As well as creating YouTube channel Metal Robot Reviews, Burlington, Ontario-based Tom McKay is also a solo musician in his own right. Tom joined us to talk about his forthcoming EP “Call To The Daemon Sultan“ which just happens to feature the amazing Lindsay Schoolcraft. Connect with Tom, below…
How long have you been performing music?
I picked up the guitar back in 2014 for my senior year in high school. My brother was a guitar player growing up, so I figured I could pick it up to. From there, everything else snowballed into where I am today with my skills as a guitar player, vocalist, and a songwriter.
How would you describe the music that you create?
The music I make is meant for anybody who’s looking for that sweet spot between the extreme and the easy to digest (or as easy as blackened metal can be to digest). Given my time being a music critic on YouTube and having heard so much music over the years, it only makes sense that so many of the styles I’ve come to enjoy from them would find their way into the sound you hear on my EP. As for me, I’m a goofball who plays video games and makes YouTube videos… you be the judge.
How did you feel performing your first gig, and how was it?!
That’s a good question. When I do perform to a crowd that isn’t me making dick jokes to a camera, I’ll let you know haha.
The new music scene is bursting at the seams at the minute with fresh talent, in what ways do you feel that a band has to stand out to build a name for themselves?
It’s funny, this is something I always touch on with bands that seem to not really go against the grain but instead hump it till it’s dry (that made more sense in my head than on a blog). It’s always okay to experiment with something new, and try to be YOURSELF in your music, not somebody else who made it work in the past. Take ideas you’ve liked before but learn to tinker with those ideas until they’re something that’s totally and uniquely YOU.
What are you working on at the minute that people can check out?
Aside from my YouTube show “Metal Robot Reviews” which I’m still regularly updating, I have the song “The Benighted One” featuring the lovely and talented Lindsay Schoolcraft (ex-Cradle of Filth, Anthiqva) that you can find on all streaming platforms including my Bandcamp. The song is of course off the upcoming EP “Call To The Dæmon Sultan”, which is due out February 18th.
In terms of a similar audience, which band out there at the minute do you feel you would be best suited to open for?
I’m not sure that’s an easy question to answer (before now, I forgot what taking an exam feels like). If I had to opportunity, I would hopefully like to open for bands like Shield of Wings, Sleepwraith (if they ever play live), or even Antiqva. I feel that, given the style of music I make, it would act as a nice parallel with Shield of Wings’ symphonic grace, Sleepwraith’s teeth-gritting death metal, and Antiqva’s atmospheric worlds… That, and they’re all cool people, so working with them would be dope.
Excluding yourself! which new band would you like to see break out and become a success?
Definitely Sleepwraith. Seriously, go check out “Day Terrors”, best 2020 album by far!
What are your own first musical memories? And what was the lightbulb moment that made you go “I want to do that”?
Joining a band… roughly 15 minutes after picking up guitar as an elective… a band that literally just sat in my friend’s basement playing video games… teenagers, amirite? To be fair though, I’ve always been a creative person, and once I had the “band experience” (basically just the ability to say “I’m in a band”), it gave me the drive to find a new creative outlet in songwriting. Of course, when you’ve been playing guitar for an hour and decide to write your first song, it sucks more than black holes, pornstars, and Dyson vacuums. But given years of learning music theory and more experimenting with musical ideas, I’ve come a long way since my high school days.
What was the last gig that you attended as a fan?
Lutharö. I went there for their release show in Hamilton at The Absynthe, and it was phenomenal! They were opened by Shot Down Twice, Duskwalker and Aepoch, and I had a helluva time there!
What current social issue are you particularly passionate about?
I try not to get publicly involved with social issues if I can. Especially in today’s political and social climate, it can get VERY muddy, VERY fast. But an update to copyright laws that take the power out of those with money and create a balanced field to fight bullshit copyright claims wouldn’t hurt… just sayin’.
The album that you have in your album collection/Spotify playlist that would surprise most people?
Funnily enough, at first, I thought I wouldn’t have an answer to that, but then I checked my CD rack and remembered: “Oh yeah, I forgot I got “Dead Silence” by Billy Talent for Christmas 2012. Huh, how ’bout that?” What can I say, I listen to a lot of music!
Although 2021 was another year to forget, there were some amazing new albums released, what would be your album of last year?
I try to not spoil my Best of 2021 list for Metal Robot Reviews here, but I will say that Signum Draconis’s “Inferno” album REALLY surprised me. Of course, how can I forget about Trivium’s “In The Court Of The Dragon”, Epica’s “Omega”, Lutharö’s “Hiraeth” and so many others that I’m sure I’ll remember after answering all of these questions.
What does 2022 hold for you?
Continuing with my work with Metal Robot and continuing to find value in my creative outlets. Who knows, I might even have more music coming down the pipeline. We’ll see.
How active are you on social media and where can people connect with you?
I try to remain active when I can, and there’s plenty of places I can be found. For Metal Robot Reviews, I’m on Facebook and Twitter (@theMetalRobot), Instagram (@the.MetalRobot), and themetalrobot.com for videos, reviews, press and so much more. But for those who would like to get to know me more… intimately (I totally had a deep gravelly voice writing that), you can follow me @tmckay715 on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.