Hiya folks thanks for joining us in the virtual RGM lounge today, grab a brew and take a seat.

What made you decide that music is a thing for you?

My 1st gig was watching Oasis at Maine Road in ’96. I was 16 and was just fascinated watching Noel Gallagher and thought to myself that I’d love to ‘do that’. 

A week later I had my first guitar lesson. It was an amazing time to be young and into music! 

Every time I picked up my guitar back then it felt electrifying and 28 years later, it still feels the same when I pick up an instrument and try and make some noise. That instinct will never leave me.

Introduce us to you all and your musical history.

My name is Lee McMahon and I play as solo artist, LPMC.I have had numerous outings in various guises over the years since joining my first band in 1997. My most successful period was spent as chief songsmith and frontman of popular indie rock 4 piece ‘The Tivoli’, which lasted for around 9 years in total. As a Rotherham fan, we took our name from the ‘Kop end’ at Rotherham United’s now abandoned former home Millmoor and released our album, ‘National Service’ in 2010 after signing an independent deal with Shiva Records. 

I had a great time in that band and played with a group of people that were great players. We played some unbelievable venues, including Sheffield City Hall, Magna with Little Man Tate, and Shepherd’s Bush Empire. However, my two favourite shows were being one of the 1st unsigned bands at the time to headline the main stage at Sheffield’s O2 at the Soundclash nights and before that selling out the Boardwalk in Sheffield. Those events were run by Jules Vernon and Chris Wilson respectively; both were good souls who were dedicated to supporting new music in the area and giving bands and artists a chance. Chris gave me my first opportunity to play when no one else seemingly would and I’ll never forget that. The album was recognised by BBC’s Radio 1, 6music and Introducing channels alongside acclaim from the music press.

We ended up touring across the UK and collaborating with Sheffield music legend Richard H Kirk, who remixed our album to spawn the uncompromising industrial upper cut, ‘National Service Rewind’. Unfortunately, in the end we parted company with Shiva and then spent a period trying to work things ourselves, but we’d ran aground. The energy wasn’t the same, so we went our separate ways eventually in 2014. 

In the aftermath, I experienced a severe loss of confidence and self-esteem as a writer and musician. After things hadn’t worked out the way I imagined they would with The Tivoli, it took around 9 months for me to pick up my guitar again and when I finally did, it felt like I’d never played before!

Once I rediscovered my rhythm, I started trying to write and working towards a new project without really knowing what it was until December 2016 when I’d worked up some material that I felt was ready for recording and it was this transpired into LPMC. In its artform LPMC is meant to represent ‘LOVE, POWER, MONEY, CONTROL’, but, in reality, it’s just my initials, haha! 

The recording sessions turned into the production for my debut album and the whole process has been a pure DIY job so far. I set myself the challenge of playing all instruments on the record (meaning I had turned my hand to learning new instruments in some cases), which I did barring a couple of external contributions from others that were miles better than me! I eventually teamed up with Robin Junga as co-producer at Sirkus Studios in Nottingham in December 2017 after initially working through some recordings at Dean Street studios in London. 

In the end it took 6 years to finish the album, Reasons being, it was all self-funded, so cash flow was an issue most of the time and that delayed proceedings and threatened to shut down production on more than one occasion because I simply struggled to afford it. There was a constant re-writing process which spawned multiple mixes of tracks before I was happy and then, ultimately, COVID struck and brought everything to a shuddering halt.

Regardless of all that though I managed to make it through that turbulence and re-entered the fray in the summer of ’22 when I released my debut album, ‘Providence’.

What I did next was suicidal though – I released the whole album without a digital release/marketing strategy and basically failed to maximise its impact. I was so naive. It’s been a steep learning curve over the (near) 2 years whilst trying to learn the current industry!

Looking forward though, I’m now working with ‘Kycker’ and excited for the release of my new single, LONELY BOY, on 10.05.24. This will be the first outing for new material from an upcoming 2nd album which I’ll work through this year and into next. 

I’ve also got my 1st full band show coming up on Saturday 18th May at Gorilla beer Hall in Mexborough. This will feel like another massive achievement because pulling a live show together as solo artist has been much more challenging than I expected, but the band are sounding great, and all credit to them; it’s going to be a great show!

Ultimately, it’s hard graft this DIY artist/musician game, but each little achievement feels like giant strides. I’m think I’m getting there slowly, and I’ll see where it all takes me this time around.

What’s the live music scene like in Rotherham right now? Anyone we should be looking out for (Bar you of course)

I think it’s as good as it’s ever been! Venues exist now that are on the touring circuit. 

Gorilla Beer Hall in Mexborough is just off the edge of town and is amazing! Also, there’s the Chantry Brewery Bar, where I’ll playing in September, and the Cutlers Arms to name a few. Roadhouse Bar & Bottles used to have live music on every Sunday, and I did some live acoustic shows there too including the filming on my YouTube interview feature before it sadly closed earlier this year. They’re looking to be opening a new site in Dinnington soon, so I’m delighted for them. The festival circuit is healthy too with ‘Wentfest’ in particular, where I’m also playing in June on the new music stage.

In terms of bands, I think the most obvious flagship act for the town are ‘The Reytons’. They’ve done great and the Clifton Park show is an incredible spectacle for the town. Good on them for what they’ve achieved and how they’ve gone about it. Other bands that have turned my head is ‘At The Arcade’ – I Iike their groove, The Konstanzas are a young band at the start of their journey and doing their thing, and although he’s not strictly from Rotherham, Sam Scherdel is grafting hard and has some great tracks too.

I’ve seen a lot of people struggling for support recently online. Whats your view on the industry?

Yes, I would agree with this. The emergence of the DIY artist says it all really. There’s obviously a whole movement of independent bands and musicians that must now learn every role in the artist support network, whether that be marketing, promoting, social media management, audience engagement, videography, photography amongst much more in order to grow. That’s without even considering the heart of the matter which is writing, playing, and performing! 

The limiting factor to everything is money and the lack of investment in grassroots artists and venues that working tirelessly and dedicate their lives to their craft remains concerning. That makes the support for each other paramount. The good news is that organisations like ‘Kycker’, are offering a great service where the focus is to support the strategies of independent artists and are a breath of fresh air in my opinion for people like me trying to negotiate the business. 

What are your thoughts on the new Co-op arena?

Time will tell.

Where do you feel you currently sit within the music industry?

It’s been a rude awakening trying to relaunch myself. As a DIY artist, I feel like I’m at the bottom of the mountain looking up no matter how hard I try to climb. It’s a monstrous effort for every small step, but you got to keep climbing.

Tell us Two truths and a lie about you.

  1. My favourite film franchise is Planet of The Apes
  2. I have an EFL League One winners medal
  3. I can speak French

Do you ever worry about people taking things the wrong way or cancel culture? Discuss….

I don’t worry about cancel culture, but I do care about being respectful. 

I think cancel culture as a vessel is a dangerous entity for creative arts. How is there meant to be any thought provocation if the boundaries are set in narrow stance to please and appease? 

If you have an opinion, it will always divide. I think the whole concept of cancel culture is more of a media storm than the opinion of the general people walking the street. The key thing for me is not to be disrespectful and without prejudice. Anything that’s pre-determined to cast hurt is wrong. 

Do you sign up to any conspiracy theories? If not why not? 

The moon landing was filmed in a hangar at Area 51 – that’s why no one can go there, nailed on!

What was your best experience on stage? 

The sell-out show at the boardwalk with Tivoli, I think. It’s the first time the crowd started singing songs back at us with distinction. I remember hardly singing a word at times as the crowd took over. I loved that venue and that is a lasting memory.

What was your worst experience on stage? 

I played an acoustic show at a venue called Junction 7 in Nottingham. I was supporting the singer from Spear of Destiny. ‘Damo’, the guitarist in Tivoli had driven me down. When I was due to go on there was about 15 people in the crowd and I’d been drinking since the soundcheck. After a couple of songs, I felt like I was dying on up there on the stage, so I started trying to dance whilst I was playing to try and stir the crowd. As I did it, I stepped froward and fell off the stage and smashed my mouth on the fence in front of the stage. It just went silent. I climbed back on stage a bit concussed and carried on trying to act as if nothing had happened! 

Tell us something about you that you think people would be surprised about.

I’ve ran two London Marathons in 2015 and 2016 raising money for the Youth Hostel Association.

What are the next steps you plan to take as a band to reach the next level? 

Firstly, I’ve started working with Frank Wilkes and Kycker, who are helping me strategise my next releases. Secondly, establish to myself as a live act with a full band.

I hear you have a new music, what can you tell us about it.

Lonely boy is the first single from what will eventually be the second LPMC album. 

Its inspiration comes from a bar that is co-owned by Sheffield United player, Ben Osborn, who I work with. 

The bar opened just over a year ago and I told him I’d write a song for it. I wrote the track, recorded it and we both loved it, so I said I’d write an album for the bar. So, that what’s I’m doing!

Lonely Boy will open it and then each of the other tracks will be entitled with a name, which refer to the bar’s clientele in a fictional sense. The tag line of Lonely Boy is ‘This is the place you will be loved when life gets tough’, so each of the other tracks will explore each character’s background and how they find themselves drinking in the bar. 

It’s an exciting project and Ben and his business partner, Harry liked it that much they had a neon sign made with the lyrics and its up on the wall in the bar, which is great!

What was the recording process like?

My recording process exists in two stages. Firstly, I write and record everything essentially, which I typically do on the fly. I’ll generate ideas, usually at the most inconvenient times but when I have got a basic structure, I’ll record them in my garage at home, or come into work early/stay behind and find a quiet space to keep chipping away at tracks using a basic mobile recording set up. I recorded the saxophone on my new track in my daughter’s bedroom whilst I had the house to myself. God knows what the neighbours think! 

Once I’ve developed the track and I’m happy with it, it gets sent down to Robin Junga at Sirkus Studios/KJAMM Mastering in Nottingham to be mixed and mastered. There’s usually deliberation and back and forth, but we have decent understanding now that’s a lot more time efficient than when we recoded the first album, so it works well for me.

What was the biggest learning curve in writing the new tunes?

Every song provides a learning curve and each curve is dependent on the song. The two things that have been the most challenging recently is providing accomplished performances on instruments I’m still learning (e.g. saxophone and piano) and then the composition of arrangements and how I get each instrument to create the right movement against each other. 

Would you change anything now it’s finished?

I think the nature of being creative means I will never be satisfied with the work I’ve done. I’ll look back and always want to change things – that’s the natural progression of a musician’s/songwriter’s evolution. 

The hardest thing to do sometimes is to let go and appreciate that you’ve done the best with what you’ve got at that moment in time. 

Eventually, I think that’s what my songs have becoming to me – a representation of what I was capable of in that moment, and you have to be happy with that logic otherwise the rabbit hole never ends.

Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?

I have a 2-year-old daughter called ‘Etta’ and she’s the key to my heart.




By mykct