Catching Up With Bill MacKay

Locust Land, is Bill MacKay’s first album since 2019. It’s a mix of folky vocal melodies and transcendent instrumental reveries, intricate in execution but sublimely easy to listen to. We caught up to talk about MacKay’s life in guitar; the way that structured, sung songs and open-ended improvisations can say the same things in different ways, and how he hopes his music will land with people. 

BCMC :: Foreign Smokes

Bill MacKay and Cooper Crain run in the same Chicago circles, MacKay tilting, maybe, a little further towards folk and blues and Crain of Bitchin Bajas and Cave leaning harder into krautish experimental drone. There’s certainly plenty of common ground, however, judging from this four-track collaboration, as both work to find magic in still, pooling reservoirs of sound that do not move so much as they glisten in unearthly light.

Bill MacKay :: Movie House/Sala de Cine

When improvisor Bill MacKay spoke with Aquarium Drunkard before, he evoked the dim of the movie house in his work. “Cinema’s always been important, and music that has that cinematic edge to it especially interests me. I think a lot of the things that have hit me really heavily have some of those filmlike qualities to them.” Now American Dreams Records releases Movie House | Sala de Cine, a book of poems from Bill MacKay. The noted Chicago musician wrote in English and then translated each to Spanish, with editorial assistance from Luis Jorge Boone. Today, AD presents “Oddly colored sunsets.”

Bill MacKay: The Aquarium Drunkard Interview

Chicago guitarist Bill MacKay returns with another winningly eclectic solo LP for Drag City. Fountain Fire sneaks up on you; its songs are unassuming at first, with a loose, conversational feel to them. Ahead of the album’s release, MacKay joined Aquarium Drunkard to discuss his shifting approaches, cinematic inspirations, and establishing his own musical language.