The start of a new year is always one of our favourite times. It’s a moment to pause, reflect and intentionally think about where we’re planning to go and why. A lot changed in 2018. As always, there were ups and downs, struggles and triumphs, we lived and we learned! Overall however, it was a year of dreams unfolding before our eyes and a year that we really felt that we stepped into a season of open doors, inspiration and truly feeling home in every sense of the word. We now live in the beautiful and ethereal land of Cornwall. A place that has always had a strong pull on my heart and a place that I told Mac lots about before he even knew that he’d be living in England one day.
We have written some new songs over the past 12 months that we’re really excited to share with you. In January, we headed to Cube Studios near Perranporth to record 4 tracks and we’re working on various others at home, all to be released from spring 2019 onwards. Maybe we’ll write a separate blog post about that soon … but for now, I’d like to briefly share with you the biggest change of 2019 so far. Three words: Our Atlantic Roots. For those of you who have known us for longer than two weeks, you’ll know that up to now we have released music under ‘Mac and Laura Johnston’, so why the change?
When we released our debut EP ‘First Light’, we were at the very start of a journey and we wanted to gain more clarity about where we were headed before committing to a name and ultimately a brand. Flash forward a year and a half, we’ve played 60+ live gigs and learned a lot about our direction of travel (though of course… who knows where the adventure will actually take us!).
As the new year approached, recording new music was on our minds and the diary started to fill up for 2019 with bigger festivals and events… it became clear that a ‘name change’ or rebrand was now or never! So, out came the big blank sheet of paper and all of the really cheesy ‘band names’!! I know you’re dying to hear some terrible alternatives that we came up with … I’d just like to say that these were ruled out immediately and we laughed.
Liveoak … Cedaroot … Riza (I don’t actually remember what that is or why it was written down; I think it’s Greek or Hebrew for Roots) … Skylights Duo … There were various others that made us sound more like a metal band or a pop group from the 90’s.
Eventually we landed on ‘Our Atlantic Roots’. Phew.
So briefly, here’s the meaning behind the name … Mac is from the States and I’m from England; the Atlantic has always been the thing that has connected us, and now we live only a few hundred feet from it and get to see it pretty much every day! It’s a definite source of inspiration and a reminder that we’re part of a bigger story. Our style and passion is very much grassroots and earthy…authenticity is important to us. We often use metaphors and simple pictures to unpack a deeper concept, so we wanted our name to do the same but at the same time to be somewhat self-explanatory. Forests are one of our favourite places. The smell of fresh pine. The birdsong. The soft buzz of life in a majestic yet intricately designed landscape. All this being said, we got thinking about trees… The roots support the stability of the tree, providing it with nutrients and ultimately life. In the same way, our hope is that our music will be a source of life … I guess you could say nutrition for the soul!