even distribution of wealth, realising there is more that one path through the world, and everyone taking a bit more time to understand where the other person is coming from.
kms/ What does the future hold for you? Any plans for upcoming projects yet?
David/ I was once asked: “what is the best song you have written?” I think the answer has to be “the next one” as if you don’t think your next song is the best you can do, you are not going to really believe in it, and that will come across to whoever listens.
Find out more about David McCormack here: