Thursday, September 3

Center Stage - Black Bears Fire

Meet Radio Airplay's latest Center Stage band, Black Bears Fire. Full of refreshing and tasteful melodies and instrumentation, their sound is warm and familiar - a type of cross between Wilco and 70's country-rock.

Get to know the man behind Black Bears Fire in our latest feature! 


Nic Mcnamara was born in Johannesburg South Africa and was surrounded by music at a very young age. Upon moving to the states Nic started his musical pursuits while learning recording engineering from his father Stevin Mcnamara - an accomplished musician and studio engineer since the 1970s. 

Nic has been playing music in some form or another his entire life. He began recording under the name Black Bears Fire around 2012 and has self released 2 albums, the 2013 debut Start Sleeping In and the 2015 sophomore release The Bottomless Blue. He is currently working on a followup expected to be released in 2016. 

He has played with a variety of musicians in live settings but writes, composes and records the majority of his music. Nic currently lives in Southern Oregon and plans to tour rigorously in the near future while continuing to record and produce albums.

Describe your sound in one ramble-on sentence
Country/folk and surf/garage infused indie rock.

What inspires you to make music?
A sincere desire to affect people the way I've been affected by music. It's always been the one constant in my life with the ability to completley change my mood or state of mind regardless of circumstance. It's a power tool that has helped me through just about every situation and if I can affect people in any way with the music I create, I can die a happy man.

What aspect of making music excites you the most right now?
I've spent most of my life making music in some form or another and the majority of that time has been dedicated to recording. I've been playing a lot more shows recently and am getting more and more excited about touring and reaching larger audiences.

What are the biggest challenges you face as a musician?
Blending a full time music career with a normal life can be tough but it's what I signed up for and I'm looking forward to a life of finding that balance. Finding the right people to play live with can provide a challenge as well when many of my friends and bandmates have moved to different cities but I always make it work some how.

What's one of your all-time favorite recordings?
That's Not Me - The Beach Boys

Name three people who have influenced your music, and tell us why- Living or dead
-My Dad has shown me just about everything I know in the world of music starting at a very young age. I've been so lucky to have such a great teacher who continues to inspire me.
-My Mom has time and time again encouraged me to follow my dreams and creative pursuits. She's shown me the power of perseverance.  
-My best friend and band mate Claire Burgess blows me away every day with her musical genius.

Do you have any recent or upcoming projects you'd like to share with us? Tell us about it.
I've just released my second album "The Bottomless Blue". It is available digitally wherever you can find music online as well as on CD and Vinyl availible at my website.
I'm currently working on the follow up album that I expect to be finished sometime next year.

What is your ideal or target audience?
I love playing small, intimate shows just as much as big ones. There's something wonderful and unique about both experiences. I'm overjoyed by anyone who listens to my music.

Do you write/compose your own songs? Briefly describe your songwriting process.
I write all my own songs. All the lyrics as well as the majority of intrumentation on the albums. I usually come up with songs on an acoustic guitar and then flesh them out later once the recording process begins.

What do you like the most about Radio Airplay?
I love the ability to customise the audience you reach with Radio Airplay. I think it's an invaluable tool.