marcus mccoan

EXCLUSIVE: Marcus McCoan premieres stripped version of ‘Hair Down’ and talks writing for BTS

Here at CelebMix, we love introducing you to some of the music industry’s brightest rising stars, and today’s artist is someone who will soon be the new name on everyone’s lips.

Marcus McCoan is a singer-songwriter from Cornwall who has been making huge waves over the past week or so, after it was revealed that he’d co-written two tracks on BTS’ new album, MAP OF THE SOUL: PERSONA. Marcus is credited on both ‘Mikrokosmos’ and ‘Jamais Vu’, and the reaction from BTS’ global ARMY has been nothing short of sensational.

However, Marcus is also an incredible solo artist who is destined for big things. Armed with impeccable lyricism and earworm melodies, his music has captured the attention of BBC Introducing Cornwall, whilst he’s also thrived on big stages including Glastonbury, Boardmasters, and a support slot on Sunset Suns’ UK tour.

Marcus’ latest release is the infectious ‘Hair Down’, a slick electro-pop offering which showcases his captivating vocals and lyrics perfectly. The track combines a retro 80’s vibe with a slice of modern pop, creating a fresh vibe which is delightful to the ear.

Today, Marcus has unveiled a stripped back version of ‘Hair Down’, and we’re proud to be premiering it on CelebMix. With a limited production made up of a keyboard and guitar, the stripped version allows Marcus’ vocals and lyrics to really shine through. Giving the song a new perspective, we’re totally hooked on the arrangement and the passion delivered by Marcus.

Check out the stripped video for ‘Hair Down’ here.

In addition to premiering the stripped video for ‘Hair Down’, we also chatted with Marcus to get the lowdown on his latest release, writing for the world’s biggest boyband, and more.

Congratulations on your new single ‘Hair Down’. Can you tell us about the inspiration behind the track?

Thank you! The inspiration actually came from the sound, it was at a time that I wasn’t fully sure what my sound was. I was aiming to go more retro, but trying to keep the production sounding fresh. When I felt that had finally been cracked with ‘Hair Down’, it made it really easy to write some melodies and lyrics that felt right. The whole thing felt very me, so I thought I’d start as I meant to go on and make it the first release.

What was the creative process like? We hear that the track has been two years in the making?

Yeah it was a while! The initial idea came about when I was in the studio with my close friends and producers Arcades, they really helped me get my ideas together and they came up with some really cool stuff. 

I walked away from that session with a sound I was really excited about, and the beginnings of a chorus that I couldn’t wait to carry on with. I had a few other songs going on at the time, so I left ‘Hair Down’ a few weeks to sink in and then carried on with song from my home studio in Cornwall. At that point having no real time pressure was exactly what I needed to write and record the rest of the lyrics / melodies and add some more production ideas. 

Arcades and I then teamed up with a great mixer and friend of ours James F Reynolds in London. It was fun us all getting in a room together and finishing it off! 

What’s your favourite lyric from ‘Hair Down’?

There’s something about the part that says “There’s a medicine here keeping us young”. It just makes me feel good! It helps that the song is building by that point and is almost ready for the chorus.

There’s also a stripped version of the track which we’ve just premiered today – how did you go about giving the song a different dimension?

I knew I wanted to experiment with what a stripped back version would be. I got a friend who plays the piano a lot better than me to come over and we just jammed it out! The new guitar section at the end was a last minute decision but i’m so glad I did it. I think it’s the new dimension that was needed and now I can’t imagine the song without it. 

We must also congratulate you on the amazing news that two tracks you wrote are on BTS’ newly released album MAP OF THE SOUL: PERSONA! Now that the songs are out there, what’s the reaction to them been like?

Thank you! It’s been so nerve wracking but I’m so happy it’s finally out! The reaction around the world has been amazing, I can’t quite believe it if i’m honest. There’s a small group of us from London involved in the making of the two tracks, we had our first chance to meet up and celebrate last night so feeling a bit fragile today…

How did the opportunity to write for BTS come about? Where were you when you found out that your songs made the cut?

The opportunity came through James who I mentioned earlier. James has had a relationship with BTS from the early days, he mixed a lot of their biggest tracks. BTS’s Label BigHit asked James if he knew of anyone with some song ideas and he was kind enough to pass the task on to me and a few others. It wasn’t our first attempt, but we got there in the end! I was actually in bed when I was told over the phone! It was a bit of a shock to wake up to.

Can you tell us the inspiration behind ‘Mikrokosmos’ and ‘Jamais Vu’?

They both came about quite differently, I think ‘Mikrokosmos’ was inspired by a good energy in the room that day. It was the first time I’d met Ryan Lawrie, who Arcades had worked with before. Ryan brought in a melody idea for the verses that we all thought was great so we decided to pursue that and turn into what it is now.

I’m especially proud of ‘Jamais Vu’. At the time I was really into writing slow ballads, I’d just started renting my first studio in London and was there with another friend and collaborator of mine called BadMilk. The song was born on a wobbly chair in a cold hallway with my laptop balancing on a guitar amp! So knowing where it came from just makes it that much more crazy to watch it grow!

Having played a huge part in writing both songs, how did it make you feel once you heard BTS putting their spin on them?

It felt like relief and a bit of an achievement at the same time. I was really impressed with their vocals! 

Both tracks are rather different, do you have a favourite between the two?

I like them both in different ways, I can’t wait to hear ‘Mikrokosmos’ being played in a stadium! I think ‘Jamais Vu’ will always feel special for me to listen to in general. I guess time will tell which one sticks with me the longest.

Coming from Cornwall, how has the area inspired you musically?

I didn’t realise it until recently, but it’s the space and time to do my own thing that inspires me.

London is definitely the place to be for business and sometimes song ideas, but now I know for me Cornwall is the place for finishing songs and making them my own. It’s my home so it’s always going to have a massive impact on what I write about, although its probably less the place, and more the people that I know or have known that’ve had the most affect on my life and writing. 

What’s your next big dream in the music industry?

To take my own artist project as far as it can go!

What are your plans for the rest of the year?

Get the rest of my EP out, potentially work towards an album, and get back to gigging ASAP!

Thank you to Marcus McCoan for his time. ‘Hair Down’ is out now.

Make sure you follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

Let us know your thoughts on Marcus McCoan, ‘Hair Down’ and his BTS co-writes on Twitter @CelebMix

Written by Katrina Rees

I'm Katrina, or Kat to pretty much everyone. I'm an editor for CelebMix, a content writer, a boyband lover and an all round music fanatic.
Twitter: @lifeofkatrina