An IndiePulse Exclusive Interview
“American Soul” released on Welland International Records, is the new album by acclaimed Southern California guitarist-singer-songwriter Mick McMains (who goes by the singular name ‘McMains’ when recording and performing), was not only a labor of love – but also a personal record of the events in his life, as he explains here in a wide-ranging Indie Pulse Music interview.
More to the point, American Soul is a celebration of all of the ups and downs that go along with love, romance and just plain living – back porch, down-home love songs, gloriously crafted roots-rockers that also hint at McMains’ love for Country music. “Don’t Say Goodnight Tonight” reached the #1 spot (most downloaded track) on the Airplay Express Top 40 Chart last December. Brian Lush , Host of Rockwired podcast and magazine, writes, “on tracks such as ‘Would If I Could,’ ‘Devil Don’t Care’ and ‘Never 2 Late 4 Love,’ McMains demonstrates that in the acoustic-tinged realm of Alt-Country/Americana, he is an undisputed talent that stands out from the crowd.”
Here’s how our recent interview with McMains went.
IPM: What sort of impression to you hope to leave on people after listening to your new album “American Soul”?
MM: This is kind of a personal record of events in my life, and conversely, a couple of songs were geared towards the dance floor, (Don’t Say Goodnight Tonight, Time Well Wasted), so I hope that works. If the other songs can kindle the warmer feelings that I was expressing, well, that would be very cool.
IPM: Looking back on your long history in music (The Generators, Earl Slick, DJ Monkey, et al), how do you feel the music business has changed for the better, or for the worse?
MM: Boy it sure has changed, hasn’t it? Being successful in any business is not easy. You Tube is a God-send for people with no access to record companies, which is pretty much everybody. It’s not bad to be your own boss, if you have the determination and work ethic. Personally, I’ve never worried about how “successful” I am. Besides guitars, what do you really need? Those 3 acts that you mention, were all so different in every way. I don’t see genre!
IPM: Let’s sink your proverbial teeth into discussing some of the songs on American Soul, which ones had the most emotional impact on you, and why?
MM: “Since I Started Loving You” wins the prize for most tears cried while writing. “Under the Sun” was an escape from a dreary place I was stuck in. “Hello Heartbreak” gets into a rough patch I had to go through but got out of in (mostly) one piece. “Is It Over” was a question I got caught up with when my wife left for a month to take care of family business in China. It was weird and a bit frightening to be alone after finding the One. I started asking why, and how long….very happy when she got back home.
IPM: Every musician who’s ever toured has a few great road stories to tell. What’s yours?
MM: Partying with famous people, of course! Slick introduced me to Bowie in the late 80’s when things were still raging. I hung with the entourage (see the word tour in there?) for three days in Los Angeles. One night in Berlin with the Generators was particularly memorable – if I could only remember it…(laughs)
IPM: Compare American Soul to your 2012 release, Guitar Love?
MM: Guitar Love was recorded in my old studio in Pasadena. There was a weird vibe there that made me want to leave early. When I moved to Temple City we had a Feng Shui master draw up the new studio, so it would have maximum flow. I will never make fun of Feng Shui again. I mixed the songs I had recorded in Pasadena in the new place and got it as good as I could. With the new studio, the sound was bigger and better; so, I invited lots of musicians over to jam on my tracks and hang out. Fuller sound – more stuff happening. I talked some major players into helping. Google the studio cats and it might blow your mind!
IPM: With all the recent changes in the music industry that have taken place, what top three goals do you have for your new album and career, going forward?
MM: I don’t mind lingering in obscurity, but I sure would like it if one or two of my songs got into the public consciousness. I do enjoy traveling and I have an awesome band. I have been producing other singer/songwriters along the way. Do what I can to keep music real. No robots.
IPM: What’s the rest of 2018 hold in store, gigs- and touring-wise, for McMains?
MM: May 5th is a big day in the McMains world. We are doing a two-hour set in the park in Sierra Madre, (Calif) from 2pm – 4pm for their yearly Art Festival. Then, later that night we play a Record Release Concert for American Soul at 8pm at the Roar Room in La Crescenta. On June 19th (my birthday) I’ll be at Matt Denny’s in Arcadia. Then, who knows…if the record keeps getting airplay, a city near you.
IPM: Thanks for taking the time to speak with us today.
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