Amy MacDonald (interview)

on Thursday 22 March 2007

What made you pick up a guitar and decide this is what you wanted to do?

It was actually because of The Man Who by Travis, which was the first album I bought, and it just really inspired me. I loved all the songs on it and just fell in love with that album. I begged my mum to take me to see them at T in The Park as they were headlining that year.

I saw them play and just thought ‘wow’, and since then I’ve always wanted to do that. My dad always had guitars round the house that he played as a hobby, so I bought a Travis chord book and just sat down and taught myself how to play ‘Turn’ on the guitar. I kinda mastered it in a couple of hours. From then on I just started playing every Travis song that I knew. I started writing songs about a year after that.

Do you think their style comes through in your music?

I don’t think their style comes through at all. I just think they’re the first band that I was really into. It’s always going to be there but I don’t think I actually sound anything like them. I listen to things like The Killers, Razorlight, Libertines, Dirty Pretty Things, all the kinda indie rock music over the past couple of years.

Do you have any female role models?

I don’t really listen to any female musicians; it’s all guys. I guess that’s just because there’s a lack of them about. A lot of people say my voice sounds like the girl from The Cranberries but I wouldn’t say I’ve listened to them that much to say that I’ve been influenced by them.

What makes you different from KT Tunstall?

I don’t know. I think I’ve got a really really distinctive voice. I don’t really sound like any other female singer / songwriters. There’s a bit more edge to my lyrics. If you listen to them they mean a bit more. Just overall it’s kinda totally different. It’s an honour to be compared to her because she’s very successful but I don’t think we’re alike at all.

Do you perform on your own or with a band?

Well I’ve been playing just myself acoustically for the past couple of months but I do have a band and we’re just waiting to get that started. So the next tour we do will be a full band, and we’ve got a few rehearsal dates booked in for the week after next.

How long have you been doing this?

About seven years, I’m 19 now and started when I was 12.

What sort of fan base do you get at your gigs?

I think my music is for everybody. The response I got from when I’ve been playing gigs or from the Myspace page has been really varied. I was playing a gig in Mull, which is a really small island off the coast of Scotland, and there were girls who were my age, girls who were younger than me, boys who were my age, people in their mid-20, people my mums age, and older people as well. Every age group possible really.

Who are you signed to?

I’m signed to an independent production company that goes through Mercury, but it’s actually Vertigo that I’m on.

And what are your plans for single and album releases?

The first single is a soft release. It’s ‘Poision Prince’ and it’s out for download on April 9th, but it’s out as a physical hard copy on 7th May, and then after that it’s ‘Mr Rock and Roll’ in July, followed by the album in July.

We recorded everything last summer. It got mixed by Bob Clearmountain in Los Anegelese.

What’s the reaction been like outside Scotland?

Everyone has been really enthusiastic and supportive no matter where I’ve been but there is always that Scottish pride thing where they will always get really behind you. I think it’s just our mentality. They support their own. I think in other countries they’re not really like that.

What do you think of Glasgow’s current music scene?

I love Glasgow’s current music scene. There are loads of unsigned bands in Glasgow that I go and see. Ive got loads of friends in bands. It’s really thriving just now. Every few months there seems to be another pub or club that turns into a new gig venue.

There’s a band called The Apple Scruffs, they’re on my Myspace top friends who are really cool. There are lots of them now; I could name so many unsigned bands at the moment, which is really weird.

Will you be at T in The Park this year?

Well hopefully I’ll be playing this year. I know that my concert agent is looking into all the festivals just now. But I’m sure it would just be one of the smaller stages as my albums not even out yet and not a lot of many people would know who I was. But I wouldn’t turn down a headline slot!

Even if I’m not playing I don’t think I’ll be disappointed. I’m happy to live in squalor for three days. It’s me and my friends’ idea of heaven, - not washing for three days in a manky tent.

What was it like going on down to the Brit awards?

We got there quite early, so nobody was sitting at the tables around us, and just before the show started people started to sit down, I was gobsmacked, right next to us was The Killers, on the other side was The Scissor Sisters and two tables in front of us was The Gallagher brothers. It was really weird but quite cool at the same time. I don’t think its something I could ever get used to.

Did you get many fans from your support slot with Ben Taylor?

Loads of people were coming up to me after I played. Normally people don’t go for a support slot, but it was actually really busy and I had lots of people coming up to me and then messaging me on my Myspace afterwards.

Many thanks to Amy for taking the time to talk to us.

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article by: Scott Johnson

published: 22/03/2007 15:40

more about Amy Macdonald