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IAIN T. MCKELVEY

RGM INTRODUCING – WE INTERVIEW IAIN T. MCKELVEY WHAT HAPPENED?

Hiya Iain, thanks for joining us in the virtual RGM lounge today, grab a brew and take a seat.

What made you decide that music is a thing for you?

Its just a wonderful form of expression. There’s been many times I’ve found myself working through problems subconsciously within a song. It’s not until I’ve finished a song that I might realise “Oh that was something I needed to address. Music for music’s sake feels so pure. It still amazes me that we can make these sounds

Introduce us to you all and your musical history.

I certainly have my parents to thank for an eclectic taste. I listened to a lot of Supertramp, Moody Blues, Pink Floyd, Robert Johnson, BB King, Buddy Guy, Carole King, Dusty Springfield, Billy Holiday. I really gravitate towards the old fashioned singer songwriter vibe. It’s the foundation. But that doesn’t mean classic rock hasn’t worked its way in there.

My folks weren’t really musical themselves, but they have a really great taste in music and it was always on in the house. Both really encouraged me to learn an instrument. I quit guitar twice before it finally. I’m very glad it did.

What was life like for you before music?

A lot less anxiety inducing but also a lot more close minded. The business side of the industry can be and is quite intense. It’s not really geared to build great mental health for an artist. That’s a whole other kettle of fish.

But in the same way without music I think I’d be really bored, there would be a lot less colour in my life. Music has a really beautiful way of connecting people, looking passed all the preconceived notions and focus on the human things we all feel.

What was the first song you heard that steered you into a music path?

That’s a hard one to pin down. I don’t really think there was a specific song that made me want to be a musician. There were definitely songs like ‘Nights in White Satin’ by Moody Blues that blew open my doors of perception. It made me realise “Wow, people do this, people can make this. I wonder if I can?”

Where do you feel you currently sit within the music industry?

Truthfully, jaded and a bit tired. Sitting perpetually in the ‘emerging’ side. It’s hard when music has become such a widespread commodity, there’s this expectation that people should just have it without perhaps understanding what an artists goes through to create it. And that in order to continue getting it, you may just have to pay for it.

I’ll never get tired of that feeling of creating music and watching this thing unfold and become something. That’s just the best.

But that’s probably not the answer you were after was it? I think I sit under the Alternative umbrella. Haha 

What’s the biggest thing you have learned from someone else in the industry? 

“Amazing things happen if you just keep going.”

Tell us Two truths and a lie about you.

I’m a pretty good snowboarder. An Orangutan once stole my hat at the Singapore Zoo. I make my own toilet wine.

If you could wish for one thing to aid your career what would it be?

Fair and equitable royalty payments on streaming platforms. Heck maybe even an ‘Artists Wage’. That might just be the dole though haha

Do you sign up to any conspiracy theories? If not why not?

Not particularly, but my drummer sure does. It would actually be pretty amazing if all birds were actually robots. I wouldn’t mind it if Bigfoot was real.

What was the worst experience on stage?

Oh man. We played a seated show during covid lockdown. People were allowed to watch shows if they remained seated and a metre apart. That was weird enough in itself. But the show was a basement club and my amp decided it would get grumpy. Some wiring had come loose in the jack input and it made this awful crackle noise.

Remember that game operation? Where you had to get the bones out of the man without touching the sides otherwise it would BUZZZZ. Well it started doing that like 3 songs in to a 45 minute set. I had to turn the amp super low and my lead guitarist at the time had to just play rhythm. On top of that a crowd member was super drunk and yelling incoherently. Our drummer had also had a bit too much and I’m pretty sure it was like the 2nd show my bassist ever played with us. He left without saying goodbye after the show.

But, I feel like you have to go through that to cut your teeth. I certainly learned the importance of amp maintenance and not drinking before a show.

Tell us something about you that you think people would be surprised about. 

I chopped the top of my finger off when I was 5 in New Zealand. A door slammed shut on it and just popped the top right off. They reattached it with paper stitches and bandage. They mentioned I might never have a nail on that finger. It’s a little bent BUT that nail grew back baby. Medical marvel I tell you.

What are the next steps you plan to take as a band to reach the next level?

Buy a boat and start a pirate radio channel

Whats your thoughts on Elon Musks contribution to the world?

I try not to let that person occupy to much of my precious brain space. That’s my mind.

I hear you have a new music, what can you tell us about it.

It’s a straight up rock song with a delightfully large chorus. It’s about following a path of self sabotage and hedonism that isn’t authentically you. I love disguising mental breakdowns behind a pop chorus. I’m really into it. 

What was the recording process like?

Really, really fun and really really relaxed. I purposely wanted to de-stress the process. I wanted it to feel really free and with friends. So we did exactly that. Recorded in our friend Steve Schouten’s warehouse to know real deadline and just experimented with the song. Explored avenues we thought could be cool and it was just really low stress and casual. Getting to hang out with mates and make music.

What was the biggest learning curve in writing the new tunes?

To stop trying to make a song something it isn’t. Let it unfold in the way that it wants to go. The simplest resolution is usually the best one. There’s no need to overcomplicate something that isn’t complicated. Give in to the process of creation. You are writing in service of the song, not your ego.

Would you change anything now it’s finished?

Maybe I’ll listen to it years from now and hear something. But I really dig the mixing work by Wade Keighran and Nick Franklin always nails the mastering. Also I think songs tend to warp and shift as they grow anyway. Just because it’s been time stamped with a recording doesn’t mean it’s not a living thing still. That’s why live is so fun, songs get a chance to be rambunctious.

Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?

Another song at some point I suspect 😉 Oh and tell your friends you love them. Be kind.

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