The multifaceted Lincoln MacKinnon and his band The Wrecking Train are no stranger to the music scene, celebrating the launch of his album Sparks Will Fly with a national tour and a music video filmed in The Fremantle Prison, which he directed himself whilst writing an album and working in the film industry. ANNIE MUNROE investigates. 

Congratulations on your latest release and the successful album launch for Sparks Will Fly. Can you tell us about the album?

It was essentially written when I was living in a place called Tennant Creek, which is five hours out of Alice Springs. I was living in a remote community actually doing documentaries and film making, so I wrote most of the songs out there, which was just before I moved to Fremantle. It’s a bit of a reflection of my time in Tennant Creek, but also my time back in Melbourne. It’s a bit of an eclectic mix of songs, really.

So you’re not from Perth?

Not originally, no. I’ve lived here for three years now but I’m from a place in Victoria called Ocean Grove, then I moved to Freo. That’s why I was so overwhelmed (at the album launch at Mojos Bar last Friday), because of the support. I’ve been pretty lucky. I moved here, found myself a great band and put together this album. The community is really getting behind it, so I’ve been pretty stoked.

I was at your Album Launch and I would have thought based on the reaction that you were a Fremantle local…

Nah, nope just a few years. My drummer is actually someone I met in Tennant Creek and he came out here with me. It’s just the bassist and the guitarist that are from WA but I’m not leaving. I’m sticking around. Freo’s my home.

Nice, it’s definitely a good place to call home. Musically, it feels like you’re doing something a little different to what’s going on in Perth at the minute. Is it a challenge to have something that’s a bit different?

I don’t know about a challenge. I didn’t consciously set out to do anything different. I sort of just do what I do. When you get new musicians around you, they craft that. There are a few bands around that are doing similar stuff to what we’re doing. There are elements that we cross over with Kill Devil Hills and The Southern River Band and different bands like that. But (in that sense) our music is definitely taking it back to rock music. It’s a bit of a pub rock mix (with) alt-country blues. It was kind of what I was doing when I was living in Melbourne which is now 7 or 8 years ago, and I just kept going with that kind of style. I wouldn’t say our songs are simplistic thematically, but our music is very simplistic in a sense. That raw and honest (approach).

At your album launch, you had Nika Mo, The Tender Hearts and Marmalade Mama supporting. Was there an intention behind your line up choice?

Well, originally we actually had The Wilds playing with us (with) Dan Howls as well, but then we had to do a complete backflip of the line up because Dan Howls was launching his single (the night after) and obviously, you can’t do two shows in a row at Mojos. But Marmalade Mama are such wonderful guys. I actually met them before I heard their music, and I think they’re wonderful people, which is a big deal for me. I like playing with people I like. I’ve been listening to their music and I really like their more upbeat, at times sort of stoner rock (and) I’ve been good friends with Andy (from The Tender Hearts) and big fans of (what The Tender Hearts do). Greg Kitzrock is an amazing guitarist and obviously, Nika Mo is gorgeous. I think the common thread for all those bands is that raw simplicity. When I say simple, I don’t mean that it’s boring or anything like that. I just mean that it’s raw, honest, stripped back kind of music. The nuts and bolts of crafty songwriting.

You’re just about to set off on a National tour, for Sparks Will Fly. Who will be supporting you over east? What do you think those shows will be like?

Our first show is in Melbourne and is going to be really cool actually. We’re playing at The Gasometer Hotel upstairs. We’re playing with a band called Unbroken Expanse. I actually know those guys from my time in Tennant Creek. They’re this fiery rock band and they’ve relocated to Melbourne to play music there. I just thought you know what (a good opportunity for) a bunch of desert rockers coming back together. Their bass player used to play bass with me in Tennant Creek so that’s going to be awesome. Then we’re off to Cronulla which we’re pretty stoked for. We’re supporting Tex Perkins which will be great. We’re doing more of an intimate, stripped back show. It’s more of a sit-down kind of crowd. That one sold out within days, so we’re pretty stoked to be playing with Tex Perkins. Then we’re off to Frankie’s Pizza in Sydney which is an awesome, awesome venue. When you say Frankie’s Pizza, you just think it’s this small venue but it’s not. It’s huge, and it’s packed all the time. We’re playing with this really cool band (in Maitland) called Magpie Diaries as well.

I wanted to ask a little about your star-studded music video for I’m Bled, which was hosted in the Fremantle Prison and features a host of local luminaries acting from Peter Bibby to members of Kill Devil Hills and Salary. It’s such an amazing concept. What was your thought process behind that?

I knew I wanted to do a video clip for that song. I think it’s probably all the guys’ favourite track from the album. I got a message from my dad actually, and he said we should look at doing something in the Fremantle Prison in our next video. Instantly, as soon as he said that, I just thought that was perfect. I wanted to show couples in the prison, going about their daily lives to obviously create the strong metaphor of people constructing their own prison. It’s not just couples as well. We all do it, don’t we? We all pay bills. Most people have jobs. We all create routines, so I thought I’d love to show couples in all of the cells doing domestic chores and activities, but completely singing the lyrics blank-faced. I decided to get a lot of other musicians from Freo that I loved involved as well.

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