5 Questions with Rags #73 - Tom McGuire (Tom McGuire & The Brassholes)

Sometime in the last couple of months of 2018, the great YouTube algorithm smiled upon me and sent me a downright infectious tune called “Ric Flair,” by Tom McGuire & The Brassholes, a band I had definitely never heard of before. Instantly enamoured with the incredibly catchy single, the song quickly found its way into my daily listening diet. You know that feeling where you find a band but then there's only a few songs/videos to help satiate that sonic lust? Well, that's the feeling I was engulfed with when I started digging a bit more but thankfully for myself, and the rest of the unsuspecting world, Tom McGuire & The Brassholes were mere months away from releasing their self-titled debut album. “We started the record through a crowdfunding campaign last December (2017), which was ultimately successful. We recorded over January and February, and a bit of March too. It's been ready since then and we've been dying to have people have access to it. Nobody knew who were though so we had to kind of build it up to get the point where there would be interest in the album. It's been around about a year we've been waiting to show this to the world,” McGuire says, speaking to me from his home in Glasgow, as he prepares vinyl copies of the album to send to those ahead-of-the-curve listeners who preordered the album. And finally the time has come.

Released into the world January 18, Tom McGuire & The Brassholes is already starting to dazzle listeners with its scope, intimacy, storytelling and straight-ahead musical force. While the album is deep and rich, brimming flourishes and fresh ideas – a clearly thought-out and dense peice of sonic art – “Ric Flair,” that first single that hooked me and apparently a whole gaggle of other people, was created in nearly complete spontaneity. “Me and some of the guys in the band used to host jam sessions in town. Where there would be no one to play I would sometimes just make up songs on the spot to keep myself on my toes. One night I asked 'What's the next song gonna be?' And someone piped out 'Ric Flair!' Ooookay, here we go and I just spat out the chorus line and we spontaneously played the song and it was pretty sick. I held onto it...thankfully I remembered it. I went home and wrote it more fully and I'm very glad I did because it's the reason so many people are caring, having an idea of who we are.” He's right. Because as more people find that song and the album, more people are going to bring Tom McGuire & The Brassholes into their lives. And that means more people dancing, more people experiencing the sonic joy that this incredible band can deliver. And that can only be a good thing. Rags Music is proud to have Tom McGuire as a guest for this instalment of 5 Questions with Rags, as The Brassholes set off on what is sure to be a massive year for this phenomenal band.


1. Do you remember the first album you bought with your own money?

First album I bought with my own money was...I used to be into punk rock. I still am actually, I love punk rock. My first record I got was a compilation from Nitro Records called Deep Thoughts and it was a killer. And I got Green Day Dookie on cassette tape. That's my roots. I remember that well. My first CD was punk rock and not some shite pop.

Yeah, I've asked that question a lot and there are some pretty regrettable answers.

I'm proud of me. There's nothing to be ashamed of for me.

2. When's the last time you did something for the first time?

Right now there's a lot of firsts happening for me. Being on national radio was a pretty big deal. We were on BBC Scotland when 'Ric Flair' was coming out. We went on BBC Scotland and played a session.

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5 Questions with Rags #72 - SIDEWAY

I first found out about SIDEWAY (formerly Sidewaysounds) a couple summers ago when he laid down tunes on a old school bus that was transporting people from downtown Victoria to the top of Brown's Mountain for Tall Tree Music Festival. (Note: That old school bus is known as The Community Action Bus and it's usually doing more important things than transporting festival goers.)`I knew literally zero things about him or what kind of music I would hear on this journey, but I was quickly pulled out of my comfortable anti-social bubble at the back of the bus, into the midst of people, closer to the speakers. Dude had the two most important things I look for in a DJ - instantly recognizable taste and no genre allegiance. Turns out, on top of being a solid DJ he's also a damned-fine producer, creating some pretty smashing, forward-thinking bass music. “For me the tune has reach up and grab your attention, that's when you know you're onto something,” Sideway told me, talking about what in music is grabbing at him these days. “I like to browse SoundCloud for hours and just have it on in the background, and when a song grabs my attention I know its worth taking a closer look at which often leads me to brand new artist discoveries. Same goes for when I’m making music… I’m very hands on, just creating until something sounds interesting and grabs my attention and then building around that as inspiration. But it's all a very fluid process for me, my tastes have evolved many times over the years and I expect that will continue.” Probably get on the train now, because if current Sideway trends continue, whoa! You're gonna be glad you got on these sounds early!


