Amy Macdonald Covershoot and interview for FAULT Magazine

Amy Macdonald X FAULT Magazine

Interview: Miles Holder

As hard as it is to believe, it’s been over a decade since Amy Macdonald’s debut album ‘This Is the Life’ released, and the world was introduced to her masterful songwriting. Thirteen years and five studio albums later, Amy has matured as a musician and her ability to create music which reflects her current life situations is stronger than ever. With a new album on the horizon, we caught up with Amy to discuss her upcoming music, career and of course, her FAULTs. 

It’s crazy to believe that This Is The Life is over ten years old, when you were listening back to all your record for ‘Woman Of The World’, was it crazy to see how far you’ve come?

Amy Macdonald: Yes and no, I think I am a very reflective person anyway.  I always daydream and look back on everything that’s happened, and I’ve always done that throughout my career. But it was really nice to be at a point where I had all these songs to choose from and I could choose a collection of songs that mostly represented me. Sometimes I look back and think everything’s gone in the blink of an eye, but when I think back to how young I was at the beginning, it’s amazing I’m still here and releasing music. I never expected it to last so long.

What’s the biggest change you’ve seen in your songwriting since your debut?

Amy Macdonald: I’m not sure I’ve seen a massive change. I’m a very emotional person and when I feel some sort of emotional response to something, the way I deal with it is to write songs and that’s the way I’ve been since day one. I do think as you get older your life changes and priorities change a bit, so that probably comes across in this record. I got married and felt like I was at a crossroads in my life, I also changed record labels which felt like the end of a chapter, and this album feels like a fresh start. I had a lot going on in my life during the making of this album, which meant I had loads of different experiences to pull from and it made it easier to write. I don’t think anything’s necessarily changed that much but I think my own personal circumstances have changed so my writing has probably changed with it.

Amy Macdonald

Many artists who are signed at a young age, get fearful when it’s time to start releasing music based on their more mature life experiences – was it the same for you?

Amy Macdonald: Sometimes it can be a worry and sometimes you need to turn off the background noise as everyone’s got an opinion on what you do. I think you just need to forget about everyone else’s opinions, you’re never going to please everyone and not everyone in life is going to like you.  As long as you’re making music that you’re proud of and putting out albums that you love, then that’s all you can do.

Creating an album during this pandemic has meant you’ve had to stay grounded in the one location – do you feel that writing experience helped you connect with your inner feelings or did it feel claustrophobic?

Amy Macdonald: I actually wrote the songs for ‘The Human Demand’ before the pandemic, so I wasn’t writing these songs when we were in this situation. When I write it doesn’t really matter where I am, most of the songs were actually written in this seat in my dining room. I don’t necessarily have to travel to write songs, I can write anywhere.

But recording the album was difficult as we started before lockdown and then when lockdown happened, we had to stop and then start it again. There was that worry that you wouldn’t feel creative and you wouldn’t still have that flow. But thankfully we did, I think everyone was thrilled to be back together working again. I actually think we gave more to the second half of recording the album than we did in the first! Although it was a strange way to make an album, I feel like it worked out ok in the end.

Amy Macdonald

When you’re in writing mode do you usually shut yourself off from outside distractions or do you prefer to soak in inspiration from all places?

Amy Macdonald: I’m not a particularly prolific songwriter, so I don’t lock myself away for months and just write, I just do it bit by bit. I wouldn’t have the patience to lock myself away and just write and write! If I’m writing on my own l wait until there’s something I want to write about and then will pick up the guitar and see where it goes. For a lot of the songs on this album, I wrote with my bandmates and friends, so we planned specific days to write together.  I don’t have a set plan or routine; I just go with the flow. Music should be very natural and it shouldn’t be too contrived, I think if you spend too much time thinking about how you make it, it’s not natural.

In 50 years, what do you want your music to have said about you?

Amy Macdonald: If people are still listening to my music in 50 years then that’s wonderful! All I want my music to do is connect with people. The thing I love most about music is it can completely change your mood, it can uplift you, it brings people together, just having that with my music is amazing. I feel honoured and humbled that people use my music to make themselves feel better and I think that’s the best that I can hope for.

Amy Macdonald

What’s been the hardest hurdle you’ve had to climb?

Amy Macdonald: I never take a lot of notice of things that go wrong or dwell on them otherwise you can end up bitter holding onto all these bad moments. If bad things happen, I get annoyed at the time and then let them pass. However, I do think that when I was a young female, I realised that females get judged on appearance, way more harshly than men doing.

If you’re a male artist you can put a song out and can look a state and no one will say anything about it and that’s great, they shouldn’t say anything about it because why does it matter? But if you’re a female it always matters, somebody’s always got an opinion.  The amount of people that have told me that I’ve ruined myself because I’ve had tattoos. I’ve been told to cover myself because my tattoos might offend someone. That’s only something you face if you’re a woman and that hasn’t gone away.

What’s the last song you heard that made you cry?

Amy Macdonald: The Ramones – Be My Baby. I put it on because my beautiful little dog died, and I was trying to think of songs that made me think of him. I also smiled at the end of it.

Amy Macdonald

Who is a current artist you’ve been listening to?

Amy Macdonald: The Killers new album ‘Imploding The Mirage’. I’ve seen them live a few times and they are an incredible live band. I saw them at T in the Park in 2006 – they were on in the middle of the day on the 2nd stage and it’s amazing how they’ve kept going and gone from strength to strength, but once you’ve seen them live you know why.

Amy Macdonald

What is your FAULT?

Amy Macdonald: I worry too much about everyone and everything. I worry that everyone’s ok and it gives me sleepless nights. My family and close friends tell me not to worry and I wish I didn’t because it can make it harder for everyone but it’s just the kind of person that I am.