TOM MCKAY delves into the realms of idolism, isolation, mental illness, existentialism with his new album Call To The Dæmon Sultan. His heaviest release so far, the new album also features special guests NATHAN GROSS and LINDSAY SCHOOLCRAFT.
“I’ve been meaning to put together a collection of songs for some time, but up until now have never had enough material I was proud of to do so. Now, after a year of writing, recording and writing again, my debut EP has brought forth the heaviest songs I’ve ever written, both musically and emotionally. Allow me to take you on a deep dive into how I view the world and myself through 3 songs of teeth cutting vocals, playful riffs and melodies, and soaring orchestral work. He awaits at the edge of time, for the Dæmon Sultan is benign, but ever present”
From the dramatic orchestration of “Call To The Dæmon Sultan” to the demonic heaviness of “The Benighted One”, the record delivers an array of dramatic soundscapes. The ethereal qualities interweave among the metal instrumentation enhancing the overall sound with powerful impact. TOM’s clean and harsh vocals complement the numerous musical styles throughout adapting aptly to the mood of each track. LINDSAY’S vocals emerge to offer an extra dimension in the final track, enhancing the dynamic narrative themes.
Call To The Dæmon Sultan descends into the dark underworld but also offers a tantalising glimpse of light. Each track enters a different realm with its own distinctive atmosphere, while remaining cohesive as an overall listening experience.
MUSICWEBZINE – Hi there, first of all, tell us something about the band
TOM MCKAY – I’m a small musician from the land of Ontario, Canada born and raised in the city of Burlington. I started playing guitar at the young tender age of 17, and soon found love for songwriting as a creative outlook. While I do have many creative outlooks (including my work on the Metal Robot Reviews YouTube channel and podcast), I feel that songwriting scratches an itch that writing a video script just can’t, and so I’ve enjoyed over the years honing my craft as a songwriter and learning how to make my music better and better. And with years of practice and molding my skills, it all built up towards the new album, Call To The Dæmon Sultan.
MUSICWEBZINE – Which is the main theme of your album ?
TOM MCKAY – I think humanity might be a good answer, if not so vague as to be a arTEEST! But to put it simply, each full track deals with the human condition and human issues, whether it’s mental or political (though I tend to favour the former on this EP). It takes a look at these various things from the eyes of one struggling with these issues internally but isn’t open enough to share them with the world.
MUSICWEBZINE – What about the cover and the title of your album ?
TOM MCKAY – The title came before the cover, so I think I’ll start there. Any H.P Lovecraft fan might recognize the “Dæmon Sultan” part of the title, as it’s another name for Azathoth, the ‘creator god’ in the Cthulhu mythos. The thing with Azathoth is that all of existence lives within his dreams, and the moment he wakes from his slumber is the moment all of existence blinks out of existence (to put it simply). So I wanted to strike that sort of existential dread with the themes in this album, as most of the themes are brought forth in our dreams, our minds… only difference is- unlike dreams- these affect our outer being as well. As for the cover, that was done by the talented designer of Fear Sorrow Design. I reached out to him and said “Here’s the title, here’s the track names, have fun!”, and he came back with what wound up being the cover. To say I was impressed is an understatement.
MUSICWEBZINE – Which bands has influenced your sound ?
TOM MCKAY – I listen to a lot of music on my YouTube show “Metal Robot Reviews”, so you could argue I’m influenced by every genre in the metal scene. But the main ones I draw from the most would absolutely be Opeth, Epica and Avenged Sevenfold. A7X is a bit of an outlier, but they can create great grooves and hooks when the time comes, so they are a definite influence on my sound.
MUSICWEBZINE – Do you think that we can still live only on music?
TOM MCKAY – Maybe on Pandora with the blue people who “hair f**k”, but back on Earth it’s a lot more complicated. It really depends on what “living only on music” means to you. If we’re talking about music sales or streams, then no. Music sales with merch can get better, but it’s still not enough to live a comfortable life. From what I understand, the best way to live off of music is to have multiple streams of income. So on top of music, you could have sponsorships from companies, you can do freelance with songwriting or cameos, you can start a business for other musicians (kind of like what Periphery did with GetGoodDrums), set up a Patreon for your own work as well, that becomes an extra income stream, and there are hundreds of other ways to make an honest living in the music industry. The point is, there is no way to have ONE source of income. If you really want to live off of music, you have to be able to put in extra work to compensate.
MUSICWEBZINE – That’s all!! greeted our readers with a message!
TOM MCKAY – Check out Call To The Dæmon Sultan, due out February 18th on Bandcamp and various streaming platforms. You can also check out the first single “The Benighted One” featuring Juno Nominated singer/songwriter Lindsay Schoolcraft wherever you listen to music!