Duncan Cassidy or DuncanC is currently living in Jersey, Channel Islands (UK) where he was born. He moved to Glasgow (Scotland) with his family when he was around 11 years old to complete his secondary school education, before moving back to Jersey in his late teens.
“Even though Jersey is a nice place, it can be small. So growing up in Scotland, I guess I experienced different things and it gave me a much more varied outlook on life! It definitely didn’t make me a harder person though, I’m still probably much too nice for my own good like others can be too I suppose!”
So, who is DuncanC?
“Yeah DuncanC, well I definitely can’t rap which a few people have asked before because I have a C in my name! I think at first the reasoning was that I was too shy to have my name Duncan Cassidy out there in case I completely bombed and I also just wanted something quick and easy rather than spending ages trying to think up some sort of snazzy name, so yeah I just came up with DuncanC and well then it just stuck!”
What was the role of music in the early years of your life?
“I wasn’t one of those kids jumping on stage and performing or anything, but I do remember my dad playing Neil Young songs on the guitar when I was really young which stands out. And then when I was a bit older around 7/8 years old, I was fortunate enough to go to classical piano lessons and managed to reach five grades. Apart from learning to play piano and absorbing music theory, it also taught me how to read and write music which has been a great help to me other the years.”
When did you start singing and making music?
“In regards to actually singing and making my own music, I probably started this in my teenage years after picking up some guitar basics in secondary school. I then went on to teach myself bar chords and wrote some of my first songs which were extremely love orientated even though I was too young to experience anything like that at the time! I think the first song I wrote then was called ‘If you love me so’ which was really cheesy as they say, hopefully my songs are a little less comparable to that these days!”
“I then fronted a few bands which I wrote the songs for in my late teens before taking a break for a good while really before getting back into writing and having the confidence to put my songs out there a few years ago.”
Who are some of your song writing heroes and do you think you can hear their influence in your music?
“I would say that some of my main heroes would be songwriters such as Bob Dylan, Donovan, Neil Young and bands such as Nirvana and Oasis. Being the age I am Nirvana and more so Oasis were part of my youth, so I remember them more vividly than the rest.”
“I would say that these particular artists have had some influence in my music whether it be with the Fuzz/grunge guitar sound of Nirvana which I like and have been enticed to use in some of my tracks, to my use of the harmonica in which Dylan/Young and Donovan were masters at in my more acoustic/folk style songs.”
Have your musical tastes changed over the years?
“I wouldn’t say changed so much as I have always been into the same music from mainly the 60s onwards along with the heroes that I have mentioned, but my taste has probably become more broadened over the years. I have went through a few phases of Indie and Brit Pop to even dance music and there is not really anything I wouldn’t give a listen too. These days though I am defiantly enjoying the different types and styles of Indie music around, not just from a supporting aspect but also because there is just so much talent out there!”
Are there any songs you wish you’d written yourself?
“Not as such, I am more into giving that songwriter and artist credit and praise, supporting them where I can and wishing them all the best and every success. Don’t get me wrong though just like any other songwriter you hope and dream that one of your own song creations will take off which is only natural. But right now I am just happy putting my own music out there within my own limitations and if someone Iikes it and takes away anything from it then that’s a bonus too!”
What’s one album you could listen to over and over from start to finish?
“I might not listen to this particular album as much as I used too, as like I mentioned I am more into the Indie scene these days but I would have to say ‘Hopes and Fears’ by Keane. The sound and lyrics defiantly resonated with me, so especially through certain periods in my past this album has been my go too.”
Can you give us a glimpse of your song writing process? What sparks your inspiration to write music?
“My inspiration can generally can come from anywhere. It might be down to the mood I am in or what’s on my mind at that particular time, to even in some cases putting my feelings for someone out there in song rather than blurt it out and get tangled up in my own words. I have even tried to explain a disagreement via a song too after getting exhausted with trying to explain but I don’t actually think it helped resolve anything though!”
