James McGuffie a.k.a 'Mcrobin' is a Melbourne based singer-songwriter with a voice as dynamic as Joni Mitchell, lyrics that sound like they've come from Leonard Cohens' vault and the songwriting finesse and musical versatility of Sting.
Q&A, with James McGuffieDefine your genre in five words or less:
Intricate and expansive soulful folkHow long have you been writing and playing music? Was there a song or moment that first inspired you?
I grew up with two older sisters and from early on music was my wise and inspiring older brother. It's been a very gradual journey from music being a release, to a girlfriend acquirer to an obsession. Lately I've noticed more of the drive coming from the connection with an audience in a songs delivery rather then the self-indulgent nature of the creation of the song itself.If you could travel back in time and show one of your musical heroes your stuff, who would it be and why?
Bill Evans. His piano playing influences so much of my music and I would probably just thank him for everything I've learnt and gained from his music.What are your favourite venues?
The Wesley Anne - The cosiest of rooms Bennetts Lane - Sad to see her go. Melbourne Recital Hall - one day...What are your top 5 favourite albums?
In no specific order: Alexi Murdoch - Time Without Consequence Anais Mitchell - Young Man in America Nick Drake - Pink Moon Bob Dylan - The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan Jeff Buckley - GraceWhat is your most memorable gig (playing or watching)?
Tallest Man On Earth - The Recital Hall. The venue was incredible and although he was jet-lagged and delirious I think he quickly realised that he was born for that room and he just turned it on. I'll never forget it.Where do you usually draw inspiration from as a writer? Do you have a process? eg music first, lyrics first etc
Some of my songs are fictional stories I've created but they all grow from some moment of awareness of what is happening in the real world around me. I usually write music and lyrics in isolation and then I try to piece them together. The cliche of songs coming from a 'Saturday night Home-alone Party with a whiskey for a plus 1' actually rings true for a lot of my songs. However after the initial burst of goodness, the polishing begins... and sort of never ends.