DOORSTEP INTERVIEW: MCCORMICK | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Singer-songwriter McCormick is poised to release his album, Changing, on 1st April. Here, he tells us more about his journey as a musician.

Tell us a bit about yourself. Who are you, where are you from?
My name is Steve McCormick, although I go by the name McCormick. I am a singer/songwriter from sunny (or smoggy) Middlesbrough.

What inspired you to first start making music?
When I first heard Led Zeppelin, and thought ‘I need to learn that’. I convinced my parents that I really needed an electric guitar and the seed was sewn. Back then I was just a guitar player, but when I decided to record some tracks with the late Mike Frankland (a producer from Stockton) he convinced me that I should sing my own songs and not use anyone else.

Who would you say are your biggest influences?
I really like songs with strong choruses. Most of my musical influences come from the 1980’s, so bands like The Police, Joe Jackson etc. I also really like bands with a bit of attitude like The Clash (I still think Rock The Casbah is a perfect pop song).

How would you describe your sound?
I would describe my music as rock/pop/contemporary. I write mainly upbeat songs but I am quite fond of the odd slow ballad.

Where do you see yourself fitting into the local music scene?
I tend to be different to most other acts live, in that although I play solo on an acoustic I have a very percussive style. Finger picking has never been my forte. Album-wise, I try to produce songs I would like to drive my car to…plenty of jangly/powerful guitars and something that you can sing along to.

Tell us a bit about your live performances. What can we expect from a gig by you?
I really love strong beats, great melodies and big hooks. When I record the first thing we do is get the drum parts to be really meaty and then build the song up with acoustic and electric guitars.
However, live it is just me and the acoustic…which I play with as much venom as I can! I was once termed the tuneful punk but I see myself as more of a stomper (not necessarily when I’m doing a ballad!) Apparently I look like Roger Daltry…but I thump the guitar like Pete Townsend!

Can you tell us what gigs you have planned in the region in the near future?
Friday 1st April at O’connells, Middlesbrough and Saturday 2nd April at The Green Room, Stockton.

What do you think has been your biggest achievement so far as a band?
Probably when my first album was released in 2010 and received great reviews. I have also done some great gigs at Middlesbrough Town Hall, The Cluny, Newcastle and at Stockton Georgian (including doing a support slot for Cattle and Cane when it was rammed full). Stockton Calling last year was also great fun. My track Let You Down has also just been BBC Tees Introducing track of the week.

Have there been any major challenges so far in your musical career?
Not so much challenges as major frustrations…for example when promoters don’t take you seriously that you are a good fit for a gig, or assume that as I am not a 20-something that I will be playing very middle of the road stuff whilst sitting in a rocking chair!
At the moment though, the biggest challenges I have is when I play live…not smashing my strings or getting cramp in my right arm due to the speed I tend to play when I get carried away!

What else have you got planned for the future?
To record an acoustic album or EP and to put a band together so I don’t have to hammer the guitar as much…it me a fortune on strings!


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