Interview: Mcrobin embraces the freedom
We talk to Melbourne-based alt-folk singer/songwriter, James McGuffie – otherwise known as Mcrobin – about his sophomore EP, Shallow Diver:
Hi James and thanks for taking the time out to speak with us at Something You Said. Firstly congratulations on your new EP, Shallow Diver.
Thanks, it’s been a long time coming. I’m stoked to finally share a part of it with the world.
Your title track Concrete Feet is a warm song for a cold day. Can you elaborate on sentiment behind the song?
The song is about breaking away from the conventional mould of what growing up ‘should’ look like – embracing the freedom we have to shape our own futures, rather than letting them be shaped by tradition.
Were there any particular events taking place in your life at the time of writing which made their way into your lyrics?
After one too many demoralising encounters, I came to notice how judgemental and patronising people can be of the unconventional pursuits of others. It can amount to a sense of peer pressure, to own certain things, to have done certain things and to act a certain way by any given age. I noticed that the most interesting and likeable people I know have sculpted a unique life for themselves instead of simply inserting themselves into the age old template of conformity.
You worked alongside Lachlan Carrick of Moose Masterings on this project, what did Lachlan bring to the table that really shines through on this EP?
I really respect Lachlan and his body of work, so I was stoked when he came on board to master this EP. His involvement in this record was brief, but I’d love to get him more involved, as a producer, for my next record. For this EP, I was also lucky enough to work with Simon Moro, who did a killer job recording and mixing the tracks.
What was one of the greatest challenges you faced in putting out this EP and similarly what was one of the great surprises you encountered from the process?
The greatest challenge was, and continues to be, time management. Since this project is primarily a solo pursuit, I pretty much take the reigns with every part of the process, but what I’m slowly working out is that there’s a reason successful artists have a team around them… because it’s impossible to do it all yourself. It can be easy to get caught up in the whole DIY self-managed artist thing, but for this record I delegated certain jobs, so that I could spend more time trying to create something that would be worth all the effort it takes to share it. I’ve been lucky enough to work with some amazingly talented and passionate people throughout the process of creating and sharing this new EP and it’s made the whole thing feel a lot more collaborative and a lot more fun, especially when compared to some of my previously torturous experiences releasing and working in isolation.
You will be launching your single at The Wesley Anne (Melbourne). Can you give punters an idea of what to expect?
I’m really pumped about the line-up for the launch. Opening the night is RAThammock, the brainchild of Jackson Phelan. Besides being a top bloke, Jackson is one of the most unique and insightful songwriters I’ve ever met. Didirri is another killer singer-songwriter who is doing something super refreshing with the trad-folk thing. I’ve also got Charm of Finches on board. Mabel and Ivy are still in high school but have just released a stunning album filled with songwriting and musicality way beyond their years, and their effortless harmonies blew my mind the first time I saw them busking on Station St in Fairfield. For this show I’ll have the full band playing with me. They’ve been exciting the hell out of me with what they’ve been doing with the new batch of songs lately, and we’re still buzzing from a couple of super fun shows in August. I reckon I’ll be getting the guys and girls from the other bands up for a song or two as well; so it’ll be exciting to see what happens when our sounds collide.
What does the rest of 2016 have in store for you?
Lots. I’ll be releasing the ‘Shallow Diver’ EP in November, so a regional tour is on the cards for late November/early December. Other than that I think it’ll be a mix of regular solo shows, house concerts, writing/recording the first sketches of the next EP, and hopefully a couple of festivals with the band.
Catch the ‘Concrete Feet’ Single Launch on 16th Sept at The Wesley Anne with RATHammock, Didirri & Charm Of Finches. Purchase tickets here: https://www.trybooking.com/Embed.aspx?eid=220216
Interview by Courtney Dabb.