MCRAE (from l-r): Joe McRae (drums), Jordan Davies (bass/vocals), Jake McRae (lead vocals/rhythm guitar), Aidan Reece (lead guitar/vocals)
INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN
Hailing from Lancashire, McRae are a four-piece who combine elements of indie, punk, and alternative rock to showcase a sound that addresses both a sense of aimlessness and optimism, which has resulted in them quickly gaining much popularity and acclaim across the north-west of England.
Now, with new single ‘Postapocalipstick’, the collective hope to spread their reach further around the UK, and beyond, and the quartet recently told me how they plan to achieve this, along with a whole host of other band-related topics.
How did the band initially form?
Jake and Aidan were previously in another band, of which two members left at the last minute, leaving us to quickly fill the slots with Jordan and Joe for upcoming gigs.
Jordan was a mate of ours already, and we asked him if he could learn our set about two days before the gig, and soon after that, Joe, who is cousins with Jake, and after parting ways with his old band, was introduced into the band, and that’s when it all started to fall into place.
I know McRae is the surname of two of its members, but how did it come about as the band name?
When Joe & Jordan joined the band and began gigging regularly with us, we decided that the name needed to change from Jake McRae & The What Went Wrongs, as half of the What Went Wrongs had left, and it felt much more like a band now, rather than a singer/songwriter fronting a group of musicians as it had been before, so we wanted to change the name to something that was less of a mouthful, and that felt right for us.
It was actually Aidan and our producer that thought our best option was McRae, which, to be honest, we’re not crazy about, so it’ll probably end up changing a few more times in future.
What are the band’s main musical influences?
We were all brought up on what our dads were listening to, which ranged from classic rock bands, to northern soul. We like to think there are elements of all the types of music we listen to in our songs, and more recently, it has been the likes of The Libertines and The Strokes who have made a pretty big impact on all of us.
What would you say was your approach to songwriting?
Most of our earlier songs stem from a structure written with an acoustic guitar and lyrics, but more recently, we’ve built upon a sequence Aidan’s come up with, or even just from the four of us jamming.
Lyrically, it’s all written from common feelings from a personal viewpoint of a situation, and that usually ends up being relatable.
Recently, the band brought out a new single, ‘Postapocalipstick’, which followed debut track, ‘Cashback’. In your opinion, how have they been received so far?
We had been sat on ‘Cashback’ for ages before it was released, and when we decided to finally bring it out, we felt that we needed to film a video, so we did, and we kinda left it at that.
When it came to ‘Postapocalipstick’, we had more of a plan, and so far, we’ve had much more feedback and attention, which is all buzzing, because we think that it is the best song we’ve written so far, and it took quite a while to get it to where we wanted it to be, so to have such a great response to it has been really rewarding.
Having supported the likes of Urban Theory and The Hubbards, you will be opening for Ivory Wave in Manchester on April 27. For those who have yet to see McRae live, what can they expect?
We think of ourselves as a live band, rather than a studio band, so we’d suggest if anyone’s into our songs, seeing them live is the best way for us to demonstrate what we intended to write, and personally, we think there’s an atmosphere you can create at a gig that you just can’t get from listening to music.
And how is performing on stage, for you all, as an experience?
We’re all big gig-goers, and our favourite way to engage with a band is by watching them live, and so we try and make that impact on the people watching us, by keeping things as highly-energetic and loud as possible, and we have yet to play a gig that we haven’t enjoyed.
Following that gig, what are your plans for the rest of 2019?
We’ve got at least two more singles we’re hoping to release this summer, we’re also planning a headline show in Manchester, and we will be playing a few festival slots, but they’re yet to be announced!
And finally, what is the band’s long-term aim?
To keep playing bigger and bigger shows, and to release more music, are about the only aims we’ve currently got, but also, Aidan wants to invent some gig tech!
‘POSTAPOCALIPSTICK’, THE LATEST SINGLE FROM MCRAE, IS AVAILABLE NOW, AND FURTHER INFO ON THE BAND CAN BE FOUND THROUGH THE FOLLOWING SITES: