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Track By Track: Mcrobin Walks Us Through His Sincere Sophomore EP


After releasing his heartfelt single Concrete Feet back in August, we’ve been eagerly anticipating new music from Melbourne’s folky singer-songwriter prodigy James McGuffie, a.k.a Mcrobin. Now releasing his sophomore EP he’s gone on to blow our expectations out of the park, showcasing an entirely new sound beyond his solo recording past. Making the artistic change to collaborate with a full band, Mcrobin’s latest release is proving to be his most daring release yet.

With that in mind, we managed to get the man himself James McGuffie to talk us through his latest EP ‘Shallow Driver’ track-by-track. Topped off with imagery from their recording and writing sessions, you can read and listen to the collection of songs below!


words by James McGuffie

Track 1: Shallow Diver

This was the first song I started writing for the new EP late last year. The phrase “Shallow Diver” came out while I was mumbling my way through a potential melody for the song. I subconsciously started to build the song around the idea of not letting yourself experience the full depth of your emotions, only just breaking the surface. It was always going to be the first song of the record because it represented the moment of self-discovery that the rest of the songs grew out of.


Track 2: Concrete Feet

Concrete Feet came about as a result of an accidental guitar tuning. One day I picked up my Epiphone and the first thing that I played was this really simple hook. I’ve never started a song with a guitar hook, but once I came up with the part I just went with it. It’s a much more upbeat and guitar driven song than anything else I’ve released.

I owe a lot of that to the boys in the band and what they brought to the song. One of the reasons I decided to go into a studio for this record, as opposed to doing another bedroom job, was to get a killer drum sound. I stoked with the sound Jim got from his kit and between his ridiculously tight playing and his invented percussion parts, he really helped bring this song to life!


Track 3: Periphery

After months of trying countless different versions of this song with the band, I eventually realised that it had to be a solo ballad. Lyrically, the song is the most naked and direct that I’ve ever written and I think I was trying to cover that up, or at least dilute it in a wall of sound with the band. It took me a while to be ok with leaving the vulnerability untouched and unaffected, but it would have been dishonest to have done it any other way.


Track 4: Fine Lie

There was a point about two weeks into writing Concrete Feet that I was about to scrap the whole thing. I was in a rut and was banging my head against the wall trying to figure out how to put all of the pieces together. I also hadn’t played another guitar since starting the song, so when I finally picked up my acoustic for the first time in weeks, it sounded refreshing.

I almost wrote the entire guitar part and vocal melody in one run on the spot right there and then. It’s a song about anxiety and jealousy and I reckon it had been trying to burst out while I was slogging away at Concrete Feet. I’ve never had a whole song come in one wave like that, but it’s led me to belief the idea that some songs already exist and you just have be at the right place at the right time to claim them.


Track 5: Steal My Only

Steal My Only is a song about surrendering, accepting that nothing last forever and therefore trying to make the most of what you have when you have it. I actually had two songs on the go and when I brought them to the band we eventually morphed them into one. I seem to write a lot of songs with really contrasting sections.

It doesn’t always work, but it felt right for this one…resolving the urgency of the first half of the song with patience in the second half. Joe (guitarist) and I fell in love with this amazing old delay unit called a Roland RE-201. We took it in turns messing with Joe’s guitar sound by playing around the unit and had some incredible accidental moments of magic, most of which we left in the final mixes.

Mcrobin Live Dates

Bright Brewery, Bright VIC
Gods Kitchen, Mornington, VIC
Edinburgh Gardens Community Room, Fitzroy VIC (Shallow Diver EP Launch)
The Grovedale, Grovedale VIC
Front Beach Cafe, Torquay VIC
The Gasometer Hotel, Collingwood VIC
Basil’s Farm, Queenscliff VIC
Front Beach Cafe, Torquay VIC,

Get Tickets HERE