0800 Aly MacPherson – The Magic Number

So when I offered to write a piece on my 800th follower that was a musician, I kinda worried it would be some strange eastern Mongolian band.

Now don’t get me wrong I’m all for the Mongolian scene but I was relieved when the winner was someone closer to home. Even more relieved I’d heard one of his songs and liked it.

So our lucky winner was Scottish troubadour Aly MacPherson whose already released 2 EPs. T

Both of them are of high quality. Aly is a great mix of Nick Drake and Gary Lightbody and on his first EP he taps into Kurt during the famous unplugged album. Musically its excellent – combining acoustic finger picking with echoes of Love, CSNY, and Paul Simon and even Jack Johnson – all done with a Celtic soul that our Scottish brethren adds.

So in time honoured tradition I fire off some questions to this lucky winner and picked his brains on the questions of the day. Lets all get to know Aly better.

Who are you? Where you from?

My name is Aly Macpherson and I am from Ellon, a small town in Aberdeenshire.

– What do you do?

For a career I currently work at Aberdeen Science Centre but as a musician I am a Singer/Songwriter as well as an intrumentalist.

– How long you been making music for? When did you realise you had a talent?

I’ve been playing the Drums since I was about 8 and the guitar since I was about 11. I didn’t really start singing properly till I went to uni to study music performance for the drum kit. I only really started writing properly in my last year of uni. Every time I think I have talent I hear someone who is significantly more talented and try to work and become as talented as them, so ill say never.

– Do you write and perform all your own songs?

I do! Everything is written and performed by myself. Not by preference but by necessity. I love working with other musicians but I really wanted to start getting my own stuff out there in some wah so I started doing just that.

– Who are your influences?  

I love the great american songwriters like Paul Simon, Jackson Browne, James Taylor etc. I try to get influence from as many places as possible by listening to as many genres as possible though. I listen to a lot of punk and pop punk as well as a lot of southern and yaught rock but also a lot of country and a lot of 90s hip hop. Im also a massive fan of cheesy hits. Basically whatever.

– Describe your sound?

Hmmm… maybe Folky, Indie, Beachey? To be honest if I was going to answer that completely honestly id say “subject to change”, cause for as many nice acoustic songs I write I also wanna write funk or punk songs.

Where can we hear your music?

You can hear it on all good streaming platforms – Spotify, Youtube, Amazon, Itunes etc.

Whats your favourite:

– Band or artist?

Paul Simon, no question. Its amazing how much listening to a song of his just intantly lifts my mood. Not sure if its his voice or lyricism or energy but its like an instant shot of seratonin when a song of his comes on.

– Biscuit?

Gonna have to the a chocolate digestive. I cant eat them because I cant have just one or ill end up eating whole packet, Not good for a diet, but yeah hands down best biscuit.

– Drink?

Red wine, a Merlot or Malbec. Either that or a Mocha. Either way I probably drink too much of both.

– Meal?

Either something really fancy from a nice resaurant – a whole 3 course meal with some choice meat and a great dessert… or a pizza from a local takeout.

– Football or rugby team?

Not much of a football fan but probably AFC or St Johnston, just cause they represent the places and people closest to me. For Rugby ill just say Scotland or whatever team my Grandpa supports.

– How has covid affected your music career?  

Its not great not being able to play live anymore. Even though I only really played pub gigs it was still such a joy to get a whole room singing or cheering.

– Any positives?

I was on furlough for so long I actually had time to finish my EP which was great! I was struggling to find time in January/February to finish it so the time off really helped, and ive had enough time to gain more of a following, learn more about being an independant artist and write/record even more music.

– Whats your views on streaming/social media etc to promote new music?

Its good for helping to promote music and is the only way that I do it personally, but if you want to support an act you like buying full copies and merch is the best way to do it.

– Are you concerned about the lack of live music? Do you think small venues will survive post covid?

I really really hope so. I always encourage people to go to live gigs with local acts. A lot of people I know in this indusrty have been hit hard and its entirely up to the government to try and fix that in some way, because its very hard to adapt.

– Whats the best venue you have played at?

When I was in a band we played some great venues like The Box in Glasgow and Buskers in Dundee but honestly for me its either The Green Room (now Muckys) in Perth or Oniels in Aberdeen. I just really like a very drunk and energetic crowd. I also loved playing in The Twa Tams beer garden, also in Perth. Would love to play a festival stage or main stage.

– Best live act you’ve seen?

Bands like the Purple Felts, Cl Mustard and the Dijon 5, Mickey 9s – all these great high energy local bands that get the room jumping.

– Any musicians you would recommend we all should listen to?

Find out whos local/independant in your area and go listen to and support them! Youd be surprised at how many amazing musicians are just round the corner and need to be shared and heard.

– Answer what you want/add anything else of interest I may of forgot.

Just to say that I have a few things in the works – some demos which might become releases and a very unique collaboration im excited about. If any musician wants to collab in any way hit me up! And thanks for the interview – its been fantastic and I cant appreciate the opportunity enough.

So huge thanks to Aly for you time and great to be introduced to his music – its really worth checking out and certainly keep an eye/ear open to see what he does next. Scotland is brimming with talent right now and its just so great and varied.

As always – please read, share, listen, buy, buy again and support new music

PNL

Michael

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