THE MACS – Craig Mac Donald (born 16 December 1985) and Brian Mac Donald (born 28 November 1986) were born and raised in Ayrshire, Scotland. They started their musical journey when they were very young. The lads were off to music classes for the traditional Scottish instruments of accordion and fiddle at the early ages of 5 and 6. As a result of skillful practice on their instruments, both of them won a clutch of awards and on their way to becoming musical virtuosos playing violin, accordion, guitar, mouth organ and piano between them.
It wasn’t until the age of 15 when Craig discovered his new passion of singing and entered the school talent shows impersonating his idol Freddie Mercury. Craig and Brian formed their own duo “The MacDonald Bros” and began performing all over Scotland at parties, weddings and ceilidhs, crafting their unique blend of vocals and musicianship. Their claim to fame and highlight at that stage was performing for movie star Hugh Grant!
After many years of non-stop performances, it wasn’t until in 2006 when they received their lucky break………
“The Scott pop duo of Craig and Brian MacDonald has taken the Scottish music scene by storm, since they burst into the public eye in 2006 as finalists in Simon Cowell’s hit television show, The X Factor UK (Series 3).” Throughout the show, the boys were mentored and coached by Louis Walsh and stayed in the show for 8 weeks and landed 4th place. Leona Lewis was declared grand winner during that season.
As a result of hard work, the MacDonald Bros achieved spectacular success, with their debut album The MacDonald Brothers (released April 2, 2007), produced by former Bay City Roller, Stuart “Woody” Wood rocketing into the UK charts at #18 securing their first top 20 album. In fact, their debut recording made pop history as the first album on a Scottish Independent record label to land at number one on the Scottish album charts. Their debut album consisted mainly of covers including “Real Gone Kid“, “Shang-A-Lang“, “When You Say Nothing At All” and “Bye Bye Baby“.
The pace never stopped for the MacDonald Bros, having released 5 albums in the UK under Scottish independent record label “The Music Kitchen” and an album in Australia. Add to this four headlining tours of Scotland and a pair of UK tours in support of Irish superstars Westlife contributed to an incredible few years. To make their lives even more surreal, The MacDonald Bros have had the opportunity to record a previously unreleased song “Runaway (Do You Love Me)” written by their childhood hero, Sir Elton John that featured on their second album “The World Outside” (released October 15, 2007).
Now known as The Macs, the duo recently visited the Philippines to promote their latest studio album, Strumming To Your Beat, released under new management and record label, Evo Sound.
Orange Magazine TV had the opportunity to meet the boys while on break from their busy mall tour schedules. Doing our interview with The Macs at a Filipino restaurant in Greenbelt, Makati City, where the boys gamely tried some Filipino cuisines Crispy Pata and Pork BBQ. The two is not that adventurous with regards to food. Craig doesn’t eat sea foods and any thing with nuts.
Here’s Orange Magazine TV’s EXCLUSIVE interview with The Macs:
How’s your experience so far in the Philippines? What’s your schedule here?
We have had a great time in the Philippines so far. Everyone is so friendly and approachable. The response from the Pilipino people at our performances has been great. We have had a very busy schedule so far mainly consisting of TV appearances, radio interviews and an SM shopping mall tour where we have been performing songs from our new album.
How do you classify your music? What genre?
We would class our music as: Pop/Celtic
What lessons have you learned with your X Factor experience? Any word Simon Cowell that you applied to your career?
We have learned so much from the X Factor: Including e your nerves before performances. Words of advice….He did say that to be successful in the music business you have to have “thick skin” and be able knock off any negative criticism without dwelling on it etc.
Who are your musical idols and dream collaborations?
Our musical idols are Freddie Mercury (Queen) and sir Elton John. We would love to perform with Queen someday and still hoping to perform with sir Elton John. He gave us a song for our second album in UK. We have performed for a few years as Westlife’s support act. Would love to perform with them if they ever reunite again.
Do you plan to do solo projects as well? What will be a dream solo project or you?
Not really interested in solo projects. We have created what we think is a unique sound with our blend of harmonies as we sing. We are very much a singing unit and are not really inspired by solo projects……at the moment.
How do you handle the comparison and support each other?
We handle criticism really well realise that musical taste is so varied and that not everyone is going to like what an artist does. We support each other by just being there. Negative criticism is something that we don’t really dwell on, however we do listen to criticism as it can keep you working hard.
Do you have weirdest gift you received from your fans? How do you handle fans?
None at all :)… We have had a few occasions where we have received women’s underwear… It’s not something we’d ever consider wearing :) We always try to see and spend time with our fans as much as possible like after gigs where we will stand and take photos and them etc. It’s important as they are the ones buying our music and which we really appreciate so its the least we can do…plus we really enjoy it!
Any plans of trying musical theaters or movies? What’s your ideal role?
Musical theatre is a genre of music think we could ever do. We really do enjoy going to shows but we aren’t great actors and don’t feel comfortable trying to do that sort of thing…however never say never! As far as movies are concerned I think they could be a lot of fun. Our ideal roles are probably taken…think we would have been good in “The Hobbit.” We aren’t the tallest guys in the world so we would probably fit in quite well. I think it would be fun to dress up in a movie like the Hobbit where you become unrecognizable!
Almost everyone goes sexy to promote music, do you see yourself leading the same path? Do you think showing skin is necessary for you to make it big?
We don’t think it’s entirely necessary to go down that path. We have done that sort of stuff in the past like photo shoots with tops off and fashion shoots but our motto is that the music comes first.
Nowadays a lot of the modern artists focus so much on image, which we feel can take the attention off what’s most important – the music. Looking good is a major factor in todays music scene but we’d like to think we will always put our sound first and image second.
How often do you go online? Do you still have time to read/respond to online write ups/features/reviews?
We try to get online as much as possible. Even when travelling so much it’s good to keep up to date on Facebook and twitter etc, so wherever we can get a connection, we try to get online!
Did you ever tried to Google yourself? When did you realized people are starting to notice you?
We used to google ourselves a lot in the x-factor days. There was always so much stuff going around in the newspapers etc and checking google was the best way to find out what people were saying about us. Definitely our first appearance on the X Factor started people talking.
Tell us something about your new album and single.
The new album is in our opinion the best one we have ever recorded. Over the last 6 years we have released 4 albums under our previous name in the UK. These past albums we feel have given us the recording experience to make this album “Strumming to your Beat.” Also the production level of this album has really been cranked up a few notches. We recorded it in the USA, in Nashville, Tennessee and everything from the producer to the recording studio, to the amazing standard of the musicians out there made it a very different and new sound for us. It’s by far the most proud we have ever been on an album.
Do you have a favorite Christmas song?
A Spaceman Came Travelling (by Chris De Burgh) it’s a beautiful song but perhaps not so well known as other songs. Merry Christmas Everyone (by Shakin’ Stevens) is a close second!
If you can do it again, will you audition to X Factor? Would you like to try The X Factor from a different country?
I think we would do it all. The X Factor was a very nervous experience for us and we feel looking back that we could have performed better and enjoyed it more. However without that initial platform and massive exposure you get from a show such as the X Factor it would have been hard for us to get our first record deal, which probably means we wouldn’t be where we are now.
Lastly, are you guys single? What’s your ideal girl?
We are both single at the moment. We find the constant travelling around the world makes it impossible to maintain a long relationship!
Here’s some video we took where The Macs talked about their experience at the Philippines and promoting their new album. Strumming To Your Beat: