Mac Lloyd is a soul, jazz & hip-hop based singer songwriter from Chippenham, UK. After joining the fast rising ‘Green Brick Records’, founded by legendary ‘Split Prophet’ Res One, Mac has quickly made himself known as a multi-genre artists who can traverse soulful guitar licks or grungy hip-hop beats with equal ease. Now he is back with a brand new project ‘Melancholic Soul Club’, a brand new chapter in Mac’s evolution as an artist.
We caught up with Mac ahead of the release of Melancholic Soul Club to find out a little more about his career thus far, musical inspirations and favorite spots in his home town.
This is a 2&6 Interview with: MAC LLOYD
Your latest release ‘If i could’ is a really beautiful track that demonstrates how you continue to evolve and grow into your skillset. Who produced this record? Did the whole track grow out of that opening guitar riff? And is this indicative of the sound you’re looking to explore in the future?
Thank you for the kind words. I produced that track myself and yes, funnily enough it did. The tracks from this project are quite old but I remember noodling around with the chords that make up that intro part and instantly had to try to lay it down! Yeah, I would say so but i’m definitely going to continue making lighter soul jam styled stuff, as well as the funkier boom-bap I make with some of my collaborators.
Taking it back to the beginning, when & how did you discover you could sing? Was there one individual that really pushed you to pursue music?
So i’m gonna answer those questions back to front haha! I always knew from an early age that music would be my main drive and focus, but honestly one of the most influential people I have ever been motivated by was a German teacher of mine in secondary school by the name of Mrs. Hammond.
She was a savage teacher, but a genuine person. Long story short I was being an idiot and getting into a lot of trouble and ruining my studies and one day she held me back after class and just asked me what I really wanted to do, I told her I wanted study music production and she told me to focus on the grades I needed and music as best as possible. I remember she said something along the lines of “You’ve got to do something, you can’t waste what you have.” I guess she must have seen some thing in me and what she said definitely resonated with me, because I took it on board and literally never looked back!
As for singing, I was in college sitting in on a friends bands practice when they played their opening track, I jokingly jumped on the spare mic in the chorus and laid down a harmony that sounded pretty sweet. It was a shock to us all, honestly but we made haste and I became the sixth member and second vocalist of the band. I’ve been playing guitar for about 17 years now, since about the age of 10.
How did you and Res One first come to meet and how did you end up becoming an integral part of the Green Brick Records family ?
I actually met Res through a good mutual friend and video extraordinaire Dom, of This & That Media! Dom and I had worked on a few videos, as he had also done with Res and I was fortunate enough to be introduced to him about a year and a bit into knowing Dom. It was quite crazy because for me, the prospect of meeting Res and speaking about potentially working with him was quite daunting.
I’d listened to him for almost a decade up to that point and he and Split Prophets were truly underground kings across Europe. But when we met he was super welcoming and we got on well and shared very similar goals and interests. Soon after my joining Green Brick we both became fathers, and because of the previously mentioned goals and interests we just gelled really well when working together, both musically and otherwise.
I’m curious where do you see yourself sitting within the current UK hip-hop world? A lot of your mentors like Res One are obviously UK hip-hop legends but as you say your music encompasses a larger scope of influences like jazz, soul, funk and electronic. How does hip-hop continue to influence you and do you approach your songwriting in a similar way to how MC’s approach building a verse?
I think the scene itself is diversifying heavily and that’s opening up the scope of the listeners to many different types of rap, R&B and experimental soul. It’s quite nice being accepted for my work across the board and I’m hoping that i’m not just viewed as just a guy who sings hooks, not that there is any issue in that at all, I just feel I have a lot more to offer listeners if they are willing to stick around!
Hip hop has and always will be a huge driving force and influence, much like punk music to me. I think if anything, whilst I love more traditional rappers, I look to artists like Danny Brown, Flatbush Zombies, EarthGang, JID for influence on being true to yourself whilst being willing to experiment. Whilst I may not sound anything like those artists I definitely can take elements of their music and styles away.
My songwriting techniques don’t really follow any set path. It can all start with a punchline for a chorus, a nice chord sequence, sometimes even just an idea that i’ve thought up whilst watching a movie or documentary. Typically though, because I struggle to write whole songs of lyrics at once, I will work around the instrumental then try to pen the lyrics, even if i’ve already got a hook in mind, or something like that, I tend to lean on the instrumental for feel and overall tonality of the song, from there I can usually sculpt my topic matter for the lyrics in a much neater way.
Who were your biggest musical influences growing up? What was playing in the background at home and what type of music do you choose to listen to in your day to day life now?
There was a lot of Stax, Motown, blues and rock being played around the house when I was young. BB King, The Stones, Led Zeppelin, Hendrix, Martha Reeves, Etta James, Marvin Gaye. At the time when I was a young boy I was mainly driven toward the heavier blues, classic rock and punk. My dad did have NWA albums around that would occasionally make an appearance in the car stereo.
Now there is a still a lot of soul and blues, but there is a lot more modern rap and R&B. Lots of jazz, Billie Holiday, Julie London, Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong to name a few. My 2 year old really seems to enjoy lots of music so I’ve enjoyed showing him bits of everything from Wu-tang to War, Ramones to Sinatra etc.
Sweetheart & Soul Jams is one of my personal favorite releases from you in recent times as it subverts a lot of the traditional themes and messages of a ‘love song’. ‘Girl i should charge by the hour to listen to your bullshit’ is a hilarious beginning to a track. Do you find it easy to talk about your own personal experiences in your lyrics? And perhaps more generally, how did this project come about and what was the inspiration behind it?
Hahaha, thanks for the kind words and yeah I do dig that intro! I’m always pretty open about things in general, so I try to approach my lyrics or song writing in that same manner, as best as I can. On this forthcoming EP, the ‘Melancholic Soul Club’, there are some incredibly personal tracks about my past addictions (All Too Well), love induced paranoia and toxic relationships (If I Could, Mine) as well as losing loved ones and the aftermath of those types of life changing events (Man Of Faith).
The Soul Jams came about as a Youtube series for the Green Brick channel. I wrote the first soul jam in an afternoon, and filmed the video the next day, just messing around with my girlfriend, Chloe. It had a really nice tonality and style to it and I had a couple of ideas that fit the bill so I decided to expand upon it. You’ve hit the nail on the head with the project as well, I really wanted to give people high doses of classic elements of soul, whilst switching things up and giving it a little freshener. There may just be some more of those round the corner. We shall see!
If you could go see any 3 solo artists or bands in history in a live show, who would you go see?
I suck at these questions because my answers change constantly but right now – Hendrix- Ella Fitzgerald with Joe Pass as a duet, is that allowed? haha- Tribe Called Quest on the Midnight Marauders tour.
Lastly, we always like to end by asking our guests to give us a little tour of their home area so where would you take someone to:
If we’re talking my actual hometown, Chippenham, i’d definitely take them to The Old Road tavern, my dad drank there when I was a kid and I would get to see all these older musicians jamming and stuff. It’s the go to pub for like-minded music heads in the town to go and hang at, I find. They also put on some great comedy nights in their barn. When covid eases off I hope to head back there and play a show. Then most likely end up in the chicken shop on the high street at 2/3 am yelling about some dumb shit.