Austin McMahon – 9th Annual Jazz Song Winner

Austin McMahon – 9th Annual Jazz Song Winner

Austin McMahon

Winner Spotlight- JAZZ SONG

Jazz Song

ARTIST NAME: Austin McMahon


ARE YOU SIGNED OR SELF-RELEASED? Signed to Fractamodi Records

HOMEBASE/COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA

ALBUM NOMINATED SONG IS ON: My debut album, Many Muses

ARTISTS ON THIS TRACK: Alec Spiegelman: clarinet, Carmen Staaf: piano, Kendall Eddy: double-bass, Austin McMahon: drums, percussion, whistling, melodica

WHERE WAS SONG RECORDED? PBS studios in Westwood, MA

WHERE IS YOUR MUSIC AVAILABLE?:, iTunes, Amazon and Digstation.

WHICH GENRES BEST DESCRIBE YOUR MUSIC? Jazz is the closest to the genre that best describes my music mainly because of the instrumentation, emphasis on improvisation and each player bringing their own voice to the music. At the same time, compositionally, my music is heavily influenced by Classical music.

WHAT’S THIS SONG ABOUT? I composed this song while in Italy on my first visit there. I was playing at a small Jazz festival in Foligno (Young Jazz Festival) in the Umbria region. In Italy, I was taken by the amount of affection shared amongst friends and felt very welcomed by the locals in Foligno. I named it “Platone” (the Italian name for the philosopher Plato) to express that feeling of platonic love and friendship.

WHY DID YOU SELECT THIS TRACK TO SUBMIT TO THE IMAs? I have a very strong connection with this piece and I think that comes through when others listen to it. I really believe in this song and feel that it has the ability to convey emotions to others. I hope that the listener can hear the intent behind it and feel both the sentimental aspect as well as the feeling of excitement.

WHAT UNUSUAL INSTRUMENTS OR TECHNIQUES DID YOU USE ON THIS ALBUM? I added some whistling to the middle section of the tune because while I composed it, I was hearing that sound in my head. Melodies float around in my mind for a while and sometimes it’s very clear what instrument it is that I’m writing for, this time I heard whistling. Also, I play melodica, (which is a toy wind keyboard instrument) at the end of the piece. When I first wrote this piece in Italy, I recorded a demo version of it with the help of my great friend Landon Knoblock. We spent the afternoon “tracking” one instrument at a time and then editing it together. It’s pretty funny to listen back to now. Maybe I’ll post it on my Web site one of these days.

DID FANS HELP FUND THIS PROJECT? No. Fans helped fund the recording project, but they have helped fund performances of this music since the recording’s completion. Also, I am beginning my second recording project (as a leader) which I hope will be completely fan-funded through my Internet music label,

WHO IS SITTING IN YOUR AUDIENCE? I perform for audiences of all-ages. I often play my music for elementary school children and equally as often for the older generation of Jazz listeners (60s and up).

WHAT MAKES YOUR FANS UNIQUE? My fans support not only my projects, but explore the projects of many of the other musicians I play with. That unique quality is one of the things I hope to emphasize on the Fractamodi Web site. Ideally, if someone likes my music, they will like the music of some of the other musicians with whom I collaborate. The website aims to guide the fan towards other music they will enjoy.

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE PLACES TO PLAY? Europe and specifically Italy. And an historic venue in Boston called Wally’s Jazz Cafe.

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR MOST MEMORABLE ACHIEVEMENT TO DATE? Being nominated for the 9th annual Independent Music Awards! Also, having Many Muses selected as a “CD Baby Editor’s Pick” when the album was first released in 2009 and being selected for Pandora Internet radio.

WHAT’S IN THE WORKS FOR 2010? I am currently working on several recording projects as a sideman and my next album as a leader, which is tentatively entitled Geography. Also, I’ll be having my first child in February! I’m excited to see how fatherhood affects my music.

FINISH THIS SENTENCE: THE MUSIC INDUSTRY IS…Constantly changing in ways that artists must adapt to.

WHAT IS YOUR DEFINITION OF SUCCESS? Success is a state of mind which we are all capable of achieving in our own unique way. It is not a destination but a way of taking each step.

WHAT’S ON YOUR IPOD THAT WOULD SURPRISE YOUR FANS? Schubert, Poulenc, Beethoven, Charles Ives, and a bunch of female singer-songwriters like: Hanne Hukkelberg, Yael Naim, and Feist.

NAME SOME ARTISTS YOU ARE CHAMPIONING: I really love a singer-songwriter named Daisy May; a Scandinavian band, Farmer’s Market; Drummer/Composer John Hollenbeck; and Trio Beyond (with John Scofield, Larry Goldings and Jack Dejohnette).

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