Taking A Walk with Striped McCoy
Welcome to the fourth edition of the IMF Artist Profile, a series dedicated to the Indie Music Feedback community. The goal of this series is to take a look at the personal lives of some of IMF’s biggest contributors, giving you a peek into who they are as human beings. We’ll pull back the curtain as far as our guests allow and hopefully we will all walk away with a better understanding of the music these individuals are creating as we learn more about them.
If you listen to enough of Striped McCoy’s latest track “Cold” without having any preconceived notion of what he looks like, you might start to envision something out of a sci-fi novel. A slow-moving creature covered in wires and cables, LEDs for eyes, and a static-filled digital screen for a mouth. As this hulking presence moves toward you, goosebumps prickle across your skin and your adrenaline spikes. Once it reaches you, a wave of comfort washes over. I would describe most of Striped McCoy’s music as this creature…This being of tension and sadness; slow-moving yet intently focused on itself as it grows in complexity.
With most of Striped McCoy’s music, there tends to be a calmness built into every track. His vocals are often warm and full of effects and the tracks tend to be somber yet fuzzy and comforting. As indistinguishable as those things may be to some, to me they are what make Striped McCoy so unique. Complicated songs, built on lyrics grounded in everyday adventures and the hardships we all face as emotional human beings.
Dan is a native of Telford, England; a massive rural town Northwest of Birmingham and one of the fastest-growing areas in all of the UK. As a 25-year-old University student, he will be starting his Bachelor’s in Sociology in September. In addition to producing his first full-length album, Dan also does a good bit of photography on the side. Specializing in portraits and surrealistic photos, he has also recently procured a new video camera to start making short films and music videos. In whatever spare time he manages to have left, Dan likes to go camping, play video games, write and enjoys the occasional DnD game with friends.
Now onto the questions:
Baaz: I think a lot of folks know by now, but your artist name originated from a random online generator and you’ve stuck with it. I personally think it turned out perfect, but have you ever considered a different artist name?
Striped: Acouple of times, yeah! I actually have a couple of SoundCloud accounts with names I’ve been sitting on in case I ever want to use them. I think Striped McCoy is here to stay though. Those are more for if I ever want to split up my genres. Leave the main stuff on my main page and all the ‘for fun’ tracks on the other, y’know? Gotta keep that brand uniformity in check.
Baaz: You play a lot of video games, like me and I’m certain quite a few other IMF contributors…Is there a video game that has influenced your music in a specific way? If so, what game?
Striped: I’m a huuuuuge fan of the Halo soundtracks, they have such epic scope and use of different instruments. The halo 3 soundtrack has definitely influenced me more than I probably realise. One of the newer soundtracks that have influenced me is probably either Apex legends use of synthesizers or Doom: Eternal’s crazy time signature usage. I’ve become pretty fond of a 6/8 time sig recently.
Baaz: Being in a rural setting must do wonders for your creativity. In some of our conversations, you have mentioned that you like to go on long walks each day. Do you draw inspiration from what you see and hear on your walks? Do you ever record samples in the field?
Striped: Yeah I can probably be out in the middle of nowhere in a 15-minute walk. I live right on the edge of town so the farmland isn’t that far from me. But there’s a lot of houses being built so it’s going to get crowded in the next few years if I’m still living here.
I find walks really useful for any creative blockage. I usually take a demo of whatever track I’m working on and listen to it while walking. Your mind picks up on different things while focusing on your walk. Even just listening to a playlist helps you refresh your palette for when you get back.
I haven’t recorded any samples yet! I really want to. I had a zoom recorder for that very reason and it broke on me within the week. I haven’t gotten around to buying another yet but I do plan on it, especially for when I travel to other countries.
Baaz: Bitter (from the album “It’s All A Mess, Really”) is a very difficult song. What I mean by that is…it crushes my throat and sets a rock in my stomach. With only a ukulele and your own vocals, you manage to create one of the more depressing songs on your entire album despite there being quite a few contenders for that spot. What stands out to me about it the most is the bright chords and the choice of using only a ukulele. You have a distinct way of creating something musically that is not reflective of your lyrics. Do you do that on purpose, and if so, is that based on the desire for a challenge or is there a deeper reason?
Striped: To me there’s always this thought when writing a sad song of “oh, yeah let me just throw a CGAmF progression over this and call it a day”. That was something I used to do a lot and I think it was one of the reasons I wasn’t liking some of the music I was making when I first started. Music exists, in contrast, most of the time, and having that contrast with the ukulele provides the listener with more meaning. At least I hope it does.
Bitter was the first track I wrote for the ukulele. I’m a big fan of making this contrast, I don’t like making the meaning to my songs super obvious all the time. I feel like being so cut and dry with your songs meaning limits who will listen to it, there are definitely themes that benefit from being so matter of fact, like “fuck tha police” by NWA probably wouldn’t be as big if they covered it in allegory, haha.
For my stuff giving some level of depth and allowing it to be interpreted through the ambiguity of the lyrics, or even the juxtaposition between instrumental and lyrics, lets listeners think more about the songs meaning in ways I didn’t even think of. Sort of like when you spot something in a movie you didn’t see until your fifth watch. A funny one that gets me is my song “Okay” which some people thought was about a break-up or relationship when it was about me and my friends just growing out of playing video games together…stuff like that I find super interesting. I do get where they were coming from though.
Baaz: I sense a lot of sadness in your music. Quite often, I feel that it is self-reflective. Do you find that to be true as well? If so, what draws you to this subject matter? Do you find it therapeutic?
Striped: It’s absolutely therapeutic. A lot of my songs are either about how I think or feel about a situation. Sometimes they’re about me, sometimes they’re about others. I’m pretty open about mental health with those that I know, I always advocate that others be just as open about it and I think music is a great tool for that. It’s a good way to let out anything that’s bugging you in an expressive way.
The reason I make this kind of music is, it’s just what I find works for me. I’d like to think I’m a happy person on the inside and out but I can’t write certain types of songs. What I do like to write about and ultimately what I want to show people through my music is that if someones having trouble expressing themselves, music is something they should look at. It may come out in an unexpected way as it does for me, but you might find that voice you feel you’re missing.