If minimalist folk with immersive electronic moments sounds like your kind of music, then you’re going to love Jesse Mac Cormack. Born and raised in Montreal, he’s steadily made a name for himself in the city’s music scene over the last few years. Earning praise as the frontman and guitarist for the now defunct “folktronica” band Mak, Mac Cormack now focuses on his solo project, which has been gaining momentum since the release of his EP CRUSH back in October. We met with Mac Cormack for an inside look at his studio and current projects.
Jesse Mac Cormack’s been playing a lot of shows lately — and we mean a lot. Promoting his recently released EP, he’s in the midst of hitting all the major cities in Quebec and Ontario in just a little over a month. When we asked him about his experiences on the road, his answer was bitter sweet. “I’ve played the shittiest show in front of 20 people and the most amazing I can imagine, so… It always changes.”
Jesse Mac Cormack studied music at Marie-Victorin after teaching himself how to play guitar in high school. “I had to write a soundtrack for the school play,” he explained. Forming Mak in 2007, Mac Cormack and his bandmates played together for five years before releasing their first album: a self-titled LP that was well-received by critics. Nonetheless, they disbanded in 2012 and Mac Cormack began performing as a solo act.
Though Mac Cormack is a big fan of the Beatles and Radiohead, his music incorporates distinctive trip hop elements that give it a clearly modern sound. Over these odd electronic moments and his folky-sounding guitar, Mac Cormack’s voice drives the music’s emotion home; his vocals are endearingly honest and powerful over the sparse instrumentation. When asked where he finds inspiration for his lyrics, he cited love stories, fights and all things that are most important to him.
In 2013, Jesse Mac Cormack released Smooth, his first solo EP. Self-described as “music for the soul,” his latest project—an EP called CRUSH, recorded at a friend’s house in the summer of 2014—was just released back in October 2014. He also recently produced an album for local artist Emilie & Ogden, and is currently working on another album with Rosie Valland.
Seeing as Montreal is Mac Cormack’s hometown, we asked him if he listens to any of his fellow Montreal musicians. “There’s a good community of artists in Montreal,” he said. According to Mac Cormack, the ones with Secret City Records are his favourites, with Patrick Watson, The Barr Brothers, Suuns, and Plant and Animals being some of the artists he listens to most.
Jesse Mac Cormack’s following is steadily growing — and, in our opinion, it’s well deserved. In regards to the future, Mac Cormack tells us that he plans to record another EP in the spring, so watch out for his new releases in the coming year!
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