Get To Know: Dubby Mac
Multi-instrumentalist, singer, and rapper Will McGing (AKA Dubby Mac) is making all sorts of moves this year. In addition to working on his upcoming debut album called Don't Quit You Daydream, Dubby Mac has joined forces with The Orwells frontman Mario Cuomo to form Nympho Maniax. Together, the duo fused their love of rap and hiphop with a touch of their punk rock roots into their mixtape, called Sex Tape, which they dropped on May 15th. Next up on the agenda? Besides an upcoming music video for the lead single from Sex Tape, called "Bad Things" Dubby Mac has just released his first single from Don't Quit Your Daydream. Get to know Dubby Mac in this candid (and at times, NSFW) interview. We chat everything from life philosophy, rebelling in high school, day jobs, iCloud risks, and more.
Music Kept Him Out of Trouble As A Kid
When talking about how his love of music first started, Dubby goes all the way back to his childhood days, saying, "When I was a little kid I would always hear songs in my head. Rock songs that I was making up." He continues, "My mom wanted me to play piano, but I wanted to skateboard and stuff and I ended up quitting [piano lessons]."
Although he quit piano, that wasn't the end of learning to play music for Dubby Mac. "My buddy Jacob had a guitar, my buddy Trevor had drums, and they were like you should play bass," he says. Eventually, Dubby received a bass for Christmas on the condition that he join the school orchestra. Although he obliged, he definitely struggled to stay on a straight path with music in school. "I was in orchestra in middle school. I had to go before school, and I hated it so I just didn't go. I used to smoke a lot of weed in middle school. I end getting caught and I got in trouble," Dubby says. He eventually buckled down when the school contacted his parents to let him know he was at risk of losing his scholarship to a summer music camp. Dubby credits the music camp and the opportunity to play bass for a school musical with saving him. "Music saved me...it literally did.. I still partied like a motherfucker, but I had some reason not to like run away and start robbing people's houses."
He Quit His Day Job To Pursue His Day Dream
We all know the phrase that gets muttered way too often to aspiring artists and musicians: "Don't quit your day job!" For Dubby Mac, he had to do just that in order to focus on his musical aspirations. Beginning his narrative of his struggle to work a steady job along side pursuing music, Dubby goes back to his post-college job search, saying, "I went to school in Boston and I graduated. I was like, I have to pay all these loans.... So I’m looking for jobs and I’m like trying to find a job working in a studio. But you can’t get a job in a studio, unless you’ve had a job in a studio. I start looking for music jobs, there’s no music jobs." Eventually the daunting job search lead him to work at a car dealership, which he says he stumbled across by searching for jobs listed as no experience required.
Although he says he was slinging the cars and making more money than anyone else he knew at his age, the job proved to be taxing on him. "I was just not happy at all. I was working 7 days a week. I don’t give a fuck about cars...I took the bus to the car dealership to sell people cars. People would be like which car do you drive, and I’d be like I drive the 57 bus. To most, that would be considered successful, but I felt the worst I’ve ever felt in my life. I’m making $10,000 a month and I’m so unhappy and not playing music. So I had to quit my day job to pursue my day dream," Dubby recalled.
Dubby continues on to say that we all should encourage the creative people in our lives. "Can you think about how many people could have been something great had they practiced or been encouraged? Fortunately for me, well I was such a degenerate as a kid, my parents were like thank god you’re doing something when I started doing music," he elaborates. Continuing, he emphasizes his point, "Don’t quit your day dream. We only have one life for all we know it. 9-5 will keep you living, but it won’t keep you alive. That’s my mantra."
He Relies On iPhone Notes
Like many creative people, Dubby says he swears by his iPhone notes, which often fuel his inspiration or act as a safe place to store his random bursts of creativity. "My favorite track that I’m doing on my album is called "Nelly Furtado’s Beef Frittata," he admits. Elaborating on where the name stems from, Dubby says, "I just love that name. I have this list, it’s super important. It’s like Schindler’s List." He continues by showing me a rap that he had pulled over to write down on his way to the interview, having me read it aloud.
Dubby advises that he always tries to seize inspiration right in the moment, and admits that he's often stopping to write down his thoughts like he did with his latest rap. "When I write songs, I know I have to do this now. It's a certain feeling, and if you lose that feeling you might as well not finish the song. I’ve gotten better at knowing when inspiration is hitting," he says about his songwriter's intuition.
Talking more on his creative process, Dubby says, "There’s nothing worse than writer’s block. When you have inspiration, just continue. My phone has like tons of notes. There’s raps...I do voice memos, I used to do them a lot more, but now I just go straight to my computer so then I can get the layers. Usually when I’m at the piano or at the bass or at a guitar, I like hear a full song in my head. The faster I can get it out….like the more time in between me writing it and recording it, I lose those ideas and that feeling. I try to do it as fast as I can. But this list...the first note in it is Cho Alexandar, so that’s what I look for. That’s from a Louie Armstrong song, and I thought that was funny. I just write down things that I think are funny, and alliterations, and names, and whatever."
