Ethereal tones meet rugged landscapes.
Lord Of The Isles is the unabashedly Scottish pseudonym for Edinburgh based producer Neil McDonald, a humble fellow whose dreamy machine made music delivers a compelling new story with every woven melody, adding to the richly melancholic narrative connecting each of his 12″ releases to date. Since his Lord Of The Isles debut in 2011, he’s managed to amass an incredible 14 EPs, and has forged connections with Japanese labels like Ene and Mule Musiq, while adding his uniquely textured sound to the discographies of stalwarts like Permanent Vacation, Phonica and Firecracker sub-labels Unthank and Shevchenko. We managed to track down the busy Scotsman for a rare mix and Q&A in the midst of finishing his long awaited debut solo album, a new live set and a slew of exciting new collaborative projects.
What have you been up to?
I’ve been working on my album mostly, with a few gigs in between. Also just completed a collaborative album for Firecracker Recordings in conjunction with the Forestry Commission (Scotland).
You recently had a track feature on Cocktail d’Amore’s 5 year compilation Nothing Matters When We’re Dancing.. How did you get in touch with those guys before being first signed to the label back in 2012?
They were really into the ‘Hot Blobs’ track from the first Little Strong release and they got in touch with me through Soundcloud after that. I think it was hearing the track ‘Searching’ on Soundcloud that prompted the contact.
We read a little while ago that you had been preparing for your first full-length release. What can you tell us about your recording process for that, and when can we be expecting to finally see and hear it?
Slow! Moving house put a real dent into my work last year. Now in the new place I’m beginning to feel more settled. As far as a recording process goes, I work alone. I use a combination of old and new hardware and software. I also make field recordings from my trips away or when I’m out for walks etc.
You recently had a lovely 12” out on Mule Musiq, and since your 2011 release on the Tokyo based Ene Records it seems as though your music has been received with open arms in Japan.. Do you feel like this connection with these innovative labels, or the Japanese music scene itself has influenced you as an artist?
Thanks. Yes, Chida’s choice of tracks for the Ene EP surprised me and gave me a lot of confidence in what I was doing. From my experience with the Japanese music scene, they seem less inclined to pigeon hole styles within electronic music, which is something I can relate to.
What can you tell us about this mix that you’ve put together for us? Who are some of the artists featuring in the mix?
Well apart from taking an age to get done (sorry!) It’s a selection of new artists that I’m into or discovered recently like Lnrdcroy, Galcher Lustwerk, Andras Fox, SVN and others, alongside old favourites like Larry Heard and the Burden brothers [aka Octave One].
What else can we be expecting from you in 2015?
My priorities this year are the album and my new live set. The Firecracker album should be out anytime now. I have a new EP coming on Permanent Vacation in June. I also have a track coming out on the Sub Club’s new label. The first release is an all Scottish various artist EP, including Vince Watson, Alex Smoke, Stephen Lopkin and myself. I completed a remix for Deep Space Orchestra at the end of last year. It’s a track from their forthcoming album so that should be out later this year. I’ve also agreed to do a track for Mule Musiq’s next ‘Starting to Feel OK’ comp and have contributed a track to a comp for the War Child charity.