Blog & News


Stupefied is Out / Update

My EP is well underway, though late, with the release of Stupefied last week.

You can go stream it! Just type in Doran McKinlay Stupefied on any search engine or streaming service. You’ll find it!

Two Cats EP Update

Only two tracks to go, Two Cats, and Pacific Cafe (formerly What You Got). It’s been a lot of computer work though. I am hoping to get it done by the 1st of Jan 2024. But it will take the time it needs for me to be happy with it.

General Update

Things will be in a new universe after my EP. Pacific Cafe, the last track of the EP, will introduce this idea. I want to take my music away from reality, into a colourful world, with animations, characters, story arcs… Most likely my online presence will follow suit, being less and less in touch with reality and my real life, and more and more anchored in this little universe I want to build.

So if you see me posting increasingly nonsensical or weird stuff, it’s on purpose. It’s a narrative I want to build, and I am probably not going to refer to it too obviously or often to keep it convincing and immerse myself in it and everyone else who may enjoy it.

I don’t want to say too much about it to avoid spoiling it, but I thought it would be worth mentioning things will start changing a lot, and that there is a bright future still for this little project of mine!


Coffee and Cats

Music Diary – 02/07/24

Change of pace: I’m visiting Istanbul this week. My highlight: cats, coffee and music.

The sound of Istanbul: Nardis Jazz Club

We visited all the main attractions, the Blue Mosque, Dolmabahçe Palace, Galatea tower, Hagia Sofia, Roumeli Fortress… But what will truly remain in the back of my brain is the sound of Nardis Jazz Club.

We came to see a band called the Onur Ataman Quartet, named after the lead guitarist Onur Ataman. What followed was what I’d call a ‘full on’ jazz gig. Jazz classics alternated with original compositions, each lasting a good ten minutes. Main themes were followed with improvised solos, whether it be effortless piano riffs, frantic drums, funky guitar licks or bouncy bass lines, each filling our ears with jazzy goodness.

Telling a Story

The music was amazing, the cocktails were sweet, but what was most noteworthy was the story Onur Ataman shared with the audience. Before playing their first original song, Onur mentioned they would explain the song’s story after playing it. They forgot, but the crowd didn’t. Several people started calling after the clapping and cheering stopped: “Tell us the story!”.

Onur smiled: “Ah yes… The story…”

He described the tragic destiny of a little girl and her ordeal during the Second World War. How she had to leave her home, how she had to flee her country. How she lived through some of the toughest times in recent history. Until she met him… And he fell in love with her.

All Them Feels

Everyone was at the edge of their seat until the end, desperate to hear more. We were all hooked to this feeling, to this story. In that moment I realised, or maybe I remembered: this is what music is all about. Your technique could be great, or crap. Your mix could be revolutionary, or garbage. Your style could be groundbreaking, or straight-out average. None of it really matters as long as your music shows true, raw, unfiltered emotion.


Stray & Snowflakes are OUT!

I am not announing one, but TWO song releases this week. Yes. TWO.

Though you may already know them if you’re a fan… I’ve reworked both Stray & Snowflakes to make justice to my voice and the instrumentals I had composed back in 2019.. ish. I had a bad habit of hiding my voice in the background of the mix back then. No more.

I swear, you can hear my voice and all that good stuff this time.

Just search “Doran McKinlay” in your favourite search bar, and you’ll find those songs on your favourite streaming services. OR following the links on my homepage, OR follow my link tree:

I hope you enjoy the music!


‘Success’: Enigma of a Lifetime

Music Diary – 25/06/23

“The void was so empty. Out of nowhere came something new… CONTENT! But wait, it’s just another drop in the ocean…”

Since I post my ‘craft’ much more, and maybe because I’m a ‘tiny’ act, a lot of people around ask questions. Too many questions! But one specific question comes back the most often…

“What’s success to you?”

The one question litterally everyone will be faced with. Humans seem so obsessed with this. People trying to sell you the idea of ‘being successful’ are all over social media. The worst thing is, so many are there to promote themselves or exploit your dream by promising you this elusive holy grail of ‘success’ against MONEY! Yes, MONEY!

But they are not the only ones. When you think you’re finally alone, app developers come around and say : HEY, you! You want SUCCESS? More FOLLOWERS? Give us some MONEY! For ADS! We swear it’ll work!

Whether social media ads actually work is something for another day. But I think you may start to see my point.

Drops in an Ocean governed by Giant Sea Monsters

As anyone trying to achieve anything, it seems we live in a world constantly telling us that we are not good enough. It feels like most influencers are simply instructing us what we should do to be ‘successful’ based on their own example. Meanwhile, social media ‘gurus’ fill their pockets with their latest ‘hack the business’ online course, using a handful success stories as bait for thousands of suckers to choke up their hard earnt cash. Everyone follows the SAME advice given by the SAME people following the SAME patterns. Not to mention, it’s only people with enough influence to give this advice in the first place doing all the talking. What we end up with is asepticized art. All the same, trying to achieve the same stuff.

