Jamie Mc Donald Talks To Fanbase Music Magazine About His Music Career, New Single and More

Interviewed by Duzzy Clayton



Jamie Mc Donald is a cool musician from Ireland but now living in Bulgaria, who I have been a fan of for some time now but finally got to interview, I chatted with Jamie, about his career, new track and album 

Enjoy The read


Hi Jamie, welcome to Fanbase Music Magazine. can you start by telling me where you are from and what got you into music?
Hi Duzzy, thanks for the invite. Really appreciate it.
I am from Ireland, Carlow to be exact, but have spent more than half my life chasing the musical muse across the globe.
Currently, Sofia, Bulgaria is the place I call home along with my partner and two daughters.
Music was a big part of family life back in Ireland, where we would sing and dance at weddings, funerals, birthdays, and basically any excuse we could think of to get together.
I wandered into music by simply doing nothing else with much consistency. I had jobs and ideas and studies, but the one thing I was always doing was sitting around strumming a guitar and trying to figure out this old thing called life.
At a very young age, I used to listen to Beethoven repeatedly and this opened me up to all kinds of ideas of passion, drama, contrast, and journeys. Then the Beatles of course had a massive effect, though admittedly when I found their LPs at home, I had no idea of their global impact. John, Paul, George, and Ringo were friends of mine who I used to hang out with. I was surprised to find later in life just how many other people knew them too.
Can you describe the music scene in both Ireland and Bulgaria?
Both countries have a deep musical tradition stretching deep into their respective histories. Being predominantly English-speaking, Ireland has the edge and punches way above its weight internationally. The scene there was full of all kinds of characters. I cut my teeth at an open mic in Kilkenny’s renowned venue, Cleere’s Pub and Theatre. From there I met so many amazing musicians of all levels and it really opened me up to the business of travel and music along with showing me the sheer breadth of talent on that small island.
Bulgaria doesn’t have the same international presence as Ireland but there are countless small venues across the country with all kinds of acts creating music. Some of my favorites are Oratnitza and Balkandji — both of whom create amazing variations of new Bulgarian folk music with a passion and zeal that is breathtaking. 
How would you describe your sound?
If I have a sound, it is the sound of searching and changing.- It is a mixture of folk, blues, jazz, rock, world music, and Celtic soul. That said on every album I am looking for a new avenue, some place I haven’t yet shone the light on, in myself and in my music.
On my newest album Magistrala, I wanted to make a larger story arc while still exploring some more cinematic themes and stories so there is definitely a higher level of songwriting and production at play. 
What music did you grow up listening to and is there a specific band that stands out that influences your writing today?
I grew up listening to 90s music and music of the ’60s and ’70s so my influences are quite varied such as Cohen, Dylan, Tom Waits, The Buckleys (Jeff AND Tim) The Stones, The Stone Roses, The Smiths, Talk Talk, Led Zeppelin.
But honestly, I am influenced by art, literature, and life itself as much as by music. Picasso, Van Gogh, Dali, Pollock, Murakami, Herbert, Dahl — all of these artists are people who inspire me to keep creating, searching and expressing
Before we talk about your new music, can you let us what other music have you released in the past, is there any albums or singles we should check out?
Oh, I think the best way to understand any artist is to listen to their catalog from beginning to end. My early home recordings have a charm all of their own and an essence I couldn’t replicate now even if I wanted to. I have collaborated with such amazing musicians to bring my songs to life over the years. It’s really been an incredible journey and I would genuinely encourage people to delve into the whole catalogue.
Okay let’s talk about the new single namely, I can’t stop breaking my own heart, what is the story behind writing that song?
Haha, well, this song is honest and also a way for me to laugh at myself. I think we all go in circles in love until we learn life’s lessons. In this song, I just can’t escape myself. – ‘everywhere I go, I’m standing in my way’. I think it’s a familiar theme but the song itself really came to life when the band got behind it. It became a call to arms of sorts, a chance to pump your fist in the air and dance your cares away for being a daft bugger who keeps falling into the same traps.
Where was it recorded and who worked on the track?
As with the whole Magistrala album, we recorded it in the Bulgarian National Radio station …This is like working in the Bulgarian version of Abbey Road. Its a classic old studio with a lovely live room and amazing old microphones that really made the record come alive.
The musicians on the track are Borislav Boyadzhiev (Borcheto) on drums, Alex Linares on bass, Kiril Koev on guitar, Jeff Groves on saxes, and of course myself on electric guitar and vocals.
We got a beautiful live take with the band then when the saxes were added it just all made sense. A truly beautiful creative experience.
The song appears on a new album, what is the name of the album and how many songs are on the track?
The new album is called Magistrala (Bulgarian for Highway, which really suited the story arc I was aiming for). There are 9 songs, we recorded 10 but to fit the vinyl, we had to drop one. Somehow, dropping this one track made the larger collective story arc even better. It documents a life’s journey through denial, growth, acceptance, and onward into the great beyond with the closing song Sing Me Home.
What is coming up next in terms of new music?
The next album, well, we have already begun working on that and it is perhaps a bit more singer-songwriter, but also more psychedelic in some ways. The working title is Tuesdays with Memento Mori — the songs are not all about death, well, at least no more than life is all about death. It is just a good framework to hang some of life’s moments and questions on
Do you play live and if so can tell us what the experience would be like?
I love to play live, with the band and solo. The experience is a whole lot of fun either way. When I have the band with me, we tend to get people up and dancing and singing along. While solo, I love to do the same but I am also more likely to delve into the stories behind the songs and the songwriting process. Either way, it’s a great experience as all live music should be. I have seen so many amazing live gigs and really I just want to create moments for the audience, band, and myself, so we can connect with each other and celebrate this messy wonderful journey of life.
Thank you for doing this interview, do you have any last messages for our readers?
Last messages…hmmm.
Get out there, see the live music, buy the albums, merch, and downloads, and support art, not for the artist’s sake, but for your own sake. Life without art is barely a life at all so get out and soak it all up and share the joys!
Thanks again Duzzy!
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