by Joanna Orland
Eugene McGuinness is a singer-songwriter, also known for fronting his band Eugene & The Lizards. Signed to Domino Records, Eugene has now finished recording his third album – The Invitation to the Voyage will be released on June 25, 2012.
Let’s start at the beginning – How did you first break into the music industry and get signed to Domino?
I was in Liverpool, I was 19 and playing a lot round there and Manchester, throwing out free cds and opening for all the bands I liked in those cities. I think they heard me through myspace or something so I soon got a phone call offering a publishing deal and then the record deal happened soon after.
In addition to your solo career, you’ve also played and released an album as Eugene & The Lizards. How does fronting that band differ to being a solo artist?
That ‘Glue’ record was just an idea I had. I’d heard that first Grinderman album and loved the idea of throwing a record together in a few days. We did it in 4 days I think, it was easy. Very little thought was involved. It’s different to what I normally do, the Lizards thing was much more erratic.
Which do you prefer?
I’m focused on the solo thing at the moment. The identity of the music is different and more honest to what I’m really about. As much as I love getting the band together and making a racket, it’s more about the singing for me nowadays.
What is it like playing with your brother Dominic in the band?
Easy, he’s a much better musician than I am. I can only really sing so any ideas I might have, he’s the one to pull them off. I lean on him quite heavily. He’s the man. Taller too.
Did you two have a musical upbringing or is this talent something you discovered on your own?
My mum’s a primary school teacher and my dad’s an artist. The Beatles and Dylan were drilled into me since birth so although my parents weren’t musicians or anything, it was only a matter of time before I asked Santa for a guitar.
Who are some of your musical influences of past and present?
Beatles, Kinks, Bowie, Iggy, Elvis, Oasis, Marvin Gaye, Primal Scream, Roy Orbison, Lou Reed, Neil Young…
How will your upcoming album The Invitation to the Voyage differ from your previous albums?
It’s a modern record. I really took my time with it. I wanted it to sound like something being released today, nothing retro or stylised. It’s a big, honest, aggressive pop album. I’m a bit older too, so I’m just better and more direct than I have been before. I want to make a few records like this one.
What is the song-writing process like for you?
It’s something that I’m always doing. I love it so I find it easy and there’s never any pressure cause there’s always another idea waiting ahead of the previous one. You just collect them all up and decide if it’s amazing or not afterwards.
What are your upcoming career plans?
I’m keeping an eye on the live shows. I really want them to be something special. It’s early days at the moment, but the gigs have been brilliant so far. It’s just about getting better, I really want to do a great headline tour. Really got to earn that first.
If there were only one word to summarize Eugene McGuinness, what would that word be?