Summer Highlights With Song River
Focusing in on the newest member of the band Farewell, My Love was very such a pleasure. The band, Farewell, My Love, has been steadily rising and gaining momentum quickly amongst the rock fans and music industry insiders. For anyone to come into the band at this time with perfect unison and the honor of having Chris Biersack do the connecting makes London undoubtedly quite special. Once you actually hear him play though, the realization that he commands complete control of his guitar as he and his instrument breathe in unison astounds everyone. London exquisitely produces a signature style and sound all his own.
London McKuffey took a bit of time out of his busy schedule to chat with me about his connections with FML, the appreciation, and respect he has not only for his fellow bandmates but for so many of the rock music industries talents. Truly London’s enthusiasm for what he does, who he is involved with and surrounds himself with daily rubs off on anyone he comes into contact with.
Song River: Thank you for taking time out of your hectic schedule to chat with me today London. You have really just come on board with Farewell, My Love (2015) how did your connection come about?
London McKuffey: Thank you so much for having me, it’s my pleasure! I actually have Chris Biersack to thank for putting us in contact. He was a friend of the band and knew of me and my playing through my YouTube channel and covers, and put in a good word for me. I went through an auditioning process and ultimately joined. I’d received offers from bands before and even tried to contact a few bands I knew needed a guitar player, but looking back to the early audition process, I remember hearing early renditions of what would ultimately become the future of “Farewell” and knowing this is where I belonged. I love the people I work with as musicians but also as individuals, and just as was the case over a year ago, I’m excited for where we are heading.
SR: Digging back through some of your guitar work, impressive by the way, your style really contains more of a metal conformation. How do you fit into the seemingly more passive theatrical style of breakdowns, riffs, speed in FML?
McKuffey: My earliest influences were very straight forward rock and roll bands, but as years progressed metal became more and more prominent in my musical interests, and that enthusiasm peaked at the point in time when I was doing up to six covers a week. So the videos on my channel are predominantly metal. Adjusting my playing style to fit my own straightforward rock band was seamless, natural, and gradual over the span of time I’ve been in Farewell, My Love.
Reverting back to my roots was a refreshing transition that feels like home and where I can personally express myself to the fullest.
SR: Who have been some of the guitar greats you have identified with along the way London?
McKuffey: Slash was the first guitar player I resonated with on such a deep level, and he continues to be my number one influence to this day as a musician. Some of the other influences I’ve drawn tremendous inspiration from have been Dimebag Darrell, Buckethead, Mike Ness, Jacky Vincent, and Jake Pitts.
SR: When that need for hearing and feeling the power of lead guitar overtakes you where do you go to play? Some musicians lock themselves away in their own studios, some escape to another location. Where do you go London?
McKuffey: I’m fortunate to live within footsteps of the band’s rehearsal space, so when I have the urge to practice, my full stage setup is right there waiting for me!
SR: Farewell, My Love embraces the theatrical side of rock. If you were to categorize the elements that present themselves as theatrical rock what are the must haves?
McKuffey: The best way I can describe it from a musical standpoint is if Tim Burton decided to start a band and write an album. A Little Piece Of Heaven by Avenged Sevenfold and a lot of The Used’s catalog is a perfect example. Orchestral elements, bells, drastic dynamic changes, different grooves, and vibes all contained in one song. Very much like the soundtrack to a rock and roll Broadway show.
SR: The band’s new song/video “Crazy” was released. Talk a bit about the lyrical content.
McKuffey: Lyrically it’s a song about not being comfortable in your own skin and learning to accept flaws and persevere, growing stronger through them.
SR: How about its production? Where was the location and who did the video work?
McKuffey: The video was directed by Jordan Moore at California Institute of Abnormalarts in North Hollywood, California in May 2015
SR: Is the video supposed to connect a storyline with the song or is it open for interpretation on connection?
McKuffey: The character of Mr. Scarlett takes all the band members hostage and forces us into a series of dreadful situations, facing our worst fears. He’s crazy! There are an infinite number of metaphorical ways that can be applied, and I’ll leave that up to the viewers interpretation.
