Iain McKinna has been a freelance professional session guitarist, bass player, drum programmer composer, singer, arranger, audio engineer and Edinburgh-based music producer for over four decades working in many areas of the music business.
He started his recording career at Edinburgh’s Southside Studios back in 1976 working as a sound engineer with Punk and New Wave bands, amongst them – The Scars, TV21, The Valves & Freeze.
He formed the band Flying Colours in 1981 with Jamie Campbell and was signed to Simon Cowell and Ellis Rich‘s Publishing Company E&S music and performed regularly at London’s Embassy Club as well as performing a UK tour supporting Level 42.
After that he worked as a sound engineer and session musician at Edinburgh’s Planet Studios with the legendary Wilf Smarties & at Palladium Studios in Edinburgh with producer and musician Jon Turner.
As a freelance record and music producer Iain’s work ranges in style from Pop, Rock, Blues and Soul through to Classical, Jazz and World music. A recent production was for the WW1 Remembrance album ‘Lest We Forget’ for Sir Chris Evans. Working with singers including Steve Balsamo, Ruth Notman and musicians including violinist Seonaid Aitken and Pink Floyd’s Drummer Nick Mason. he is currently working on the fourth Imaginary Creatures album with lyricist David Scott, working with musicians like Guitarists Keith More and Blue Oyster Cult’s Joe Bouchard, The Sensational Alex Harvey Band & Rory Gallagher’s Taste Drummer Ted McKenna and many other artists.
He produced albums for legendary Blues singer Tam White, The Incredible String Band‘s Mike Heron and achieved a no3 in the US World Music charts with singer Talitha Mackenzie‘s album Solas. He also produced the first ever album of the Bayefall tribe in Senegal, working with drummer and singer Hamed Kane on the classic World Music album Akassa.
Most of the albums he has produced include his session playing on Guitar, Bass, Keyboards and Synth & Drum Programming, including John McNairn‘s classic album of Scots border ballads, Borderland. Rock Piper Jimi McRae‘s, three albums Pipedreams, Earthdance & Kick Out The Ghosts.
He has collaborated on music production projects with many well known singers and songwriters from Scotland, the wider UK and abroad, and brings his experience as a musician and session player to many of the recordings he works on, making him a popular choice of producer for solo artists and singer/songwriters. After many years working as a professional in the music industry, he is well connected to a wide range of great session musicians worldwide.
Live musician, songwriter and recording engineer
After many years as a gigging musician and recording engineer Iain went on to work for most of the major record labels at Edinburgh’s Sonic Studios in the mid to 80s through to 1992 when he started Offbeat. At Sonic he worked with Nik Straker, Yoyo Honey, The Apples, The Impossibles, Whitehouse, Kith & Kin, Hex, The Fire Engines and many other bands and solo artists.
In broadcasting Iain has worked on “live” shows, pre-recorded specials, series background music and documentaries. Film credits include The Eyes Of Orson Welles which was directed by Mark Couins and co-produced by Michael Moore, Man Dancin’ with Film Director Norman Stone, and Stockholm My Love with Neneh Cherry. An Al-Jazeera programme he recorded for Earthrise won the 2018 NY Film Festival Best Documentary award. The Story Of Film, An Odyssey won The Stanley Kubrick Award for Best Documentary.
He also records voice commentaries for BBC Radio4, The One Show, Sky Cinema, Turner Classic Movies, Al=Jazeera and many other independent broadcasters.
As a recording engineer at Offbeat he has worked on many recordings for major and independent record labels, including three albums for Universal Records. Two albums from the Spirit Of The Glen series reached no1 in the Classic FM charts and one achieved a Classical Brit Award for best album in 2009.
He recorded an album for Nectarine no9 for Postcard Records which achieved best album for NME magazine.
As a gigging musician, he has performed with The Talitha Mackenzie Band and Pipedreams at the famous Melk Weg (Milky Way), three consecutive years at T In the Park, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Barrowlands, Brampton Festival, Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Beijing Festival, Terschelling Island Holland, The Waterfront Toronto, Womad UK and Womex, Berlin. He has also toured in Spain, Italy, Germany, France, Canada and in many Festivals throughout the UK.
As a professional songwriter and collaborator he has co-written two number 1 hits in Germany, Japan & Australia and two top ten World music hits with productions for World Music Network. His current musical project called Harmonic Overdrive with Electric Violinist & Vocalist Kirsty McKinna is in the process of production of an EP of their own songs.