I feel a bit arrogant writing an ‘About Page’. I’ve never played in any bands you’ve heard of, never produced any famous artists, toured big venues or made millions. But, you’re here now, so this is the last 40 years in a nutshell…
I’ve always loved Music and I started playing the Guitar when I was 10. If I’m honest, I found traditional Music lessons pretty boring and overly focused on the Western Classical Tradition. Thankfully, at age 23, I discovered SOAS university in London. I spent 3 year very happy years there studying World Music traditions. (Modules I took included Music of West Africa, Indian Classical Music, Tabla, Jewish Music, Indonesian Gamelan, and Music and Shamanism.)
One of the lasting friendships I made while at SOAS was with Amira Kheir. One day, when I was on my way home from uni carrying my Guitar, she stopped me and asked if I wanted to be her Guitarist. When we met up the next day to learn some covers I was blown away by the fact she could really sing. I mean really sing. I’d never met anyone who could do that before. A few weeks later we did a gig in a nearby bar and tonnes of folk from uni came to watch. All I remember was getting to the end of the first song, (Superstition by Stevie Wonder) and the crowd went mad. It was the first time I’d ever played for people that actually seemed to enjoy it and didn’t just clap out of politeness.
This song is taken form Amira’s first album which we made several years after that first gig when she had started to write her own Music and develop her own sound.
After uni had ended and I had my first teaching job and was living with my girlfriend (now my wife and mother of our son) and I was playing a lot of Music and life was generally sweet, I met a chap called I met Robin Grey. Robin was a little bit strange but I liked him straight away. What most struck me was the fact Robin was just doing what he wanted. He wasn’t waiting for a record label or a manager to help him out, he was just recording his own album on a 50 quid computer. Next thing I knew I was helping out on the recordings and ended up playing with him for years to come. His DIY philosophy has stuck with me and shaped my approach to Music greatly. Legend.
This track is taken from Robin’s first record and I play Banjo on it.
In 2010 I took some time to travel and went to Tanzania. The plan was to meet up with a friend in Zanzibar for a couple of weeks and then hit the road with my laptop and a couple of mics and record musicians all over the country and beyond. I was going to make the next Buena Vista Social Club, Grammy award winning record! I never made it off Zanzibar. I discovered the DCMA Music school where I started taking Oud lessons. It was amazing. A music school that looked out over the harbour in Zanzibar and taught traditional Music. I was in heaven.
Here is a short playlist of some of the things I recorded whilst in Zanzibar.
When I got back home I started a teacher training degree at the University of East London (surprisingly enjoyable), went busking a lot and started a new project with an old school friend, a Drummer called Tom Cambata. We were coming from quite different places Musically. He said it couldn’t be too Folk and I said it couldn’t be too Rock – coz let’s face it, no one likes Folk Rock. So we set up a house band and invited guest singers and musicians to perform at our night, Jibba Jabba. Over time the house band became a regular line up of Phoenyx 77 as singer/MC, Ian Sweet on Bass and Eve Gordon on vocals.
This is one of my favourite tunes we wrote and managed to get recorded.
In 2015 my wife and I moved to Edinburgh to be closer to family and have a possibility of buying a house (I love you London, but seriously?!)
I hooked up with my friend Bertie Fritsch, who amongst other things is a really talented sound engineer and Drummer and we started a recording studio. Sort of. My idea was to have a mobile rig which I could take to people’s houses and record them ‘on location’. Unfortunately everyone wanted to come to an actual studio to record and get out of their own bedrooms. It was a cool experience and I did manage to record a few acts which I liked but bookings were few and far between. If I’m honest I got a bit too side tracked with trying to develop clever marketing strategies and lost focus on just making Music. Anyway, I’m glad I tried it but I’m also glad not to be trying anymore it if you know what I mean.
Here is a short play list of some of my favourite recordings I did whilst doing the studio.
Whilst doing studio stuff Bertie and I were also in a band called the Sound Rays which was a kind of psychedelic instrumental group which also had my brother, Rory MacLeod on Bass and our mate Robert Keir on Guitar.
Here is one of our tunes, written and recorded by us.
In late 2019 I became a father and then, not long after, the Covid pandemic hit and everything went into lock down. I figured these were 2 pretty good reasons for stopping doing the studio and try something else. I spent a lot of 2020 making Guitar videos for Youtube and it was pretty enjoyable. It was nice to focus on the Guitar again and get the hang of basic video making. I made a lot of videos and even a couple of short courses you can find here.
That pretty much takes us up to now. If you made it this far, thanks for reading and don’t forget to get in touch – email@example.com