"My name is James Mackay and I am a 21-year-old composer, improvisor and collaborator working primarily on electric guitar. I first picked up a guitar when I was 7 years old and have never put them down since. I have dabbled in percussion and electronics, and frequently will combine my guitar tone with various effects pedals to search for interesting sounds. I love listening to a huge variety of musical styles such as: jazz, hip-hop, drum and bass, rock, blues, metal, Scottish trad, folk, Baroque, 20th Century classical, noise, ambient, any combination of these and various others. I have extensive experience within a jazz context and have begun to explore more extreme styles of music such as free improvising recently. I have always loved composing and have also spent time writing for a jazz trio. Outside of music I have a deep love for cinema, literature, exploring landscapes and cooking. I try to embody my human experiences of these things with my sonic capabilities to create experiences for others to become immersed in. I am always trying to get better at my instrument, as well as exploring for new sounds and feelings in any context I can connect with emotionally."
"I applied for this position within anam firstly because it seemed too good to be true! I have heard of very few opportunities like this one where payments are scheduled and funded prior to the work commencing. After reading into the project a bit more, I realised it was the perfect kind of work for the point in my musical journey I was at; genre-less, collaborative and forward-thinking."
"I feel that this project has acted as a catalyst for pushing all of my skills in new directions. Where before I was able to listen to a band and lock in with their playing, I have now been pushed to observe a wide variety of multi-media work and use my creative intuition to make work with sensitivity with other peoples’ vision. I have also been able to explore more stylistically ambiguous sonic creation, in the form of raw response to either individual prompts or directly to other pieces of work. In particular, the experience of working with non-musicians has helped me to understand both my own and the wider artistic creative process of my peers in this group."
"I think anam has served as a wonderful platform for cross-media exploration within collaboration. Not only for the benefit of the artists, I think it has an extremely valuable purpose for creating experimental art that speaks to people through the process rather than through desire and result of specific goals. I would love to see anam undergoing different projects of a similar nature whereby artists can be connected with other talented creatives and learn new skills, and the audience can be connected to the experience of a holistic and far-reaching creative process. Especially as covid subsides, I would love to see the collaborative relationship between artists be extended to the audience so that everyone and anyone can be shaped by the experience."