SR: The video single has showcased itself in Revolver magazine, that must feel pretty good.
McKuffey: It’s amazing, I remember reading Revolver going back to early 2011. The latest issue was always a permanent resident in my backpack all throughout high school. So it’s an honor and full circle moment to premiere my first music video I’ve ever done through their website.
SR: Wrapped Up In Pinstripes album was back in 2014, correct? When is the next full-length album, and what can fans of FML expect sound wise?
McKuffey: Summertime, that’s all I’m going to say! This isn’t a record that’s about subgenres. It’s rock to the fullest with great hooks and sonic diversity accessible to any audience.
SR: CRCL Records was established February 2016? Is this FML’s own independent label or? If it is FML’s are you all planning on signing and working with other emerging bands?
McKuffey: It is our own independent label, yes. Ultimately that’s an avenue we would love to explore, but at this point so much focus and energy are being put into the growth of Farewell, My Love, the notion of signing other bands is on the back burner at least for the immediate future.
SR: The city of rock n roll seems like it is ready once again to break forth and show the music industry just what happens here is a force of rock to be recognized. How do you all feel about being a huge part of this reawakening of what this area has to offer the music community globally?
McKuffey: It’s an honor, and I want to show the entire world what this band and scene has to offer. What this band is capable of is limitless, and many of the bands in the area I’ve seen are capable of that as well.
SR: Touring and support for this year through 2017 plans?
McKuffey: We are constantly working on a lot behind the scenes for fall 2016 and spring 2017, with potential plans to go abroad.
SR: London, finally give your fans a bit of your background. As your interview is a part of a special feature called: Summer Highlights (about today’s young and independent musicians and bands).
McKuffey: I moved around a lot growing up and music and my family were the only sustained contact I had. There was nothing else I could depend on. When I started digging into Guns N’ Roses, in particular, it not only filled an emotional void but flipped a switch in my head that made me say “That’s what I want to do.”
Nothing compares to the high of connecting to the instrument, and nothing took my mind off the very low points I was going through like expressing myself in music. Guitar took over every aspect of my life and I built a YouTube channel doing covers of my favorite bands, and through Chris Biersack came in contact with Farewell, My Love.
London McKuffey Fun Facts!
Favorite Music to Jam with?
McKuffey: I play to random backing tracks on YouTube every single day and practice improvisation. Nothing compares to the excitement I feel when what I hear in my head is immediately and fluidly transferred to the fretboard.
McKuffey: Literally anything with a good guitar part, groove, or that makes me feel something on an emotional level.
Clothing brands or shopping outlet?
McKuffey: eBay, you can get anything!
Weekend warrior or find a place to perform?
McKuffey: I live to play live. If I’m not performing, I’m a total homebody.
Favorite quiet space to work on writing and practicing?
McKuffey: My room in my house in Virginia, with all the posters I have of the musicians who shaped and inspire me on the wall.
Guitar brand favorites?
McKuffey: Gibson for sure!
McKuffey: Ernie Ball Slinky 52-10 in Standard Tuning.
How often do you practice?
McKuffey: Every single day, for one-four hours.
How many guitars do you own?
McKuffey: Seven total, one nylon string classical, one acoustic, and five electrics total.
You seem to dig hats, what brought that about, and any particular favorites?
McKuffey: Social Distortion is one of my favorite bands, and their skeleton logo has a cool hat, so I wanted one similar to it as well, almost as a way to pay homage to my influences. I liked the way it looked, so that’s my favorite one I have.
Fans love to connect with artists, what is the best way for your fans to reach out to you London?
McKuffey: Twitter and Instagram, those are my two favorite and most used social media platforms.
Finally, DC or Marvel and which character to you epitomize or just are a huge fan of yourself? (Any specific collections you’ve garnered from a particular comic book hero?)
McKuffey: The Crow is my favorite comic book character of all time, but as far as Marvel and DC are concerned, Batman is my favorite. He looks the coolest and the story-lines are the darkest. I also love Batman because everything is believable and realistic.
Writer: Song River
All Photo Credit: Elizabeth Creasey