Mike McKeown has unleashed his solo project Seafood Diet on the world with his EP See Food. Drawing on inspiration from the coast, he fills you with the warm vibes of the ocean. Using a mix of synths, guitars and pop sensibilities, he takes you from tender ballads to dance floor fillers. We sat down with Mike McKeown to talk about the EP, his creative process, sea animals and much more!
OSR: Was there a moment or experience that made you think: ‘This is what I want to do.’?
McKeown: Yes, once I saw Jack White with that red guitar in the ‘Seven Nation Army’ video there was no turning back.
OSR: Is there a backstory or theme to your latest EP See Food?
McKeown: I wanted to assemble my 6 best songs and help them see past their differences and work together as a team, much like the avengers or a national football team formed of domestic rivals.
OSR: What was your creative process for the EP? Did you start with the concept or a track that you worked around?
McKeown: I wrote ‘No Harm in Harmony’ and ‘Peggy Oki’ in lockdown, both of which I thought were among my best work. So, I decided to revisit and re-record some of my old songs and put them all together in a concise EP where the songs would all flow into each other.
OSR: There are a few musical styles on the EP from lo-fi ballads to bedroom pop and dance floor fillers. Was this intentional or did it just happen as you created the EP?
McKeown: I really tried to arrange it like a live set, so it was a case of balancing the different moods and vibes in a cohesive way.
OSR: Did you find certain tracks easier or harder to write than others?
McKeown: Absolutely, some of them were years in the making then some were cut in an afternoon.
OSR: If people could only feel one emotion while listening to the EP, what would you like that to be and why?
McKeown: Relaxed. Everything here is either pure good vibes or a little bit melancholic and nostalgic, but wherever you dip in, it should be chilled out and welcoming.
OSR: If you were a sea animal, what would you be and why?
McKeown: I used to work in an aquarium and they asked me this in the interview! I said jellyfish. I am also 97% water and have no brain.
OSR: Is there a specific track that holds a special place in your heart?
McKeown: All of them are very special to me. ‘Parrots’ and ‘TBF’ probably have the most emotional connection. Read my diary for more information on that.
OSR: How does this EP compare to the other music you have created over the years?
McKeown: This is my crowd-pleasing stuff. I have hours of boring ambient music for the real heads.
OSR: What else can we expect from you in the next 12 months?
McKeown: Possibly a physical release of some sort, probably some new music. Unlikely that I will find a cure for the coronavirus, sorry.