Case study: Cat Meow Remixes

So many fashions on social media could be used as case studies for this. But this is just a good example of ‘trendy content’ hypes we’ve seen in music which has been over exploited to the point where it all blends into one, somewhat unoriginal concept. Loads of people used this sort of video to go ‘viral’, increase their reach etc…

So what is the formula? Basically, create any sound track that vaguely fits on top of a funny sound and film yourself recording it. It doesn’t even need to fit that well or be that good as long as it’s funny. Cat meow, dog woof, frog croak, chair creek… Honestly, whatever does the job.

Don’t get me wrong, this was funny and entertaining… The first ten times. But I’m surely not the only one who gets a bit tired of seeing stuff like this after you’ve seen litteral hundreds of them already all over the internet. It’s ALL THE SAME.

‘But Doran, you can’t really complain about something you don’t have to watch!’

You’re right. And this isn’t a complaint: I hide this kind of post from my feed so that it stays interesting for me. Instead, I support content creators who really innovate in my opinion and try to buck the trend. I’m just using this example to make a point here, bear with me!

Feed the algorithm

Every idea that was creative and successful at first gets bled out dry on social media until it becomes so unoriginal that it loses all the appeal it had in the first place for me. This is because of how algorithms work and drive the content on social media platforms. Users know this and how to exploit it, which leads to a lot of things being ‘samey’ on social media and everywhere else.

It doesn’t help as well that there are litteral millions of people trying to achieve a million things, with app developpers more than happy to exploit their ambition. So imitating templates that work has become the number one advice you end up hearing:

“Because X ammount of people liked this, then you should do something 90% the same because the algorithm will favor it.”

“Because this artists got successful doing this, you should do the same.”

“Because this kind of sound is the fashion now, you should follow the trend to make your music have more reach.”

“You should be CONSISTENT because that is what the algorithm perfers!”

It’s all kind of bullsh*t if you ask me. We don’t make art for the f*cking algorithm, we make it for people.

Success versus you vision

Again, don’t get me wrong. Taking inspiration from things that work on social media is good. I am doing that myself. However, artistic vision comes first in my humble opinion. Whilst I take inspiration from things that are successful, there are a lot changes I wouldn’t make to my art because they would not fit my vibe. Sure, this kind of thing will make my music have less reach. But then again, not being genuine would ruin the hobby for me, and my following wouldn’t like it anyway. So what’s the point?

Think about it. Acts that defy ‘normality’ and are just ‘themselves’ usually get rewarded anyway exactly BECAUSE they stand out. So really, there’s no need to stick to these ‘templates’ every one is telling us to follow. Maybe, just MAYBE, all these success strategies should be taken with a pretty big grain of salt.

I say, being ‘successful’ is overrated anyway. Having X followers, X views, X likes is definitely overrated. Actually, I reckon most things are overrated…

Everything is Awesome!

As L.A. Salami so elegantly put it in ‘The City Nowadays’ :

“Films used to be… Great. Now they’re easy to make, easy to sell, easy to get bored of – everything’s 4 stars or more – Everything’s the best film of the year – Fast food films – Fast food music – Fast food politics – Fast food ideologies – What’s the worth of working to live at the cost of your soul? So much so that you don’t want to live at all?”

Genuinely, it happens so often to me that I find a piece of art not as great as what the 98%+ score on whatever review website suggests. On the other hand, I find some terribly rated things great sometimes. I know so many artists that are genuinely amazing, but have the tiniest ammount of recognition. Meanwhile, seemingly ‘banal’ acts attract the likes of millions of people.

Of course, there are also plenty of great artists that get a lot of attention too, and small acts that , rightfully, are small because they are developping their sound etc… As a result, numbers seem to become more & more meaningless. Especially for people who aren’t that fussed about making a living out of their passion. So I don’t define my successs according to any of that. Doesn’t mean I don’t have a vision of success and goals for my hobby though.

I want to be PROUD of my work when I post it

That is my #1 criteria for success. If I am not happy with it myself, then I’ll never be happy with any of the outcomes or results that follow.

I want my friends, family and other fans to enjoy it

If whatever I do gets nearly no attention, but MOST of the people who enjoy my art actually like it, and tell me so, then I’m very happy. My music brings me joy. If I then bring joy to the people who liked my music in the first place and supported me in the past, then I’m even happier.

I want to progress

I don’t care about the numbers, I care about constant improvement. So whilst the actual reach of my music in terms of numbers matters little to me, what DOES matter is that I get a bit better every time. Ultimately, it’s about going FORWARD. This goes for a few aspects of my music: engagement, sound quality, video quality etc…

There you have it

Not so difficult to define success huh? Now I’m not saying you should or shouldn’t do anything. Don’t follow this example. Do your own thing.


