Celebrate Knoxville Music Review by Laura Long Martin. –Rory McMillan’s music is accessible, and not just because his music is available to download in many places. McMillan’s music resonates in a place the artist wants his listeners to remember, whether that place is in the distant past or has not yet arrived.
The music will transport you. Take a deep breath.
For 2015’s album, Remember This, Knoxville-based musician Rory McMillan abandoned all strings and went for all digital piano and synthesizer. He also teamed up with Knoxville musician/producer Nick Miller (KnightsOfTheRound), who added drums to four tracks. McMillan’s music makes use of remembered pain and joy, and is mixed, mastered, and produced using Cubase LE6 recording software and an online mastering service called LANDR.
Celebrate Knoxville had the opportunity to ask McMillan a few questions this week.
CK: This album has a lot of youthful exhuberance, especially with Grey Mouse Escapes Space Mountain, a song that belongs playing in the background of an art class. Is that what you are remembering with this album and if so, are the songs in chronological order?
RM: I took art every year in high school at Bearden (High School in Knoxville), and Ms. Galetovic let us listen to lots of neat stuff. This project is not a direct nod to that, but I do in fact keep in touch and mail her all of my music. I have an artist friend in Pennsylvania who sometimes listens to the music while writing letters or working on art. The songs are not in chronological order. They were all written in a four month time frame that ended February 2015.
CK: My favorite song on this album is Dream Cruisin’, which seems a little more complex and layered with the synth sax at the end. How did you come up with this arrangement and what was the inspiration for this song?
RM: I started with the main piano part first, then layered in other sounds from the digital piano, then added synthesizer parts last, and finally toyed around with when exactly to have each part playing and/or stopping. This song originally had some xylophone parts that ended up getting chopped. I don’t know that there was any specific (memory) inspiration for this song.
CK: What was it like having Nick Miller provide the drums for this album?
RM: An absolute treat. I am happy with the album as a whole, but I think that the (tracks) he worked on definitely shine the most. Nick has so much experience with making all kinds of music that it was just the easiest collaboration ever. I don’t even think I’ve seen the man in person for a couple of years (I think the last time I saw him was bumping into him at Plum Tree Chinese Restaurant). Basically, we corresponded and sent files back and forth online. I’d hook him up with the songs, tell him their tempos, and he’d simply work his magic on them and send me the finished tracks. I am hoping he can be persuaded to continue helping me add some drums to some new songs for Remember This, Vol. 2, which is already probably a quarter of the way finished as of today.
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