“There have been a couple of times that I might have an idea, a few lines of lyric or melody and I have then gotten my guitar and built around that. But mainly my song writing process consists of just randomly playing the piano or strumming the guitar and then occasionally a particular pattern and melody will come from somewhere. For me the lyrics for my songs tend to be the last thing that I tidy and polish up, so until I do they can make little or no sense and can sound a bit gibberish too!”
Do you have a favourite time or place to write music?
“I would like to come out with something mysterious like it’s when I am in some sort of a relaxed state under the moon and stars or something like that, but most of the time it’s just been at my home when I have either a keyboard or most of the time my guitar to hand.”
“My favourite time I would say is normally quite late at night when I am pondering, thinking to myself which could be when I am particularly missing this other person that the song ends up being about after a late night out or when I have some sort of emotion built up about anything which I want to get off my chest!”
What are you hoping to achieve when you sit down and write a song?
“If I get the spur or inspiration to try and write a song, I guess I am hoping to achieve the fluency to complete it all the way through as in the chord progression and melody I’m singing even in a rough sort of way which I can then tidy up later. This has happened sometimes with some of the songs I wrote which have just flowed like that. Whilst others I might have a bit of an idea and strum which I have recorded into phone and then I have gone back and completed them at a later date. As with other songwriters there are some short recordings I have made that might not end of working but I still have a fair few of those to try and finish first before I can admit defeat on them yet!”
What excites you the most about making music?
“It would have to be listening to all the different musically elements slowly coming together as I record, to eventually hearing how everything sounds together as the end result. I normally make the base for my recordings by either singing along with my keyboard or guitar and then adding the other instrument parts to that but for some reason for me this can be the hardest part!”
“There have been many times which I am sure some other recording songwriters may relate too where I do not think I am ever going to finish recording a particular track! This could be for technical reasons which can happen or other times where I am recording take after take and just can’t seem to get it right. It`s like I play the song fine on my own but press play and put a mic in front of me and then everything goes seems to go to pot! I do however seem to get there in the end though which is not only a relief but also makes hearing the finished product that little bit more satisfying too!”
If you were an instrument, what would you be and why?
“It would have to be an acoustic guitar not just because it’s my favourite instrument, but it can also be like myself in some ways. I’ve been strung along and been told that I’m a good sound board for others. I can fret and get a little wound up at times but despite all of this, I haven’t went totally nuts just yet!”
What are your plans for the rest of the year?
“I will see how things are progressing but if everything goes well recording wise then I would like to complete my first album. Just less than half of the songs that would be on it are finished and just require re-mastering. So it’s then just a matter of completing the other tracks for the album from the rough recordings I have and adding the remaining instrument parts to them. It all sounds quite easy when I write this but I am sure it won’t be!”
“Another option could be to re-master a previous double single and EP I have which I intend to do anyway and then aim to put out my album next year instead. For my last EP I came across a really good sound engineer who helped with the mix/mastering which made things a lot easier and I was pleased with the result, so hopefully I get the chance to work with them again on my future projects too.”
What’s your favourite song from the Cool Top 20 and why?
“There are so many good songs to choose from but I would go for ‘Put Me Down As a Maybe‘ by the Skinner Brothers, I really dig the vocals and guitar sound of this track, defiantly a band to add to my list of those artists that I would like to see live!”
What song would you like to add as a bonus track and why?
“This is so hard as there are so much good music by Indie artists out there but if I have to choose I would go with ‘Back to Life‘ by Nathalie Miranda. I really like the back story to the song and apart from being such a big talent with a powerful voice. You can see how much of a great work ethic she has too, working tirelessly from performing to promoting her music and I believe that she deserves every success that comes her way!”
Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
“My music comes first especially right now whilst I still have some left in me, but I do aspire to hopefully write a book someday. I’ve written some short stories and three different poetry collections which I hope to put out there in time but nothing above the short story range yet.”
“I also had a go at narrating books a while back too before I got back into my music. I remember for probably the best title I done, I had to do different accents such as American which wasn’t so bad to English speaking Thai, Russian and Chinese women! Somehow I managed to get this audio book passed through and out there in the end but it took me what seemed to be a lifetime especially to do the editing, so if I ever went back to this I would definitely get someone to do the production part on my behalf next time!”