Steve MacKay

You may think of Inverloch as a great seaside holiday destination, but for the author of the worlds highest selling beginners Guitar book (only 1.3 million copies!), it was a humble home. After travelling the world as Delta Goodrem’s guitarist, Steve Mackay is now fulfilling his lifelong dream to become an ass-kicking ninja. Sort of…

What’s your job title, or a short description about what you do?

I wear a few hats (some might say it’s because I have a few heads) guitarist, producer, guitar teacher, Line 6 clinician.

What is your main specialty/expertise/niche?

Contemporary guitar/production.

Where do you work now?

Freelance and I teach guitar privately at the Peninsula School.

What companies have you worked for?

I’ve freelanced for Sony and advertising agencies representing Just Jeans, Fine Form, Loveables etc.

What type of clients do you have or do you work for?

I mainly produce my own music these days but I’ve been getting more into creating music for advertising (as above).

Please give us a more detailed summary about what your job involves.

Music producer: facilitating and creating the overall finished product. Almost like a song interior designer.

What’s the funnest thing about your job?

The idea and the finished product – everything in between is torturous.

How did you get into doing what you do?

It started with a double cassette deck and a computer with general midi.

Did you have to do some specialist study?

I have two advanced diplomas (sound production and music performance) and I’m half way through a graduate diploma (equivalent of a bachelor) at the Conservatorium of Music.

Who are Twelve Foot Ninja?

I am founder/guitarist/producer for Twelve Foot Ninja in which I have only used Pod’s and Variax guitars since the bands forming in 2008.

What recognition and success has Twelve Foot Ninja had?

Some reviews of our debut album released in Nov using all Line 6 gear:

  • 5/5 stars Blunt Magazine
  • 10/10 “Heavy rock album of the year” – Zoo Magazine
  • “The most ambitious debut album release for 2012″ – Dom Alessio, Triple J
  • “Must discover band of 2012″ – Beat Magazine
  • “Album of the year” – Jake Bowen guitarist from Periphery
  • “It’s been a while since anyone’s had the ball’s to be so musically unabashed and had the technical and vocal proficiency to pull it off. Impressive.” – Stack (JB Hi Fi Magazine)
  • “Twelve Foot Ninja are basically one of the best live bands I have ever seen in my life” – Misha Mansoor gutarist/founder/producer from Periphery.
  • “Fantastic musicians and performers” – Rolling Stone

Our latest two video clips that have gone viral on YouTube each gaining close to 40,000 views in their first week and receiving regular play on Channel [V], Rage and MTV:

Have you been published in special publications?

Well, I’m the best selling author of Guitar tuition products “Simply Guitar” and “Lead Guitar” selling over 1.3 million units worldwide.

What are some of the most impressive things you have done in your career?

I have worked as a session Guitarist on:

  • Mighty Morphin Power Rangers – Disney Television Program
  • Delta Goodrem – Innocent Eyes and Mistaken Identity Albums
  • Abby Dobson – Secret Life of Us soundtrack
  • Christine Anu – 45 Degrees Album
  • Brian Cadd – Quietly Rusting Album
  • Brian McFadden – Almost Here Single
  • Robert Mills (Millsy) – Ms.Vanity Single
  • Shannon Noel – Lift Album
  • Touring Guitarist:
  • Delta Goodrem’s European, Scandinavian and South American promotional tours.

Television appearances:

  • Top of the Pops (UK)
  • Star Search (Germany)
  • Viva Interactive (Germany)
  • Pulse TV (Holland)
  • Canada AM (Canada)
  • Allan Border Medal
  • Rove Live (with Kelly Clarkson)
  • Channel [V] Mini Concert
  • ARIA Awards
  • MTV Awards
  • Footy Show Grand Final (Rod Laver)
  • Australian Tennis Open (2 billion viewers)

Songwriting & Production:

  • Just Jeans TVC
  • Loveables TVC (Jennifer Hawkins)
  • Fineform TVC
  • Trade Secrets TVC
  • Twelve Foot Ninja – New Dawn EP, Smoke Bomb EP and Silent Machine LP

Commercial Co-Writes:

  • Christine Anu – Talk About Love
  • Delta Goodrem/Billy Mann – Beautiful Madness
  • Brian McFadden/Delta Goodrem – Hollow No More

Collaborations with Writer/Producers:

  • Billy Mann (known for his work with: Jessica Simpson, Pink, Hall & Oates, Michael Bolton, Sting and Art Garfunkel).
  • Eliot Kennedy & Gary Barlow (known for their work with: Celine Dion, Spice Girls, Brian Adams, Atomic Kitten and Take That).
  • Paul Wiltshire (known for his work with: Backstreet Boys, Human Nature, Shannon Noel and Vanessa Amorosi).

Music Video Directing, Producing and Writing:

Mother Sky Film Clip


Coming For You



Any things else? remember we want to impress everyone about how fantastic you are doing! don’t be humble, let fly with the gold!

I played a gig on an island with Delta Goodrem and we got there on Puff Daddy’s yacht. When we were there Richie Beno taught me how to open a crownie with a fork.

I met John Mayer, Beyonce and System of a Down at a Sony Showcase gig in New York.

Where did you grow up in Gippsland?

Born in Warragul.

Lived in Wonthaggi a couple of years.

Grew up in Inverloch

What are your fondest memories of living here?

Probably having the beach so close (less than 1 minute walk) was a pretty awesome child hood.

What school/s did you go to?

Warragul North Primary School

Wonthaggi Primary School

Inverloch Primary School

Leongatha Secondary College

Tell us about when you first left Gippsland and why?

Lack of opportunities and specialists.

What things were missing when you lived here to help support your interests?

More exposure to a range of elements in the industry. More access to mentors.

Do you still have connections with Gippsland?

Not really.

Do you come back and if so how regularly?

I try and get there once a month to visit my extended family.

Where do you get inspiration from?

Films. Music. Books. People. Video Games. The usual suspects I suppose.

Who are your heroes?

I have plenty of people I look up to, but a few come to mind; Mike Patton, Michael Jordan, Mike Tyson, Tommy Emmanuel.

What advice would you give to someone who might want to get into a career like yours?

Learn how to be almost scientific in your self critisism and reality assessment. Do not assume it will be easy making money doing what you love. Let your love for what you do motivate you.

Posted on April 12, 2013

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