Meg Mac is on tour with her new album Low Blows and will be performing at Festival Of The Sun this December in Port Macquarie. FOCUS catches up with Meg, to find out all about her latest tour.
Describe your journey since winning the triple j Unearthed competition in 2014 …
I uploaded my first song to triple j Unearthed and it started to get some radio play, so I just kept making music and releasing songs from there. It turned into an EP, then a tour, and I headed overseas after winning the Unearthed Artist of The Year Award. I’ve been back and forth, touring and recording, but I’ve just released my debut album this year.
You perform on stage at massive festivals, as well as doing more intimate gigs on tour. Is there a different mentality that goes into preparing for each of these situations?
Yes, definitely with the intimate shows you get to have more of the special moments. I get to play the keyboard by myself and I like to do songs where I play on a loop pedal, so it’s just me playing. When I do an intimate venue, it’s quiet enough to have those special moments.
When you do the festivals, we try to keep everything high energy and with so many people buzzing around, you have to keep up the energy. I do like both events; in the intimate gigs you get to talk to the audience more, where in the festival events it’s harder to do that.
With your current tour, how is it all going; how are your fans responding?
I’ve been playing pretty much the whole album on this tour, and it’s really nice telling the stories about the songs and having people know what I’m talking about or singing along. I’ve got my band touring with me, but also have moments in the show where it is just me and my keyboard or me and my loop pedal playing songs that have never been recorded.
For such a softly spoken person to transform into a vocal powerhouse, what’s your routine before a show?
Yes, I’ll always warm up before a show to get my voice ready. But, I guess the singing is kinda where I feel more comfortable. I’m not nervous about singing; I feel more comfortable when I’m doing that, and it’s not as scary as having to do interviews!
You recorded and released your new album, Low Blows in the US. Did you find the process more immersive than having recorded it in Australia?
Well, I chose to make the album in Niles City Sound in Texas, and I wanted to make the album with those guys because together we brought my songs to life. We’d take a piano demo I’d written at home and play with the band; it was actually way more exciting in the studio – as in, we’d play a song live as a band, recording them live, so I kinda had to throw myself into it.
Your sister, Hannah, sings in the band too. What’s it like having a friend, confidant and sister working with you?
It’s fun. I guess people say siblings always sing well together; it’s always really easy to just sing. There are so many harmonies in my songs. When I write my songs, I’m always writing them with harmonies in mind. With so many vocals all over my album, I really need the live singers to be there with me, to make the tracks feel alive.
Tell us about the track, Kindness, on your new album. It has a very different sound and seems to pay homage to past divas.
Yeah, I was singing it and having some fun with the delivery; it’s not as emotional, maybe. It’s kinda got some attitude. It actually came together with two different song ideas, which is pretty obvious when you hear the chorus come in. I had heaps of fun with that song, because I have never really written a song like that, and it has a really fun aspect about it. I can’t wait to do that one on tour.
On tour with D’Angelo in the US, you adopted some new accessories, aka the signature hat. On your recent travels, have you picked up any new styles or stitches?
Well, at Splendour I wore a cream suit, like an all cream suit (with a hat of course), and I always wear black or dark colours. I don’t know why, but I was like, I want to wear a white suit. So, I feel I may be kind of getting into suits lately? That might be my latest thing. But, I’m still doing the hat!
What’s the hardest thing about what you do?
Well, I guess you just have to keep going; it never stops. I can’t finish at the end of the day and go, “OK, it’s time to go to bed now” … You’re just continuously thinking about it, or you wake up in the middle of the night to get up and write something down; it’s constant. But, that’s one of the best things about it too.
When you’re not performing, what’s Meg Mac doing?
Well, besides singing a lot at home, I love op-shopping – finding cool things for two dollars. I end up wearing that stuff on stage. There’s a shop near me that has a rack that usually has stuff I’d wear on stage; however, I went back to that rack recently and it didn’t have anything, so I guess it’s not my rack anymore!