1. What was the first album you bought with your own money?

Haha, okay this is going to sound super lame, but music was never really a big thing in our house growing up. Like, my parents didn’t really listen to anything except the odd ABBA album. Exposure for me was through friends and so the first impression made on me was Stan by Eminem. I think I was 12. I couldn't buy the album but my friends did and we had that shit on repeat just like every other kid. Another early favourite was Coolio – Gangsters Paradise. The last album I can remember buying on CD was Kid Kudi - Man on the Moon, used to rinse that out a bunch as well.

But when my cousin snuck me into my first club at 16, I fell in love with electronic music, or techno as it was referred to back then, and have really appreciated everything from minimal to trance to glitch hop to electro and dubstep. These days I favour a pretty bass-heavy, eclectic mix of tunes, basically anything that fits goes in my book.

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5 Questions with Rags #43 - Immerze

An immense talent for the art of rapping combined with a seemingly endless well of hustle has helped Toronto-to-Vancouver transplant Immerze has established himself as one of Canada's most consistent and exciting Mcs in a surprisingly short time. A grimy, big-city east-coast feel gives his tracks a reliable bottom end with a defined west-coast lightness and positivity colouring everything, splitting the difference between the two aesthetics. It's getting trickier and trickier for to bond over hip-hop with younger, burgeoning heads but Immerze gives us a fertile common ground to start from. His trap-heavy beats are tuned for a younger ear, but the positive, family-man-gangsta lyrics are perfect for the uhhh older heads among us. There's an edge, but it's not sinister. It's a delicate balancing act that Immerze pulls off perfectly. I caught him on the phone from home in Vancouver to answer our silly questions for a smoky, bottom-heavy instalments of 5 Questions with Rags.

Keeping up with that track record of consistency, Immerze just released the new video for new single “2 Cents/Black Bond.” It's dope. Get after it.

1. Do you remember the first album you bought with your own money?

Yep! 5O Cent Get Rich Or Die Tryin'. I think I bought like five of those albums. <laughs> Realistically though I bought four or five. If it wasn't in the car I was in, I would buy just so it was there. That album was religion when it came out.

What's your favourite track on there? You can only pick one..

Oh man...So many... “Many Men,” that one was on repeat heavy. Hmmm, there's so many. That album's a classic. Yeah, we'll stick with “Many Men.”

When's the last time you listened to it?

The album it its entirety? Probably about a year ago.

Do you find you get much time to listen to full albums anymore?

I always try to find time. If a new album comes out and I know I don't have time to listen to it in its entirety, I won't listen to it. Whether it's late at night or early in the morning, I'll find time. It's hard to do. You really gotta be a fan to do that. You're not doing that just skimming through. Albums that came out, like the Anderson .Paak album, I knew I wanted to be fully attentive when I listened to that, so I waited until a month or two after it came out. Then I can form my own opinion without the hype. An artist spends time making an album, so when you listen to it, at least give them the respect of listening to it yourself. Especially albums. Albums are usually pieces of a person's life. They're putting their life on wax for you to enjoy. So, to it's just shit while skimming through some tracks, that's real disrespectful.

2. What's your most positive memory of an elementary or high school teacher?

My guidance counsellor. He smoked weed every day. He would call me out of class, make it seem like we had a meeting and he'd tell me some funny-ass stories and he'd be like, “I'm fucking high bro. Don't tell anybody.” He was cool and didn't give a fuck. I though, “If all teachers were like this kids would actually want to come to school.”

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