Introducing: Crawford Mack

Introducing: Crawford Mack

Glasgow-based Crawford Mack is a talented singer-songwriter who has just shared his brand new track ‘Depends on Where You Stand‘, a soulful acoustic track with an essence of romance that builds into a beautiful foray of strings, percussion, and tender vocals.  It’s a fantastic entry point into the discography of this talented artist who has so much more to share and we are excited to see what’s in store.  I asked him some questions to find out more.

Hi, how are you today?

Absolutely grand, thanks for asking.

Tell me about your new song, ‘Depends On Where You Stand’ and the concept behind the music video.

The song was originally written about former lovers who are struggling to find a comfortable way to communicate as friends on a trip to an art gallery.  It was recorded in Antwerp, Belgium as part of an album I’m releasing later this year.  After a lot of discussion we moved into a different territory for the sake of the music video where
we wanted to create a feeling of two friends who were on a date to a gallery working out if they could be more, mainly because it’s a concept with a visual language that audiences are familiar with.  I wanted to create two worlds for the video and to have two lighting states to reflect the contrast.  On the one hand, we have what is happening in the here and now in the art gallery, the awkwardness of two people tentatively reading between the lines.  On the other hand, we have a romantic dance sequence representing the lingering yearnings of both parties, the remaining questions.

What was your experience like putting the music video together?

To be honest with you, it was utter bedlam.  It was planned and rehearsed before lockdown and all the shenanigans and restrictions that threw up.  We thought we could go ahead as things started to open up again but had to alter our location, and when we found somewhere else, the space was tighter.  As a result, we had our director and steady cam pull out of the shoot a week before it was supposed to take place, for utterly solid reasons relating to their personal COVID-19 risks.

It was pretty stressful but I called one of my closest pals, Bryan Novelo.  He has a skill for pulling people together and getting projects going, and we sat down and assembled a new team.  Fortunately, the actors/dancers/choreographers – Aisling Longshaw and Luke Cinque-White – had already been rehearsing so we had a good level of confidence that it would all come together.  I asked my old friends, artists Rowan Flint, and Ben Cornhill, to provide some of their fabulous creations to display in the gallery and Bryan acquired some wonderful statues from his pal Henri Charreaud.

Bryan organised for Kai Blamey and John Letsinger to work the cameras and lighting and we then pulled in pals that we knew from our time studying together at the Guildhall School: Jack Ryan is an incredible lighting designer so he came in to light the dance scenes and Maddy Higham came in and worked as the assistant director.  With those people on board my job was then mostly to stay out of the way.  I’d been taking part in a music video for the electronic music collective ‘Globeheads’ a few days beforehand and had managed to sprain my ankle pretty badly during one of the takes so was hobbling around on crutches for the first few days… they didn’t need me toppling into proceedings!  Luckily I had some friends volunteer to act as runners as there was no way I could perform that function.

As for the editing and grading, I must give shout-outs to Thierry Phung and Omar Cortés Macedo for their stellar work, and again thank Bryan for finding them and coordinating.

What are your plans for the future beyond this release?

I have another two singles due to be released – ‘Firing Squad’ on August 25th and ‘A Love I Can’t Live Up To’ on September 29th.  The first is very dark, as the title suggests, and the other is a track full of realisations about yourself that hit you far too late.  Both have accompanying music videos.  The one for ‘Firing Squad’ is wild and was also realised just as the lockdown was gradually being lifted, with all the attending issues that we had to resolve.  Fortunately the other was completed well before any of us had heard of Corona.  Then the album Bread & Circuses will be released in October, which I really can’t wait for.  Plans for its release have been delayed long enough.

What was the first song you ever wrote?

The first proper song would have been something done with one of my high school bands.  We were pretty good as individual players but we had too many influences that didn’t quite gel so the line-ups mutated and the overall sound veered like a murmuration of starlings.  Thereafter, I think it would have been a really early version of the track ‘What’s For You Won’t Go By You’, which was on my first EP, or something co-written with Richard Rayner, the drummer in my band.  We wrote together at Guildhall and continue to do so today; indeed, he is a co-writer on ‘Depends On Where You Stand’.

What was it like?

The early stuff I wrote with Rich was heavily influenced by the Daft Punk Random Access Memories album which I was obsessed with at the time.  We’ve gone through loads of different styles since we met in the bar on our first day at college.

What’s your local music scene like?

I’m from Glasgow and I shouldn’t think the music scene there needs any introduction.  It’s simply incredible, with a plethora of iconic venues such as the Barrowlands, King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut, and the O2 Academy as well as many, many stunning newer venues of all different size, all catering really well to music of all genres.  I just hope that they manage to survive.  However, I’ve lived in London for the past eight years, and what I particularly value from the scene here is the easy accessibility to music from any part of the world.

How would you describe your music in five words?

Worth lending your ears to.  (Shrugs).

Which artists do you admire?

So many, but particularly artists that I feel are or were constantly pushing their own boundaries.  The ones I love listening to the most are Sting, Joni Mitchell, Wayne Shorter, Radiohead, Elbow, King Creosote, Talib Kweli, Gabriel Kahane, Paul Simon, Madison Cunningham, The Paper Kites, Rodriguez, Jeff Buckley, Dead Man Ray, Bowie, dEUS, Anais Mitchell, Scott Matthews, Donovan, Carmen McCrae, Nick Cave, Rufus Wainwright, Nick Drake, Paul Simon, John Martyn, Steely Dan, Laura Marling… I honestly could go on forever!

What would be your dream collaboration?

Probably Sting.  To be honest I’d love to just talk to him about music for a day and see what I’d learn.  I’m in awe of his ability to work with such an array of incredible musicians and showcase their talent whilst the music still always sounds like him.  Tyler Chester who produced Madison Cunningham’sWho Are You Now’ and Phil Ek who produced Fleet Foxes’ ‘Helplessness Blues’ and The Paper Kites ‘twelvefour’ are people I’d love to work with on projects at some point.

What’s the best band/artist you have played with so far?

As a support act, I’d probably say The Paper Kites at King Tut’s in Glasgow.  I was already a fan and was concerned that I might build it up too much in my head.  We had a wonderful evening and then went out on the town afterward.  Great bunch.  But I’ve also been lucky to play with a range of incredible musicians from my time studying jazz at Guildhall, whether on stage or just in practice rooms.

Who/What are you listening to right now?

Madison Cunningham, Andrew Bird, Electro Deluxe, Aoife O’Donovan, Zooni, Tamino, Father John Misty, Gabriel Kahane, Talib Kweli, Kris Dane, Exit North, Leiff Vollebekk, Warhaus, Kit Sebastian, GURLS, Corto Alto.

Thanks for your time

No bother. Thank you for yours!

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.