He's Not Afraid To Put Himself Out There (Literally)
Although Dubby relies so heavily on his notes, he admits he's not the best about backing up his "back pocket inspiration," saying he'd be screwed if he ever lost his phone. While talking about backing up his phone, Dubby goes on a bit of a tangent about the dangers of iCloud, saying, "They can get hacked. If my photos are on there, I have so many pictures of my dick and so many nudes. I don’t care if people see my dick, but I do care if people see the pictures that other people sent me that they told me not to show anybody. You have to be respectful with that. Karma is real. People don’t want their shit shown, and you can’t show it. iCloud is dangerous for that."
Although it's still seen as taboo, Dubby stresses the point that he's not afraid to share his nudes with the world, almost turning it into a metaphor of putting yourself out there, taking away the power from anyone else to expose you if you do it first. Continuing down this rabbit hole, Dubby says, "Then nobody can put my dick on the internet and be like 'There’s Will’s dick.' I already put it there. It’s like 8 Mile, where Eminem does that rap where he puts himself down, and then the other dude has nothing to say. So I don’t care if people see it. It could get out there, so I might as well put it out there myself."
He's Also Not Afraid To Put His Music Out There
Taking things back to a more figurative level, Dubby says his advice to any creative people includes making goals and putting your work out there.
"It’s really important to write stuff down. Have goals. You may not accomplish your goals...writing stuff down makes it a little more real," Dubby says. He admits that one of his personal goals was to put out his album in May this year, which ended up getting put on the back burner for the opportunity to work with Mario during his break from tour with The Orwells.
After recommending to always jump on opportunities and prioritize goals, Dubby goes back to the importance of writing things down. "Like if you just think about it...there’s what they call an infinity loop in your brain, which means you have all these thoughts in your head. You’re like 'I gotta go home and do this dishes', that’s a thought that rolls in your brain. Then you’re like 'I gotta be a fucking famous musician.' Your brain doesn’t differentiate. It’s just two thoughts. But when you write things down, it’s when you can start to prioritize what’s important."
The discussion progresses into the importance of sharing your work with an audience, in addition to prioritizing. "I was with this girl yesterday who was like 'yeah, I draw, but I don’t show anybody my stuff cause I’m embarrassed.' You just have to put it out there. I have music out that I’m not proud of, but I pushed it out there. It’s like why is Riff Raff one of the most famous rappers and a millionaire when he’s the worst rapper ever? It’s cause he just kept putting stuff out there. You can’t become that thing without putting stuff out there," Dubby says.
Dubby also confesses he has a sort of obsession with following musicians' paths to fame. "I follow all that stuff, I get really into that. I think that’s the other thing. For artists that are trying to do stuff, get really into artists who have done what you want to do, and figure out why do we know like... Anthony Kiedis and Marilyn Manson, and not some other people who might be more talented. I read a lot of books, like rockstar biographies. The thing is, every story is different, everybody’s got a different story, but the thing that’s synonymous among all of them is that they just fucking did shit. They put a lot of stuff out." Concluding his thoughts on that subject, Dubby adds, "It’s hard work, but it’s not worth doing if you’re not gonna do it right. No one can like your song if they can’t hear it."
His Take On This Chicago Music Scene Is...
Although Dubby is still getting re-acquainted to the Chicago area after moving back from Boston, he says he has a lot of love for the local music scene. "It’s super cool. When I was in Boston there really wasn’t a scene. Boston is like a transplant city, so everyone is from other places and there for school. It’s saturated. So people wouldn’t come out to see you cause they had a show. There was no money because young freshman college kids with a ton of talent would do things for free cause they don’t know any better. The Chicago scene is cool cause like Mario and The Orwells, I went to high school with them. They’re doing really well. The Symposium do you know them? I went to school with Benny, who’s the bass player." Dubby also mentions he's a fan of Post Animal and The Walters.
While we're on the subject of the local scene, Dubby reveals what he envisions his own live show to be, saying, "I haven’t played any shows yet. My show is gonna be different. My live show is gonna be kind of weird cause I play instruments, but I’ll also have tracks. It’ll be like if you see a rapper, they have like a DJ. My ideal set up would be I have a producer and I’m running all my vocals and all my tracks and my live instruments through them so they can edit them live. Then maybe a guitar player with me who can sing. Maybe backup singers, dancers. I could have a show where I play just me or I could have a producer with me to mix it live, or have a guitar player and a DJ. It could be as big or as small as I want." He also touches on the possibility of a Nympho Maniax tour, saying "[Mario and I are] definitely gonna do some shows. We’re thinking about like just going to The Emporium on a rap night. I’d love to open for Mickey Avalon with our stuff. It’s like a bi-product of his stuff, and it goes hand in hand. A lot of our stuff just depends on his schedule with The Orwells. I’d love to open for them with our stuff, or like if we did a track in the middle of one of their sets I think that’d be fun."
Dubby closes out the interview with some words of wisdom from his father; “If you can’t be good, be good at it."