Iain McKinna started out as a guitarist and vocalist in Edinburgh band Moonshine in 1974, gigging extensively throughout Scotland with the band on the local and University live music circuits.
In 1976 he started Edinburgh's Southside Studios in the old wash house in Simon Square with Guitarist & Bassist Richard Brown. The studio comprised of 2 x (Teac 3340s) 4-track recorders with a home made mixing desk. This period coincided with Punk and New Wave and the studio recorded first demos for many well known bands like The Scars, TV21 & The Valves. And The Rezillos used the studio as a rehearsal space!
In 1980 he formed Flying Colours with Jamie Campbell and they signed to E&S Music, a publishing company owned by Simon Cowell & Ellis Rich. The studio closed and the band recorded and toured with drummer Pete Griffiths. They supported Level 42 in a tour of England and played regularly at the Embassy Club in London before splitting up in 1983 after Pete left the band.
In 1983 Iain recorded a solo album at Dragon Studios in Hastings under the name of Zed with his new partner Kirsty recording backing vocals. In 1984 Iain worked as an engineer and session musician at Edinburgh's Planet Studios which was owned by Wilf Smarties who famously recorded the debut single Wishing I Was Lucky with Wet Wet Wet.
During this period Zed recorded a mini album entitled Message which was produced by Culture Club's sound engineer Nick Atkins. Iain also recorded a collection of songs which he co-wrote with The Bay City Rollers for Stiff Records at Planet.
Meanwhile, Zed continued to tour Europe while living in Skye and it was there they met producer Chris Harley aka Chris Rainbow, who went on to produce the band at Edinburgh's Palladium Studios in 1985. The band subsequently signed to Vinyl Villains and recorded more material at Palladium working with engineer Keith Mitchell.
The next definitive stage in Iain's production career came when he and Kirsty decided to partner up with Vinyl Villains' founder John Edwards to open their own studio. In 1987 Sonic Studios opened their doors to the general public, and Iain & Kirsty completed their album just as the studio began to take off.
During the next five years the band changed their name to The Harmonics and produced two albums worth of material while they continued to gig locally.
All this time, though, Sonic Studios' growing reputation meant they were becoming ever more popular with bands and songwriters like Win and The Fire — and this was also the time when corporate giant Tennents had their own label and recorded several singles there with producer Alan Rankin, formerly of The Associates.
Other artists included The Impossibles, Nik Straker, The Apples, Yoyo Honey, Orange Grove were also recording at Sonic for major and indie labels.
In 1991 the studio was sold to Cava in Glasgow, and Iain & Kirsty went to the Algarve in Portugal to work on a live circuit there just prior to starting Offbeat in 1992.
Now after 42 years in the music business Iain is still writing songs and plays a whole range of instruments on many artists recordings. His latest project with Kirsty McKinna is Harmonic Overdrive. Their single You Inspire Me is being played on BBC Radio 6 and is featured on the BBC music website. Iain loves spreading the wealth of his experience and knowledge and is currently working with young up and coming singer/songwriters, helping them develop their songwriting skills.