Starting Somewhere in the Middle of Nowhere

Music Diary – 18/06/23

What the hell are you doing here? What the hell am I doing here? If you had an answer, you wouldn’t be here. WOW. Isn’t your mind BLOWN? Can I get a Grammy now? Seriously though, we might as well enjoy the ride… Grab a drink: there may be a light at the end of this tunnel.

So, what now?

After months of radio silence, this blog & news page just suddenly comes back to life and expects YOU, clueless reader to actually give a single F*CK? Yes. Yes, it really does. Sure, some would say it being dead was a good thing: blogs are so 2002 and a played out Boomer thing anyway, right? Well, no. First of all, none of that ageist BS here. Second, I work in a time vacuum. Third, you ever heard of SEO? Search engine optimization? Whatever. Forget about marketing, promotion, SEO, the whole Shebang. Or is it Shabang? Shibang?… STOP! Basically this is just a record of the process. A whimsical story telling tool for Doran if you will…

“Is anyone there?”

Doran looks at the ‘crowd’, a few bots and his mother, eagerly encouraging him. Sweet. As he considers this scene, the bot on the right, clearly more busy than the others, suddenly displays an odd sigh of relief and leaves the room immediately after without even a wave. Rude. For a minute, Doran questions his life, and more importantly the fact that already a third of his 3 person audience got so bored with his art that they decided that developing sentience was surely easier than having to sit through any more of this sh*t…

As an artist, or really, as anyone who is trying to achieve anything, the first of many hurdles you seem to be faced with is the death sentence that is the complete disinterest most people will have about your projects. Whilst loved ones and close friends may encourage you if you’re lucky, the truth is that most people around you will either not give a f*ck, ignore it or even actively try and discourage you from even trying in the first place. Yeah! You know the kind of person I’m on about. That one person that’s like ‘oh that’s nice but it I would have imagined it differently’ or ‘your work is cool, but really you know you won’t ever make it big right?’. Yeah, those obnoxious people with seemingly no joy nor imagination in their lives.

At first it’s easy to be completely heartbroken by this situation. It can make you question the whole thing. ‘Am I delusional? Am I making a fool out of myself? Am I just terribly sh*t?’ After all, your social circle are the people you thought would enjoy your stuff the most, and their opinions matter to you. It’s the people you actually make the projects for sometimes. So surely they would care, right? Wrong. I learnt that lesson the hard way.

I had no clue how sh*t was my art at first

I don’t know, maybe YOU ARE a genius from the start but I look back and don’t blame my friends for finding my old projects mediocre. They were. After years of hard work people are slowly engaging a tiny bit more. Especially with music, listeners are just used to a clean end product, which sadly means they may not even see the potential in your craft until it actually starts being close to professional in terms of quality. This is a catch 22 and also hard to accept, I know, but think about it and you know it to be the true truth.

People have lives

Yeah, I know, crazy. But yeah, they just don’t have time to listen to your demo or support your latest project whatever it may be sometimes, and that’s completely OK. It may bruise our egos a bit, but I think really we might as well accept this and buckle in because being in any similar endeavor requires some tough skin on a daily basis. Which brings me to my next point…

Bad friends actually want to put you down

Some people, especially people who seem to have some sort of void in their lives, would much rather criticize anything anyone else is trying to achieve rather than work on themselves. Those are the ones I mentioned before, who just make you feel more sh*t with every passive agressive, or outright insulting comment they make about your projects. I think it may even come from a place of jealousy sometimes. The fact you’re even trying to achieve something just boils their blood, because you’re just ‘unexceptional’, and they’re not achieving anything exceptional either so surely it’s not OK that you’re even trying this.

This seems to be particularly the case with people who are in the same hobby as yourself. Tell me you haven’t ever met or seen an artist that is so full of themselves that they don’t ever recognize the quality of anyone else’s work, and outright refuse to give or get any help from fellow artists because they think somehow that would be giving too much away and take away from their aura of being a pure blessing to humanity. Thankfully though, loads of friends and fellow artists are not like that and are great. I talk to those ones. We make a good team. I try to find the good influences in my life and keep them close… Well, this was therapeutic.

But it’s not all bad

We have ways of dealing with this. Not giving a f*ck helps. A stubborn will to prove the whole world wrong is a bonus. Having a personal version of success is the cherry on the cake. I find, the less I care and keep working hard to promote and improve my art, the more people from my social circle actually come back and engage eventually. The thing is, random people seem much more likely to love your projects, because they don’t see you as the silly little normal kid they used to know. They don’t know you at all. Once a few people like that start recognizing your work, some people who knew you from before just turn around and go: “oh well, other people like this now, so I will too!”. Sheepish nature, right? That is good, but those aren’t your best fans though. You know that person that just likes everything you do, gives you useful feedback and keeps supporting you despite no one else caring about your last project? Hold them tight, and never let them go.