JustBoy57 caught up with local acoustic singer and songwriter Myke Black prior to the release of his album, Nice Little Earner.
Hey Myke! How are things?
Hey, Things are great thanks. I’ve been a very busy boy recently but all is well!
For those who don’t know about Myke Black, could you give us a run down of what you do, how you do it and why you do it?
Well I am 23 years old and I am an acoustic Singer/Songwriter born and bred in Aberdeen. I have played the guitar from the age of 10 and have been writing
music/songs from around 15 years old. 2 Years ago I decided I wanted to pursue a musical career and the only real way to go about it was to go full on, so I gave up full-time work and started pushing myself as a live musician in many bars and restaurants in the City. I wanted to make a significant contribution to Aberdeen’s music scene and hopefully by now, I am. I am such a passionate person when it comes to doing what I do and I think that is what really drives me and pushes me to work hard, but at the same time, really enjoy every minute of it.
Debut album, “Nice Little Earner”, has hit the shelves in the last week, could you tell us a little bit about the album?
‘Nice Little Earner’ is indeed my debut album! It is a 10 track, upbeat and positive record and it really is something I’m very proud of. I am proud of it because it’s real, each song is about something that either myself or someone close to me has experienced, and it has an optimism and feel-good factor running throughout the record which I think is very important. So far, the response I have had from anyone that has bought the album has been so good. People are enjoying it and enjoying sharing it with their friends and families so I really couldn’t ask for more at this stage.
Is it right you recorded and released it all on your own? Was this a daunting experience or was it something you thoroughly enjoyed?
I recorded 90% of the album from home. 2 of the tracks were partly recorded at someone elses flat and then completed at mine. So yes it is true I’ve done it all myself.
The experience has been amazing, slightly overwhelming at times as I don’t think I realised when I started this how many different aspects there were to producing and releasing an album, especially when it came to the last couple of months of creating the artwork and putting all the final bits together in order to have it ready for the stores!!
I did thoroughly enjoy making ‘Nice Little Earner’ and I was like an excited little girl when I received all the final copies! I got a bit emotional thinking about how much time, money and love had gone into it.
How long has the album been in the making? Did you write specifically for an album or is it simply a collection of your best songs to date? Or maybe a combination of both?
It has been almost exactly a year since I decided that I would do this myself, which is longer than I would have said when I first started but that was just me being a little bit naive about it all! I didn’t write specifically for the album. As I briefly mentioned, I write all my songs about real experiences so I often need something significant to happen in order to write a song that would be deemed worthy for the album. Some of the songs are a few years old, they have just been sitting and waiting for me to do something interesting with them! and others have been written within the past year during the production of the album. My most recent song is ‘I Know That You Know’ which is only a couple of months young and I literally recorded it in a 4 hour session at home the day before I took the album to get mastered!! And it’s one of mine and other people’s favourite recordings. I dropped a few tracks from the album as I felt they weren’t worthy, so you could say that this is a collection of my best to date.
You are constantly gigging all over Aberdeen and beyond. Is this something that is necessary for a musician like yourself to do in order to get your name heard?
In my opinion, this is by far the most important thing you can do in order to connect with fans and really get your name out there. I absolutely LOVE playing live and I think people can feel that when they come to see me play. Obviously you have to play at your best for the performance to remain in the audience’s memories but that’s what I really like about performing, you have to work hard to gain the respect of the listener and if you pull it off then it just makes it even more enjoyable to play because you know you are making an impact on someone and therefore, they will follow you in what you do! and perhaps even tell their mates about “this guy that they saw last night”
Favourite gig so far? Your support slot with KT Tunstall must have been pretty special….
The gig with KT was very special. It’s one of the first times I’ve played to a few hundred people and they were all there to enjoy some good music, I always get a little bit nervous when I really want it to be a good gig. It’s busy, I’m supporting a big name in the music business here and I really have to play well. I put the pressure on myself a wee bit but that’s what it’s all about. To answer your question though, it seems at the moment that the last gig I played was my favourite gig. support slots keep getting better and the feedback from the crowd during and after the gig keeps getting better! I used to work so hard to try and get gigs in Aberdeen and I would have to go and play on acoustic nights, sitting through 7 other acts and going onstage at 11.30-12ish only to play to a handfull of people, mostly my girlfriend, my best friend and a couple of others. But now I get offered to play and support some very reputable musicians. I have had the pleasure of supporting Peter Green, KT of course, Ade Edmondson and the Bad Shepherds, Emile Sande and this month I am opening for The Animals and Spencer Davis Group. so I’m hoping once I have played, that will be my new favourite gig so far!!!
Whats your biggest influence on your songwriting? There must be some sort of idol worth mentioning?
Well I have to say that my biggest influence in my song writing are the topics for the songs. If those things didn’t happen to me I wouldn’t have those particular songs.
As far as bands or artists influencing me goes, I would say Frightened Rabbit, Bon Iver and Newton Faulkner. I think I just realised recently that I take influences from their lyrical approach as opposed to their music. They all write about real life and they are all very clever with the angle they take when it comes to expressing how they feel. I absolutely love a good lyric, something witty and slightly cryptic, but not so much so that you don’t have a clue what the point is. does that make sense??
And I’m going to say that I idolise Paolo! I think because he is roughly my age, he is Scottish, He is a wonderful songwriter and I would love to enjoy half the success he has enjoyed so far in his career.
Here at FnS, we are ultimately all about the new music in Scotland. Anyone out there that have blown you away recently?
Yes. There is a scottish band, I think from around Glasgow, called Bearbones. They really do the job for me, particularly 2 of their videos I have seen on YouTube “Oil and Lacquer” and my favourite which is called “Wind Can Chill”, it’s just a rough video of the frontman Ben performing an acoustic version of the track but it is a lovely song and I like it more every time I hear/watch it. Check them out.
What does the future hold for Myke Black now that the album is out? Would you ever consider forming a band for the live shows?
It is now time for me to really focus on touring the country and playing as many gigs as I can in order to reach out to a wider audience. I have done it in Aberdeen and the support has been amazing so there is no reason why I can’t do the same thing elsewhere. calling all music venues!! book me!! please? haha! I would like to form a band for the live shows but I think it might be a little while before that happens. I need some very talented people with lots of time and a massive amount of commitment. I can’t do anything by half-measures if I want to be successful.
Also I have my album Launch party this coming Saturday (9th Oct) at JP’s. It will be free entry, It is simply going to be a celebration of the release and there will be live music, drinkies and a copy of the album for anyone who so wishes to own it.
Your top 5 desert island tracks?
Ok, in no particular order.
1. Bon Iver – Skinny Love (jools holland performance)
2. Deathcab for Cutie – Follow you into the dark
3. Paul Simon – Diamonds on the soles of her shoes
4. Jason Mraz – I’m Yours
5. Xavier Rudd – Let Me Be
Anything else you would like to add?
Yes thank you very much for your time! You are doing a wonderful job by supporting the Scottish music scene and I’m very glad to have your appreciation!
Also, If anyone hasn’t yet got a copy of ‘Nice Little Earner’ then you can get hold of it from HMV (Aberdeen) or One-up, and it’s on iTunes and Spotify worldwide so GO BUY!!!!
And finally….your favourite flavour of crisps?
Prawn Cocktail. Every time.
Thanks for your time Myke, all the best with the album and we’ll see you on Saturday! JustBoy57
Myke Black MySpace