Local musician Shane Mcleay has reignited his recording career with his latest album Odyssey. One song has already been picked for a movie soundtrack, and the future is looking bright …
> When did you first discover your passion for music?
Growing up in the Salvation Army, I was always surrounded by music; music was a given. Gospel music had a major influence on my early years. To this day, I love gospel quartet inspired harmonies.
> What was the hardest thing about getting back into the studio?
Probably getting my head back into a studio situation; a lot has changed since I played on my first recording back in 1986. Back in the ‘80s and early ‘90s I worked on around 15 albums, and things were done very differently then.
It has been fantastic to work with Jason Brooks and Hamish McDonald, because there has been a real synergy there. We work very well together – that’s been the easiest thing!
> How would you describe the new album ‘Odyssey’?
The name sums it up; Odyssey means ‘a series of long journeys or travels’. The album is like a musical log of my life’s journey so far. Musically speaking, it’s got everything from ballads to rock ‘n’ roll.
> Do you have a favourite track on the album?
‘Loving Arms’; it’s my most favourite song ever. It’s an Elvis song and has been covered by everyone from Jon English to The Dixie Chicks.
> Where do you find the inspiration for your songs?
Life! It’s really that simple.
> Who has influenced you the most with your music?
I’m a huge Elvis fan, so without a doubt Elvis. But I listen to everything from Keith Urban, to Pink, Van Halen, and Avenge Sevenfold, so all those sounds influence me.
> Have you ever listened to a song and wished that you could have written it?
Loving Arms, because if you listen to the words in that song there is a heart and soul crying out with every ounce of passion and conviction. You either do or you don’t understand that song.
> You also recorded a theme song for a new Australian movie ‘Hobby Farm’. How did that come about?
Grayem Bird from NBN television heard our unfinished version of Loving Arms and insisted I play it to Brad Diebert, the man behind the Hobby Farm movie. And fortunately for me, Brad is also a huge Elvis fan and absolutely loved the song.
He asked me if I had recorded any other songs, because he wanted to hear more and maybe produce a film clip for us.
At that time we hadn’t, so he asked me to write a song for the movie, Hobby Farm! You could have knocked me over with a feather, because Hobby Farm won the New York film festival last year, and I wasn’t interested in resurrecting my music career!
All that said, it’s very exciting to have been able to bring a touch of Hollywood to Taree. We are fortunate, because Taree is a strong music town and in my opinion some of the most talented musicians live here, along with some pretty good studios.
> What happened with the song for the movie?
I met with Jason Brooks and spelt out what an amazing opportunity this was. We spent a lot of time talking about what kind of song we needed to come up with for the movie, and the problem was that we had ‘writer’s block’!
I went away for a few days, and while I was in my hotel room at Tweed Heads, I wrote the song ‘Hold On’ in about 20 minutes, came back to Taree and went straight into the studio.
Hamish, Jase and I put everything into that song that we could, and I am very proud of the end result.
> How is it being used in the movie?
Andrew Giddings from Jethro Tull wrote the score for the movie, and our role was to come up with a catchy rock song to help sell the movie around the world … no pressure, of course! We shot a film clip about three weeks ago with Brad Diebert’s production team – I have to add that at 40 years old, I was way outside my comfort zone! It was fun, though. The film clip will be aired around the world, which is an awesome opportunity for people to hear our music – music made in Taree!
> How has the song been received so far?
The song hasn’t been officially released yet, but it was downloaded from my website by a radio station in Canada, and as a result is being played in that country as we speak.
I keep getting heaps of encouraging emails from Canadians wanting to know when my album is out and when I’m touring Canada! They love it, and I’m glad.
> When will we hear it here?
Infinity Records is releasing it as a single in mid June, and I’m hoping that Australian radio stations will be kind enough to give it some airplay like those in Canada.
You can hear it on my website at the moment at www.shanemcleay.com
A lot of people have already downloaded it from there.
> When is Odyssey due out?
We are hoping for mid July. We have had some delays in the studio for various reasons, and it has been frustrating.
However, it’s given me the opportunity to write new songs that are more relevant to where I want to be musically in light of all that is going on. Tell you what … read the July issue of Focus to find out the release date!
> Are you going to be playing live?
We are working closely at the moment with Greg Nix from Such Is Life, one of the hottest bands around. Greg is an awesome guitarist and musician, and together with Jason Brooks, we are working on arrangements for the album and building the foundations for a live band. We are hoping Greg will be joining us between Such Is Life commitments.
The great thing about it is we all get on very well, enjoy each others’ company and have lots of laughs. There is talk of a tour, but to be completely honest, we have an album to finish – and that’s where my focus is for now.
> Where do you see this journey taking you?
I don’t really know. My expectations have been very low, and they will remain there. I spent way too many years working in the music industry to believe that there is a pot of gold at the end of every rainbow; to be philosophical, I would have to say I’m enjoying the rainbow itself rather than dreaming about a pot of gold that ‘may’ exist!
I will just continue to enjoy the journey and continue to put my faith in the universe – that’s what has brought me this far! I haven’t gone looking for anything; it has all come my way and let me tell you, that is a beautiful thing. One thing I can promise is that I will always and without exception continue to be me.
I have to be able to look the man in the mirror in the eye at the end of every day and know that above all else I have been true to him, no matter what!
> Thank you Shane.
For more information on Shane’s projects, visit his website at www.shanemcleay.com