POOR MICHAEL ( INTERVIEW )
One thing you can be sure with the Psychedelia shows, you will always discover South-coast bands worth listening to! So let's introduce one of them, Poor Michael.
Hi guys, first of all, who is “Michael”?
Andy: Michael is my younger brother. It’s something we all came up with together when we were trying to find a name, and us generally making fun of him. At the time he was the small spotty ginger kid brother who ended up getting a lot of abuse from us probably; because of his overly sarcastic temperament. For whatever reason it stuck. He’s now actually grown up and at uni doing pretty well for himself, so it’s kind of an ironic thing. Maybe we should make up a better story?!
Can you tell us the story of the band?
Andy: I was the guitarist in 5 piece band while in college, and wanted to have more involvement with the songwriting side of things. I needed to make darker, heavier stuff. I roped in my younger cousin Chris – drums - who I knew was technically awesome, and we put some songs down in the studio. I don’t know how it happened but off the back of those songs (we were under a different name for the first half a year) we got booked to do a few shows up in London. I knew Jack from working with his Dad prior to uni and convinced him to learn the bass lines - and the bass - in the week before the first gig. He stepped up in a big way; found out he could sing shortly before the second gig as well as write. I guess that’s pretty much it. It’s been 3 years now we’re pretty close knit.
I heard you have an album on the go, how is it all going?
Jack: It’s taking way longer than we first thought, but I think we were very optimistic on how long it was going to take in the first place. We are getting close to having the final mixes to master and are just spending time making sure we are happy with the sound of the thing. It’s a bit of a beast, and by the time it’s done we will have enough new material to fill a 2nd album which I think we are planning on doing.
So what are the main musical influence - or non musical influences - behind the record?
Jack: TAME IMPALA. We all love tame impala. We have a huge mixture of influences really – it’s a hard one to answer! I would say we all like anything with some balls and brains behind it. We don’t take an influence from anyone directly though. Andy is well into his indie rock and much older (60s-70s) blues stuff, Chris loves his harder rock stuff and electro while I listen to a lot of Psychedelic rock and electro as well. I think if you were to look through the glove boxes of our cars at the moment, you’d probably find some White Denim, Ghost Writer, Tame Impala, Queens of the Stone Age and so on.
As for non musical influences, old crap films and tea seem to be a big part of the writing/recording process.
You seem to be very DIY, how does this work? Do you do everything yourself, or do you still have a producer?
Andy: Haha, the term DIY keeps getting thrown about when describing our stuff. I hope we aren’t going to come across as a B&Q band. Umm, I guess we have always just tried to get on with things keep the ball rolling. A lot of the time that means sorting/doing/making things ourselves. We used to do loads of house-parties at uni. We’d get asked to play a mate’s, or a mate of a mate’s, turn up with a load of gear, and play until we’ve exhausted all our songs/covers, or until an angry neighbour or the police (on two occasions) asked to turn it down. In the studio we’ve got a producer, but his only input is in terms of recording. We’ll take any help we can get.
Why choose to record do tape and release the album on vinyl?
Andy: We think our stuff will suit vinyl. The warm sometimes gritty tone should hopefully nail our sound and the way it’s been recorded (live between our garage and the studio). Both Jack and I have collections, and would love our stuff to be on it, and have a cool physical product that we can hold. There’s just something real sexy about them, and timeless. We think mastering onto tape is still on the cards (the one the studio was going to use is broken), again it’s more of a sonically aesthetic thing that we think will suit our stuff.
A lot of upcoming bands seem to release on vinyl rather than CD or MP3, why do you think this is?
Jack: I think it’s nice to have something solid when you buy music, that way it’s a much more permanent purchase – if it comes with some artwork and looks good you won’t forget it so easily. It is so easy to click and buy a song on iTunes now and forget it straight away/lose it in the depths of the computer. Also, once you start listening to a vinyl, it’s more effort to get up and change it than listen the whole way through, which helps.
There's a lot coming up for Poor Michael, so make sure you stay tuned to know more!