Austin McCarthy is a known name in the local music scene. An awesome performer and songwriter, and a member of the very musical McCarthy clan alongside his folks, Erica and Mike McCarthy. He goes to school in Montreal, but still manages to find the time to play a bunch of shows in Collingwood and area whenever he's in town. And, remarkably, has even found the time to record and release a new EP - Reverie - at Villa Sound in Singhampton. EP Release Party is FRIDAY NIGHT (December 29th) at Crow Bar & Variety in Collingwood. Here's a Q&A I did with Austin.
LC: The album sounds great! I love the combo of funk/disco type grooves with this fabulous songwriting. On the bio on your site it says some of your biggest inspirations are Stevie Ray Vaughan, BB King, and John Mayer, and I totally hear all of those influences in your sound. What's your songwriting process like? Do you come up with the words first or the riffs/chord progressions?
AM: First of all, thank you! I’m still figuring out my songwriting process to be honest. Sometimes I come up with a chord progression and add in lyrics after the fact. Sometimes I start with a line (that usually determines the direction of the song) and then I add a chord progression on top of it. One thing I know for certain is that all of the songs are influenced by situations/experiences I have come across.
LC: Who else plays on this album? Have you been working with the other musicians for a while?
AM: I brought Mike Giles (drums) and Carl Rabinowitz (Bass) in for the recordings. Mike and I were playing together over this past summer and I saw Carl play many times and knew he would be a great addition to this EP. Both Mike and Carl are fantastic guys to work with.
LC: Tell me a bit about the recording experience at Villa Sound. Who mixed and who mastered the album?
AM: The four days I spent in the studio were some of my favourite days spent during this past summer. My favourite part was experiencing the process of studio work. This studio experience will definitely help with my writing process in the future. Adam Fair was the mixing engineer and Noah Mintz mastered the album.
LC: It seems like outside of school, you're taking every chance you can get to gig! In the summer your name was popping up everywhere, and now for Christmas break it's happening again! How do you balance between your studies and your music?
AM: It’s tough, especially around exam time! I normally try and get my work done during the day so I have all night to play. I’m pretty great at procrastinating, so if I pick up the guitar before my school work is done I’m normally up till 2am trying to finish it.
LC: What have been some of the highlights of your music career so far?
AM: Opening up for Kim Mitchell a couple years ago was definitely a highlight. Also, this past summer playing 40 shows was incredible. Recently, I have started a new project in Montreal and we have some dates coming up in the new year. I guess I can foreshadow this as a highlight.
LC: Who would be your all time dream artist to perform with or do a double billing with?
AM: That is a really tough question. Being on stage with the likes of B.B. King would have been something else, but we both know that’s impossible now. Being billed with John Mayer would be a time for sure.
LC: Lastly, where can people hear and purchase the album once it's released?
AM: It will be released on iTunes and Spotify on December 22nd! Looking forward to finally getting this EP out to the public.
Thank you SO MUCH Austin for taking the time to share some insights with me! Check out the new EP below, and come in from the cold at Crow Bar & Variety on Friday night to hear him live!