Putting the ukelele down for a moment, the talented acoustic pop artist, Marc Gallagher, answers a few interview questions. Ranging from his latest album to him being the black sheep in the family, here is what Marc had to say to our writer, Faye Davison.
OSR: When did you become interested in music?
MG: I always used to listen to it. As for playing it, my interest started was when I was twelve. I had just seen Pixar’s Monster vs Aliens, and there was a scene where the president tries to communicate with an alien via synthesis, and he comically plays the Crazy Frog theme. It was through seeing the first two keys he played, remembering them, and working out the rest of it when I got home that I first became interested in playing music. Since then I learnt piano, guitar, bass and a few other instruments; but, now, the ukulele is my main one.
OSR: Is your family musical in any way?
MG: Haha, nope! My family were predominantly involved in law/police force, so I am very much the black sheep. My mother had negligible piano experience in her childhood, but I never really saw it during my lifetime.
OSR: You recently released an album called Level Up, what would you say it is about?
MG: Last year I released Songs From A Shit Summer, which was a deeply personal concept album about how crap my 2016 was. Level Up represents a progression in my songwriting, and instead of manifesting in my sadness, I write about other abstract concepts such as tea, a psychology experiment, or even writing in Spanish! Of course, there are some romantic songs about experiences I’ve had, but Level Up presents a generally more positive outlook. In addition to Shit Summer‘s acoustic-only production, Level Up is backed by a full band to make the songs sound more textured and nuanced.
OSR: What was the songwriting and recording process like?
MG: Songwriting differs from song to song, in all honesty! If there is a line I definitely want to include, I will fiddle about with a chord progression and hum a melody, eventually squeezing appropriate lyrics in. The hardest part is writing the second verse after the initial chorus, because you don’t want to repeat yourself, but you often find you’ve said all you need to in the first verse!
Recording is a fun process. I initially recorded the drums along with a metronome, and guide the uke and
vocals before adding bass, guitars, piano and other percussion. The uke and vocals, typically, come last
OSR: How long did it take to record?
MG: Level Up was entirely self-produced, and I was doing it in tandem with my third-year uni work. I started recording at the end of October, and I finished within a few weeks. From a performance standpoint, I had it down in the first few takes, as I knew what it was that I wanted from each instrument in the context of the song. It was mixing that proved to take a while, but I had it all done by February.
OSR: You also have a covers album on SoundCloud called The Labrador Assembly. What made you want to record the covers album?
MG: Those were from around 2014 when I wanted to show people what my covers repertoire was like. I was massively into Walk Off The Earth at the time, and they used cover videos to bring people in and draw them to their original music. I went in that same sort of direction, but nothing materialised.
OSR: What made you want to record the music that will make you laugh medley (which I think is awesome by the way)?
MG: It was just the spawn of linking together a collection of stupid songs. I mainly play those songs individually now as the medley just got out of control!
OSR: You did an amazing job with the cover album, are the songs some of your favourites or were they random choices?
MG: I don’t remember it too well, in all honesty, as those were recorded during my formative years in Cheshire’s music scene. They were primarily songs I performed at open mics in my youth that caught on, so I chose to document them. They aren’t like ‘all-time favourite songs’, but just ones I enjoyed and sought to cover at the time. My videos on YouTube are a more modern reflection of what I do, and I have some exciting new videos coming in the next few months.
OSR: Who is your favourite band?
MG: Of all time? Queen.
OSR: Who would you love to tour with?
MG: Ed Sheeran would probably be a hoot to tour with, and I think my style would make for a good palette-cleansing opener for him.
OSR: Finally, who would you say is your biggest inspiration?
MG: As a songwriter, I’ve loved the work of Brad Paisley. He’s a fantastic writer who delves into a variety of topics, and often retells stories in engaging and imaginative ways. It was so great to see him last year in London!
For more from Marc Gallagher, check out his official website.
Marc Gallagher – Level Up (2018)