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  • Vasili Papathanasopoulos


McDermott & North's new single, Ally, is out now! We caught up with Rhys North, one half of the duo, to chat about the release and more.

Image: Studio Castel.

Brisbane duo McDermott & North recently shared their latest single, Ally. The acoustic-led track documents the youthful emotions surrounding a relationship that proves to be detrimental, as much as you hope it adds value within your life.

Having met at an open mic night in their home town of Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley, the pair soon began working together, taking to the streets of Brisbane, busking around the towns thrift boutiques and bars.

Made up of Paddy McDermott and Rhys North, the pair soon caught the attention Screamfeeder’s Darek Mudge, who invited them into his Brisbane studio to record Ally. The track is set to appear on the duos forthcoming EP, due out this may,

Ally is out now! Read our interview with Rhys North of McDermott & North below.

Tell us a bit about how you began your musical journey and how did this musical collaboration begin...

We met at an open mic in Brisbane in 2016, we were solo artists at the time and we both watched each other play and decided to form a group. It was born fairly quickly looking back our first gig was in December 2016.

You’ve been busking around Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley for the past couple of years, constantly putting yourself in front of an ever-changing audience. What are some of the key things you’ve learnt as performers from busking?

Smiling as much as possible is always an important one whether someone were to give us money or not we try and look as happy as possible we feel people are bit more inclined to pop money in your case if you do so. Another thing we have learnt is to give each new busking spot about an hour instead of just trying out five songs and seeing how you go we try to stick around for a bit and see if the crowd flows because more often than not you get waves of people passing by then leaving.

Congratulations on the release of your new single, Ally! Could you tell us a bit about the song and what prompted you to explore the themes present?

Thankyou! The song came about so naturally that we didn’t ever set out to sing or talk about a particular subject it was written quickly and over time it sort of presented itself to us in terms of what it was about, we felt Ally was an analogy for a vice/relationship that you try out and hope it adds value or worth to your life but more often than not it doesn't. All this coupled with youthful emotions can leave you doubting a lot of things, this is what i feel the song is about anyway how others feel that's up to them!

How did you arrive at the sonic sounds prevalent on the tracks?

We were really blessed to be able to work with our producer Darek Mudge. He really helped us find our sound with drums we spent a long time playing as an acoustic duo and had a hard time getting a band sounding right behind us but we feel with this recording things started to click, Darek was a huge part of that! We credit a lot of how it sounds to him i'm glad we took the time to get everything sounding how we wanted.

If Ally was a piece of visual art, which artwork would it be?

I'd say to me it emulates something from the pop art movement. I suppose thats how I interpret it anyway but I couldn’t really put it down to one piece In particular.

What messages do you hope listeners take away from the track?

Hope and optimism come immediately to mind but I do like the idea of songs being open to interpretation so long as the listener is taking something away from it then I think we have done our job.

Could you tell us a bit about your creative process when writing and recording?

Writing is always different it constantly changes for us sometimes we both sit down and write songs together or sometimes we both go away and write full songs by ourselves and bring them in, no two songs are ever the same. As for recording we like taking three takes of vocals, guitar etc. and then picking our favourite take and moving forward from there that's how we have always worked I think it's really easy to overthink everything when recording and sometimes that can hinder the magic so we try and capture feel over striving for the perfect take and I feel within three takes theres a good chance the right take is there.

Will you be dropping a full length release this year? And what can fans expect from your future releases?

Yes we definitely will be! We will be releasing more songs backed with a full band similar to the sound of Ally but keeping a few songs acoustic. We’re really excited to release the songs we’re sitting on at the moment! More News to come soon!

Did you encounter any challenges whilst creating music during the COVID-19 pandemic, or did it allow you the time and space to immerse yourself within this musical project?

Probably no more challenges than everyone else in the music industry, we spent a lot of time writing and finishing off old songs which was nice but we definitely missed busking and playing shows, We were glad when things started back up again in Brisbane.

The current pandemic has obviously put a halt to touring and performing live, what are your touring plans post pandemic? If any, what can people expect from one of your live shows?

We’re looking to do a big tour soon so keep an eye out! From what people can expect - folky-esque pop songs coated in harmonies backed by bass & drums - we want people leaving feeling like they have invested their time and money into something of value, I feel the best shows stick with you for a while and thats the impression we would love to leave on people.


Biggest influences?

The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Oasis.

Dream collaboration?

Rick Ruben.

Album that has had the most impact on you?

The Beatles - Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.

How do you define your musical style in 3 Words.

Melodic, chill, distinct.

A musical release you’re most looking forward to in 2021?

The new Teenage Fanclub album (Endless Arcade).

If you could create the soundtrack for any film, which one would it be?

I think we have something up our sleeve for The Revenant (2015), or the ending credits at least.

Hannah Montana or Miley Cyrus?

Miley Cyrus.

The most memorable show you’ve ever performed?

Our last show in December at The Bearded Lady in Brisbane was up there for us.

Album you would listen to on repeat on a road trip?

(Whats The Story) Morning Glory? by Oasis.

Best concert you have been to?

Paul McCartney 2017 at Suncorp Stadium.

Last concert you went to?

Freight Train Foxes at The Junk Bar in Brisbane. It was brilliant!

If you were a Spice Girl, what would your spice nickname be?

Harmony Spice ha.

Guilty music pleasure?

One Direction .

If you could support any artist on tour, who would it be?

Neil Young!

An artist you think has had the most influence on the music industry.

John Lennon .

What advice would your current self, give your future self, for a year from now?

Keep going.

The moment you knew you wanted to be a musician?

When I showed someone who wasnt an immediate family member a song I had written and they actually liked it.


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