EMQ’s with TOM MCKAY
Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Toronto, Canada based Solo Metal Artist Tom McKay. Huge thanks to Tom for taking part!
What is your name, what do you play, and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?
My name is Tom McKay. I grew up liking music from a very young age. One of the bands my dad would get me and my siblings into was the works of The Beach Boys and Bon Jovi. Somehow that led me to originally wanting to be a drummer (Not sure why. You’d think it’d be Meshuggah to do that). That never came to fruition, but my love of music stuck around. So much so that in high school, I started playing guitar and my thirst for playing metal music went to junkie levels in an instant. I spent the next few years honing my craft as a musician, and as a songwriter, to the point where I could finally release music under my own name.
How did you come up with your band name?
Well, when a man and a woman love each other, they fuck…hard…and then 9 months later they realized that doing so means they have to come up with a name for whatever abomination they just concocted. Long story short, my parents came up with my band name, and I just had to suck it.
What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?
I’m from the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) in Canada. The metal scene (given that our hard-on for being like America (but also not like America at the same time)) is not that different from the states. The only difference I found is that we are much more connected, and many of the local acts prefer to have their own identity to their music and not try to be part of a monotonous blob that is most of the American thrash scene.
What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single, Video)
The latest release up to now is my new song ‘Hung by the Wings of Fate’. It features a singer from Fiverr named Kylee Brielle. Her voice is fantastic, and turned out to be a perfect fit for the music as I delved further into the symphonic style that I enjoy.
‘Hung By The Wings Of Fate’ (Official Audio)
Who have been your greatest influences?
Opeth, Epica, Avenged Sevenfold. Basically, I love progressive death metal with groove and symphonic influences. Kind of describes some of the music I write anyways.
What first got you into music?
My dad got me into “The Beach Boys” and “Bon Jovi” when I was young, and I was hooked to the catchy hooks and melodies of both acts. Later on, my stepmom got me into the heavier side of music with classic rock/metal like “Skid Row”, “Guns N’ Roses”. It was here where my tastes began to develop even further, and flourished once I went into high school.
If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?
I would love to work with many of my influences, but honestly, I would love to see what a collaboration between me and Lindsay Schoolcraft would look like. I’m already friends with her, so it’s not that far-fetched, but I would love to see how our musical influences would bounce off each other, or combine into something totally different
If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?
Wacken Open Air, not even a question. Obviously, that’s a long shot away at my current level, but even attending Wacken is a huge bucket list goal for me.
What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?
I haven’t received any gifts, but I know what it feels like to have an old crazy Christian lady spit holy water at me for wearing a Slayer shirt.
If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?
Never think you are perfect the way you are. No matter what it is in your life, there’s always an infinite amount of ways you can be better. Even if you’re great at what you do, there’s always a way to be better.
If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?
Iggy Pop… wait, he’s not dead? Oh shit. Uhhhhh… either Lemmy or Chester Bennington.
What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?
I love the songwriting aspect the most. I’m not much of a performer, as I’ve never played live. But as a songwriter, that’s always where I’ve felt the most mentally challenged as you can’t just break the rules of music without understanding how to break them. Sometimes it pays off, other times it doesn’t. When you find that sweet spot, you know you’ve made a winner.
If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
Labels that treat musicians with respect and not just cash cows would be nice. I know there are some labels that do treat their musicians well, but because of how the landscape is set up, you’re probably better off being an independent band more than anything else.
Name one of your all-time favourite albums?
Dream Theater’s “Octavarium”. No contest, one of the best progressive metal albums I’ve ever heard.
What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?
Depends on the context, but CD’s have been my usual go-to as car speakers will pick up certain things you never noticed before. It’s a neat little mixing trick I recommend, as it was recommended by Glenn Fricker of Spectre Sound Studios, check your mix with car speakers as well as other listening devices.
What’s the best gig that you have played to date?
Does choir in elementary school count? (Yes, it does – Rick)
If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?
Continuing to dive further into radio, as I went to college for it and that’s where I still feel like I’m where I’m supposed to be.
Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?
That’s assuming I go to parties at all. But since you asked: Corey Taylor, Mikael Akerfeldt, Misha Mansoor, Simone Simons, Angela Gossow.
What’s next for the band?
I have multiple projects going on for my solo work, including a concept EP and full-length album.
What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?
I use any social links I’ve got, so YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I also will send emails out to people with an EPK attached.
Jaffa Cakes? Are they a cake or a biscuit?
They’re whatever you want them to be. But if the answer is not “who cares”, it’s wrong and you should feel bad.
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