Hi and welcome to another “Creatives In the Spotlight”
Today I have the huge pleasure to introduce you to John Michie
Hi John and thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us.
Growing up, was Music your first love or did you have other creative interests in your life?
When I was a kid, I enjoyed music. It was the Brit Pop era so you couldn’t really get away from music unless you lived under a rock. Oasis was my band but I equally loved Blur. My sister listened to a lot of U2, Verve and the Stone Roses… Mum was more Beatles, Bread and Patsy Cline… and my dad who died when I was kid had a load of tapes with Pink Floyd and Abba and the like… So, I had a lot of exposure. My family are quite musical too with my grandpa being a pianist, grandad and uncle both drummers, cousins being in bands as well… But my real passion back then was basically studying and playing football.
I don’t have one of these stories where I was sniffing glue behind the bike sheds and nicking car stereos… I also had a really stable family. Quite fortunate, I guess. My story is really sedate and was basically about trying to get good grades and get a decent job. The actual playing of music came in around 15 years old when I got the desire to learn guitar. I wrote songs… but it never actually occurred to me to form a band or record. That happened a lot later in life when it dawned on me the technology and software was there to do it in a bedroom… if I had started earlier, I’d have needed some record label or the like or to spend my cash on recording studios. I was and still am too sensible to pursue those avenues…
Also when you started, who was your biggest inspiration?
Back in the early days of picking up guitar… my song writing inspiration would be the Beatles and Oasis. My playing God is definitely Dave Gilmour… But with recording… My biggest inspiration is Grimes. She is the artist that fires me up and who I 100% respect as an artist. She has proven that you can find an audience just by creating art that you enjoy and that to a large extent that there are no rules. Her early albums are not mastered well but the story and the progression for me is truly inspiring. It is the ambition of her work and the level of dedication that points me in the correct direction. Absolutely love that girl.
In the creative process, which brings you more satisfaction, when you have that first idea, or when you have the finished result in front of you?
Definitely the finished result. The writing of the song in a weird way I don’t enjoy so much 70% of the time as I don’t enjoy writing lyrics. The music bit is the hook for me that gets me started. I spend hours, days, weeks and months crafting these songs… tinkering. Working on each part. Some parts of that process I really enjoy and others not… like editing the silence out of vocal takes and putting the fades in. I like getting to the finished article and listening back and not knowing how I made it. When you have invested so much time into a large project of tracks it is definitely the end soundscape that does it for me.
What is the biggest difference in your music now compared to when you first started?
When I first started… even before I released anything my music sounded decidedly a copy of my record collection. I think there is a lot of acts out there that have this issue. Some make money out of it yes but it isn’t adding anything different to what is happening. Songs like Wish You Were Dead sounded like bog standard rock’n’roll tracks on the initial demos.
The main difference is now I am very confident on what is my sound. I have realized since those early days that I am ultimately making music for just me so anything goes. I also am a lot less worried about how other people judge my music. In short, I do not care now if people like it or not. The music is about me.
People will have their own interpretation and if what I have created has a message in it for them then that is great. That is a bonus.
What are you currently working on?
I am currently getting a song called “Riding the Light” ready for mixing. Has taken me three weeks to get it almost produced as it is an 87-track beast with lots of layers. It will be definitely on my next album.
Is a relief in a lot of ways to say that as I have been twiddling my thumbs a bit since my last record as I didn’t have a working computer. Can’t really describe what it sounds like… It is definitely my sound… but it has an incredibly nasty slide guitar solo at the end of it and as usual a lot of provocative sounds… and as always with me backwards bits here and there!
Part from that I am handling the promotion for The Roundlakes EP which is a collab I am in with OrangeG and Chris James Willows… I am really, really busy currently but that isn’t a bad thing.
What can we expect from your next album/ep?
Sonically I am hoping my next record will be a massive improvement on what I have done. I now have the Mac Studio that is allowing me to develop more ambitious soundscapes… and yes children I have managed to crash it a few times… but also, I have a lot of equipment that I didn’t have access to in the past like a bass and a decent microphone. I am also using a lot more tape emulation plugins so I am hoping it will sound less digital and instead warm like the releases of the past.
In terms of the final outcome, I am not 100% sure as I am at the start of it. Will ultimately depend on what songs make the final cut and what elements I add in as the finishing touches. From the songs that I currently favoring I think it will sound a bit early 1970s.
What is the one thing you would like your fans to know?
My table number in Wetherspoons every time I pop in there.
What is the one thing you would like the Music industry to know?
The big boys at Universal and Warner and all that?
I would like them to know that their shameful ageism, sexism and greed is actually harming their own business. Their group think idea of a Music Business is only a “safe” way of making money. They have a template of what sells. Young kids making repetitive songs that don’t innovate.
The reality though is that their template would not sign Bowie, Fleetwood Mac or Pink Floyd today. They’re harming themselves playing it safe when their biggest money makers are the past masters, they wouldn’t look at twice today.
But who am I? Some record exec will say that Michael Jacksons Beat It wouldn’t be a hit today but they’re wrong. The reality is they don’t have a clue beyond their safe space… if they did they’d be churning out Elvis with every act they signed.
That was my chat with John Michie, and me for one can’t wait to hear what he comes up with next!