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Gay producer and Suede guitarist produce ‘Artmagic’

Sean McGhee and Richard Oakes join forces in new ‘post-punk, melancholic pop’ group
Artmagic's Sean McGhee and Richard Oakes.
Photo by Paul Khera.

A gay vocalist and producer, Sean McGhee, has teamed up with Suede’s guitarist and songwriter Richard Oakes to form a new group, Artmagic.

Suede, a UK alternative rock band, had massive success from the 80s onwards.

McGhee – who has sung with Alanis Morissette and worked with Britney Spears, Robyn and the Sugababes – told Gay Star News how the musical project first came about.

He said: ‘Richard and I met through mutual friends, and started the project with a plan to just “see what happens”. We were writing in spare time from other projects, and suddenly seemed to have amassed a body of great work. We had no idea the band would come of it all. It was completely organic.’

McGhee describes Artmagic’s sound as ‘melancholic post-punk melodic pop’. Their four-track EP I Keep Walking (available now) tells the story of a man who leaves his female partner for another man they both meet on a walking trip.

‘It’s a personal record… The title track (I Keep Walking) was written intensely over an hour. After this, Richard and I realised there was a lacking perspective from the other characters in the story. This is how tracks The Scruff of the Neck and The Sleeper were both born.’

Although the band will have a following of Suede fans, Sean’s previous work and the pair’s joint work to date – Artmagic are not tailoring their work to a specific audience.

‘We’ve never thought “this is the audience we are looking to attract”. The I Keep Walking EP is a great way to build on the audience we already have, but the focus is making good music and seeing who we attract.’

Working with artist Peter James Field to create the EP’s artwork has allowed Artmagic to express what they are about aesthetically.

McGhee said: ‘I think good artwork is important. It can really emphasise the stories behind the music and its sound. I’m a fan of stuff like Peter Saville’s work with New Order and The Pet Shop Boys’ artwork amongst others.’

Artmagic are current running a series of live videos on YouTube, Live at Perry Vale Studios, and are planning promo for the April/May release of their debut album. The band’s debut offering, the four-track, I Keep Walking is now available online and in hard copy.

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