Chris McDonald will be performing at From Notts With Love at Tempreh
Hi Chris, how are you?
How long have you been making music for now?
Since I was about 10 when I started writing piano songs. They were rubbish, but at the time I was convinced I was shaming Beethovens ghost with my brilliance.
Where did you start out playing in Nottingham?
I played my first solo gig at the Golden Fleece and was so nervous I yelped like a Maltese terrier when I tried to introduce myself.
What have been your most memorable gigs that you’ve played in Nottingham?
I just played a gig at The Maze and before I played there was an unbelievable barbershop quartet which got a standing ovation. They scared me to death and led to my first barbershop induced double whiskey. We played and everyone was really supportive, the atmosphere was brilliant. I also used to love playing in the cave at Loggerheads, that's an outrageous loss.
Can you tell me about this gig at Nottingham Contemporary that you have helped to organise?
I know Liam Bailey from school, we learnt to write songs together. He rang me and said he wanted to do a gig with me and my brother Tim. I suggested we try and get all the best artists we could think of involved, and luckily Natalie Duncan, Nina Smith and Harleighblu all agreed. what an amazing line up.
I understand that you are also going to be taking the show to London…
Yes. I think Nottingham should build as many connections with London as possible, it's one of the cultural capitals of Europe and Nottingham has an amazing amount of talent. Let's show the base of Britains music industry how good Nottingham is.
You decided to move to London from Nottingham. Did that help your music?
I met amazing connections and musicians. London is brilliant for music as is Nottingham and being a part of both is truly the best way to go...
Do Notts musicians still need to make the move down to London to try and ‘make it’?
London has far more music industry people than anywhere else in the country and it is one of the main cities in the world for the music industry, so discounting it is simply madness. It doesn't have the same opportunity to raise your profile locally with a solid fan base like Notts does however. I think if you can mix and match both then that's the best way....
This supposed chase for a Nottingham number 1. Is it a good thing – does anyone really care who is number one in the charts?
Occasionally you get a soulful No. 1 in the charts and obviously a soulful Notts No. 1 would be an amazing thing. But, I generally think Top Ten music does nothing to add the music industry. We have Notts artists who are showing success in different ways, which are far better in my opinion.
Can you tell me about your new album?
It's called There's A Fire and was recorded in the Cotswalds with an amazing producer called George Shilling who has recorded all sorts of amazing people including James Brown, Bernard Butler and Primal Scream. We got on amazingly well, he was lovely and recorded cello on the album. After recording I would go and camp and sit in front of the campfire, it was an amazing experience!
Your brother Tim is also a singer-songwriter. Do you come from a musical family?
Yes, my Dad is a guitar player and my oldest brother is a jazz piano playing/singer songwriting councillor. It's very possible he may become the sheriff of Nottingham one day, which is quite simply the coolest thing ever. Whether that means he actually becomes a wily cartoon bear I'm not sure...
Is there much rivalry between the three of you?
No, not at all, our music is all massively different and we're all very supportive of each other...
You’ve co-written with another Notts lad who also made the move to London, Liam Bailey and had some success in LA. Can you tell me how that came about and what happened?
Me and Liam knew each other from a young age and always wrote together. So I wrote It's Not The Same with Liam, which got to No. 1 on KCRW's playlist - one of LAs’ biggest radio stations. Liam helped me write Butterfly Fly from my album.
What music coming out of the city do you like at the moment?
Everybody playing next week at the contemporary on Friday 6th July: Liam Bailey, Natalie Duncan, Nina Smith, Harleigh Blu, Tim McDonald - plus Gallery 47, Leah Sanderson, Ryan Thomas, Old Basford, Injured Birds, Firstblood, Bella Gaffney, Jake Bugg, We Show Up On Radar, Parks...there's too many artists to mention, Nottingham is an outrageous city for talent!
Where can we find out more about you?
Go on my website.
Any final words?
Get tickets for the Nottingham Contemporary gig next Friday with Liam Bailey, Natalie Duncan, Nina Smith, Harleigh Blu, Tim McDonald and myself.
From Notts With Love with Natalie Duncan, Liam Bailey, Chris McDonald, Tim McDonald, Nina Smith and Harleighblu takes place at Nottingham Contemporary on Friday 6 July 2012. Click here to buy tickets.