LOVE IS A GLORIOUS THING is from the forthcoming album from This Mad Desire OPEN HEARTS OPEN MINDS. The track was written in Thunder Bay and inspired by a Pixies cover of the Neil Young classic “Winterlong”. At the time. I was in high school and writing for my first band Bloodflowers and was busy learning as many Neil Young and Beatles songs as possible. That comes across in the song.
For whatever reason, I have never recorded a proper version of this until last spring (2021). Around March 2021 when it became clear that the lockdowns were going to head into the summer (at least), I decided to rent some equipment and record an album at home. Normally I like to record at the Hamilton Public Library’s Sound Studio, but the pandemic caused them to close those facilities for most of the year. So I headed down to Long and McQuade, rented some gear, picked up a Mac laptop to rent for a month, and I was off to the races.
For the most part, I would record most of the instruments (keyboards, guitars, bass) and vocals and then send things off to friends of mine like Mark Zubek or Dan Konopka (OK Go) to add their parts from their own home studios. Due to COVID, that was a pretty normal way of working.
While I was working on this, Indie 101 occurred –which is one of four online music festivals organized by Indie Week in Toronto, and I thought that since I was already collaborating with people in Toronto and Los Angeles remotely, I could open up the collaborations to anyone with a cell phone or a laptop. So at Indie 101, I started asking if anyone was interested in singing some background vocals for two songs, including Love Is A Glorious Thing, and quite a few people were interested. A few people contacted me from friends of friends and so on.
We wound up with a really interesting mix of people from everywhere in North America. Some people are very professional singers, some were amateurs, some recorded in proper studios, some sang into their phones. By and large, I only met these people from sharing music. Most of them I’ve never met in person!
I thought it would be an interesting thing for people to do when they are isolated and locked down, like a little bolt of inspiration to get through the day and feel productive and like part of a community.
Written by Mackenzie Kristjon.
Vocals and instruments by Mackenzie Kristjon.
Bass by Kilian Bamberg who notably kickstarted my re-emergence into music when he really championed my recording Operators Are Standing By.
Background vocals (in no particular order):
Leslie Ramsey-Taylor – R&B singer from Toronto, who is a friend of my frequent producer Mark Zubek. She has the greatest voice.
Jessica Magoch – award-winning jazz singer from Philadelphia. She won the 2019 Philadelphia Music Award for Jazz and just recently won the John Lennon Songwriting Competition Song of the Week. AND she duets with me on our version of Christmas classic Deck The Halls. Try to imagine if we both did not attend that conference!
Joyce Aldrich – who I met at Indie 101. She’s a talented jazz singer from Toronto.
Erica “Captain” Corbo – another talented jazz artist and pop songwriter from Philadelphia. She performs as a pianist, vocalist and performance artist; both solo and as part of the free improv collective Space Whale Orchestra. I actually met her on Instagram one day when I was randomly researching Philadelphia music. She was organizing her concert series Warp Factor 9 at the time. They would put chairs out on the sidewalk and perform through an open window. I was very impressed!
Kim Thompson – country singer from Calgary, Alberta, who I met at Indie 101. We have gone on to write a Christmas song called “This Christmas” which she recorded and was produced by Chris Birkett (Sinead O’Connor, Buffy Ste. Marie, Def Leppard, etc. etc.). Chris also produces music for Joyce Aldrich (mentioned above). Small world!
Glen MacLeod – guitarist/songwriter in the band Crash World out of Vancouver. He’s a very talented guy and extremely friendly.
Jason Dunford (Samaki Mkuu) – Jason is based in San Francisco and this is verbatim from his Wikipedia page: He is a Kenyan Olympic swimmer, media personality, rapper and entrepreneur. During his swimming career, he was predominantly a butterfly and freestyle sprinter winning gold medals at the Commonwealth Games, Universiade, All-Africa Games and African Championships, and reaching finals at the Olympics, World Championships and Short Course World Championships. He also held African, Universiade and Olympic records. He has worked as a broadcast journalist for the BBC, is a co-founder and adviser to software company, Safi and currently serves as the CEO of Baila Entertainment whilst performing as Samaki Mkuu, one half of the rap duo Romantico & Samaki Mkuu. I only learned about all the swimming after he sent in his vocals!
Reinhard Kypke – Reinhard is based in Guelph and very proudly from Berlin (like Kilian, actually). He has been working with me on and off in various capacities for years. We even performed together in Iceland!
Brian Doucette – Brian is a cool singer from Nova Scotia who I met through Mark Zubek. Definitely worth checking out!
Fluency Grey – Fluency is an indie rocker in Ottawa. Very cool guy!
Simon Pellett – Simon is British-born but lives in Texas and aside from being a really great heavy metal guitarist, he also has a podcast called Music On Your Own Terms which looks at the entrepreneurial side of the music industry in addition to mental health.
Sandeep Swaminathan – Sandeep is the frontman/lead singer for an indie band called The Spiral Theory based in Toronto. We’ve been friends since meeting each other at Indie Week back in 2020.