For those who don't know, Razor Red Noise, moniker of Alex McMillan is an newly-eighteen boy from Edinburgh which, since about 2 years, is practicing with Linkin Park and Chester covers and shines specially for his vocal gift, su much that many fans recognize him as one of the few youtube-guys around the web that can reach Chester's vocal extension.
Other than LP, DBS and other band covers, Alex did 2 album and 1 EP with original songs of his own that, in the style, we recognize as LP from the early Meteora period, without Hip-Hop influences and a - less heavy and more pop - marker on it.
So, introduction is done, now let's pass to the interview, kindly grant by Alex per Mail, what clarify many doubts about him, his music and the covers he had done:
About the covers
Q We know that you are 17 years old, right? Do you study? How can you combine the studies with making such a great music?
A I just turned 18 on the 7th, haha! Yeah I study, which makes it sometimes difficult to find the time for music. In the summer it was easy because I literally had so much free time that I could devote to music - that's when the majority of my second album was recorded.
Q Have you recorded your songs in your bedroom? Is expensive to have a personal recording studio?
A All my songs are done at home in my room. It can get expensive if you're really serious about doing it, but you don't need a whole lot to start out. I started with just a guitar and a Boss BR-600 8-track recorder, and it was fine for what I wanted to do.
Q Lots of people surely know your covers for Linkin Park songs, but do you like to be known for this fact or this is becoming to be too "reductive" for you as an artist?
A It's really good to get popularity from it since there are so many LP fans out there, but the constant comparison to Chester does kind of annoy me. It's okay to a degree but then you get tired of it.
Q Dead By Sunrise covers are awesome, really! “Too Late” (which you can hear on youtube) is excellent. Will you ever play “Walking In Circles” ?
A There's a good chance !!
Q We know that the guys from Julien-K heard and appreciated one of your cover-videos (Kick the bass). Do you know if someone from Linkin Park like Chester or Mike viewed your videos? Have you tryed to (or will you ever) get a contact with them submitting your videos, for example using MikeShinoda.com posts' comments or similar? Do you prefer to wait for them to notice you? Or you just don't care at all?
A I don't particularly mind; that Amir and DBS have seen Crawl Back In (available on youtube) (I contacted him through MySpace to link him) is really cool though. I've posted on Mike's blog before but no luck yet.
Q Now an indiscreet question: is there any LP song that you haven't successful remake, maybe for some difficulties in remaking the instrumental part or for the hardness of the vocals? (anyway, you've done very well New Divide, Given Up and Crawling that we personally think are very hard to cover)
A None come to mind but I know there have been some that were too difficult to do. I'm not a great guitarist, so I'm lucky in the sense that most LP guitar parts aren't too hard to play. There are exceptions like the verse part in Qwerty - I still can't make my fingers do it properly.
Q Some of your covers are made just by vocals, other have instrumentals totally remade by you: which songs did you find more exctiting to remake (and why) and which ones were more difficult? Why you haven't remake instrumentals parts for each cover? Just a matter of time?
A Pretty much a matter of time, yes. I'm doing a remake of Numb at the moment and I'm finding it really fun especially since there's so much depth to the song. Somewhere I Belong was one I was going to do for ages but I could never figure out Mike's guitar part, until I discovered it was in a different tuning.
Q A curiosity as a Linkin Park fan: do you prefer (to cover or just to hear) old-style LP songs or the new ones? (It's like asking if you like, as an artist, the change of style since Minutes to Midnight) and (artistically speaking) why ?
A I think if they did heavier songs with the maturity they have now, it would really be something special. I like what they're doing at the moment too but I think they strayed away from their tried-and-tested formula maybe a little too far. It's enjoyable for me as a listener to hear how they do so many different styles now, though (as on MTM).
About original works
Q The style of the first 2 albums (and the EP itself) is very uniform, so it seems that "Blood Winter" and "PiT" are two sides of the same LP (both GREAT sides, anyway); having such a uniform musical style is nice for a young artist like you. In the last video you done (The Stray, on youtube) we sensed some little changes in the overall feeling that your music communicates. Are you going to make something different for the next release or would you like to keep experimenting the same musical way of the past songs?
A That song was written with my friend from school so there was always going to be a difference in style to what I normally do. The song I've just put up called "Monday" (on youtube) is very indicative of what the next release is going to sound like. I want to have very 'big' songs but at the same time have a contrast with some softer material.
Q Are you going to search a Producer/Record Company after you've gained the legal age or do you just prefer to be free to experiment your music and art by yourself without being "directed" by a major company or marketing politics? We think that it will be a choice that will determinate if you are going to keep all of this as an hobby or transforming it to a profitable work, isn't it?
A It really depends - I'd be fine keeping it as a hobby. To take it to the next level would be great, I'd love that too. I guess we'll just have to wait and see what happens - I might send some demos around.
Q Personal question: most of your songs have some really emotional and some-way-sad lyrics, is there something personal in there, like something that really happened to you or some emotions that you've personally felt on your skin?
A Most of the lyrics are based around things I've gone through, adapted so that they're more general and more people can relate to them. Others are quite abstract in that they've not necessarily happened to me but I think they're common themes, and I enjoy writing about them because I do want to connect with people.
Q Your plans for any future Razor Red Noise relase? Itunes, Amazon, physical CD shipping or something else?
A For the next one I might try and have CDs sold on Amazon. I tried to do it for PiT but I was actually too late - the release date came and went and I'd been too slow to send them the artwork.
QAre you working on something else after ‘Perfection In Tragedy’? When can we listen some new stuff?
A Hopefully very soon. Christmas will give me a very good chance to work on lots of new material. At the moment I'm torn between releasing short EPs more frequently, and releasing big albums further apart. I'd expect something to be out by the spring next year.
Q How is Razor Red Noise doing about live shows? Are you planning some mini-tour in your country or just some random live shoots?
A I'd love to do live shows but at the moment I don't really have the musicians to do it. If I were ever to play live it probably wouldn't be under the name Razor Red Noise. It'd be with a different band.
Q Do you have a live band to support you (if and) after you break up with Roses for the Saints?
A Unfortunately not. Some people had expressed interest in helping me out to play live but they've all since moved apart because of studies!
Thanks again for you disposability, the whole Linkin Park Italy staff wishes you a shiny career and to have fun in doing whatever you like.
Interview prepared by the whole staff, directed by lparcshinoda and conceived by KloserInside.