Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Interview with Brian Mackey


Interview with Brian Mackey


Lamitschka: Music has many new fans throughout Europe who may be hearing about you for the first time. How would you describe yourself and the music you play to someone who has never seen or heard you?

Brian: I think this is a good question. Usually asking someone to describe themselves is like asking a plate of food how they taste. However there could be plenty of critics who will taste the food and tell you their feelings on it, but since my music is not food and you can't taste it, from what I hear it's a semi melancholy mix of honest musicianship and organic farm raised optimism.

Lamitschka: What is your latest CD and how's it doing?

Brian: Latest CD is called “Broken Heartstrings” which has the track "Are You Listening" on it. It seems to be doing really well in the States as well as here in Europe. The album has a slightly sharper departure from my earlier work but still somehow ties into it in an ethereal manner.

Lamitschka: How did you choose the title for the CD? Is there a story behind the name?

Brian: The title of the CD was brought about by the old phrase "Tugging at your heartstrings" which means that someone is trying to persuade your heart to go in a direction which may or may not be in your best interest. I felt that it would be fitting to name it "Broken Heartstrings" because I was confident in the fact of, here's my album, this is what I do, hence breaking ties with convention and steering into invention.

Lamitschka: Do you write the songs yourself? If not, how do you go about finding the songs for your CD?

Brian: Yes, the songs are written and composed by myself unless otherwise stated. A lot of the compositions are thought out on either piano or guitar and shown to my session players who are close friends also. Sometimes rewrites are necessary because there are so many additional great ideas from the guys.

Lamitschka: Your current single is being played by radio. What do you feel is special about this song that makes people want to hear it?

Brian: The current single "Are You Listening" has taken on a life of its own. When I wrote the song it was during a very dark time for me and by playing it, it was a release. Until recently the song was not known to Europe but due to “Let's Player”, Gronkh, who used it in the Sony PS4 “Until Dawn” game review, people were asking “Who is the guy singing the song at the end?” So I really have Gronkh to thank for introducing the song to an audience who probably should never have heard it. And for that I'm truly grateful.

Lamitschka: What is your favourite song among all the songs you have recorded and what's the story behind it?

Brian: That's a hard one to answer because each one had its monument during the process of recording to be a favourite. However in terms of a song that had the most emotional currency going into the studio I would say that “Florida” comes out on top. The song describes my life in Florida, the desperation of family circumstances and my overall feeling. Not only the state of mind, but also the state in which I was living, and I feel it was recorded to express these feelings perfectly.
Lamitschka: How much creative control do you have over your music?

Brian: I try to maintain total control over the creative process but also leave plenty of room for musicians that play with me. There are always great sources of ideas, and they really help shape the vision.

Lamitschka: Do you have any interesting stories about how fans have been affected by your music?

Brian: Yes, there was a woman in Iowa whose son had passed away suddenly and tragically, and she always finds comfort in the song "Sunshower" off of the “Honest Love People”. And every now and then she will message me on Facebook or tag me on her page and will recite some of the lyrics from it. It makes me feel sad that this happened to her but a little more comforted that she finds comfort in something that I made. It's like if you were to make a quilt and give it to someone who really needed to get warm. I hope the quilt make can keep her warm.

Lamitschka: Who inspires you musically and how deep do your musical roots run?

Brian: I'm inspired by so many artists of different genres and time periods so I'll name I few: Billy Joel, Elton John, Queen, Jim Croce, Roberta Flack, the Beatles & Marvin Gaye.

Lamitschka: As an artist, you so many tasks such as recording, touring, interviews. What do you like best, what's your favourite activity?

Brian: I'd have to say that all of these but at different times. They could be either really great or ridiculously hard, but to put into context with other occupations it's not all that difficult. I feel really grateful to have the opportunity to do it.

Lamitschka: When you get time off, how do you like to relax?

Brian: I like to hang out with my dog and cat. My dog is the perfect eating partner he's six months old, a cocker spaniel and he eats like a piranha and so do I.

Christian Lamitschka for Country Music News International

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