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Persistence pays off for Bill

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Bill McClure understands that metal isn’t everyone’s thing but he’s proud of Persistence, the album he released last month.

Aside from anything else it sets an example for his children, Sophie, 10 and Zack, 6.

“I wanted to show them you can set a big goal that you might not have thought possible before and, by working hard and being persistent, you can achieve those goals. And that’s where the title of the album came from.”

He wrote, recorded and mixed the album himself, after a long absence from the music scene.

Mr McClure was 15 the first time he picked up a guitar. The following year he joined Livid, a band comprised mainly of fellow students from Warwick Academy.

“It got to the point where we were playing at Frog and Onion; we were playing in the Oasis rock room opening for the Kennel Boys back when they played there as well,” he said.

He then went off to university where he also joined a band but eventually, “music kind of fell aside”.

“After my wife and I started having kids, priorities changed,” said Mr McClure, a full-time accountant. “It’s challenging to find time in the day for things.

“So throughout the past 10, 15 years it’s been up and down with music; there’s been times when I’ve barely played for a year. But with the extra time we had with Covid – there were way fewer kids’ activities happening and nothing really happening in the evenings or anything – I got back into it. I started playing with a couple of other really good musicians towards the end of last year. We were practising covers of classic rock, classic metal songs and that was going really well.”

In his heart however he really wanted to make music of his own. He left the group and joined an online music writing challenge started by Ola Englund, a famous Swedish metal guitarist from a band called The Haunted.

“[He] would post a drum track online and then anybody around the world could download the drum track, write their own guitar and bass riffs and record it on top and then put it on YouTube.”

The celebrity artist would then pick a few videos each week and profile them on his show, Sunday with Ola.

“I think I did it for about ten weeks in a row,” Mr McClure said. “I never got picked but that was OK. What I realised is, I have a lot of ideas and rather than spend my time doing these one-minute clips I should really just do an album. I thought it would be much more fulfilling and something that I could achieve.”

It so happened that he was reading Alden Mills’ bestselling book, Be Unstoppable, to his children at the time.

“It is all about setting big goals and working hard to achieve them and ways that you can stay on the right track,” Mr McClure said. “I was trying to do that in real life rather than just [read about it] in a book to help the kids relate to it and hopefully inspire them in the future to take on things that they might be scared to do or might think they’re not able to do. I wanted them to understand that if you put in the time and effort you can achieve those things.”

That the title, Persistence, was also the name of a boat owned by a character in the book, underscored the point.

Mr McClure “wrote and recorded and produced” the album in five months. He did it all from a production studio he created in the corner of his bedroom.

“I started around March and then it got released August 4. I have two kids and a full-time job so I had to fit this in either early in the morning or late in the evening but it’s something I really wanted to do so I tried to be consistent with that. I ended up getting it done a lot faster than I anticipated, which was good.

“I did this all myself. The music production side of it, the mixing, I had never really done that before. Whenever I recorded stuff in the past I just recorded it and thought yeah, that’s good enough. It turns out mixing is a whole art form in itself.”

To get up to scratch he took an online course which “really opened up my eyes to mixing and messing, not just with levels but with the frequency spectrum and trying to make instruments stand out on their own and be audible and have different characteristics”.

Having really enjoyed the process his intent is to keep making shorter EPs and improve his mixing skills along the way.

The response to Persistence has been “interesting”.

“I’ve shared it with family members and I play in the ball hockey league so I sent it out to them as well. It’s interesting because it’s metal music – it’s kind of aggressive metal music so it’s not going to be everybody’s cup of tea.

“I like all kinds of music. I really enjoy jazz and blues and softer rock stuff, harder rock stuff but I think metal is really where my heart is and it’s really what I’ve grown up listening to and playing. So for people who enjoy that type of thing it’s been cool. I think the response has been positive … but who knows?”

Mr McClure decided to share his accomplishment with The Royal Gazette to show that there are people here making “this kind of music”.

“I did it because people might not realise that this type of music is being made in Bermuda where it’s primarily reggae and soca, but also it’s kind of the same story that I’m making for the kids – it’s showing other people that if you really want something you can work hard and achieve it.”

His next project is a single, a song that Mr McClure recorded last year and which his wife Jessica is pleased “is not metal”.

“I do other things,” he laughed. “My intention is not to only put out metal music. I enjoy playing various genres and so this is more of a smooth jazz kind of song that my wife really enjoys.

“She really wishes I that would play country music but I really have an aversion to the twang in the vocals in country music so I don’t think I’m going to go down that road. But we both enjoy a smooth jazz kind of vibe. Smooth Jazz 24/7 is one of our favourite radio stations so my intention is to do an EP in that genre as well because that’s quite fun to play.”

Look for Bill McClure’s Persistence EP on YouTube, Spotify, Apple Music and other music platforms here: https://bit.ly/3mTE8bN

Bill McClure released his first album last month, Persistence (Photograph supplied)
Bill McClure practices in his home music studio (Photograph supplied)
The cover of Bill McClure’s album Persistence, was handpainted by his Canadian grandmother Margaret McClure during the pandemic (Photograph supplied)

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Published September 03, 2021 at 8:00 am (Updated September 03, 2021 at 8:50 am)

Persistence pays off for Bill

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