In Conversation with Mike Blue…..
Well, is this the summer we were all hoping for come early, or just a teasing glimpse of what is to come? Talking of glimpses of talent, you would be best to check out the four exquisite tracks on Mike Blue’s YouTube channel. Here is a quick overview of each song, but our recommendation is just to dive in and enjoy!
“Back the Way We Came” – the perfect song for those melancholy twilight summer moments. Wistful and insightful, poetry to music.
“I Cut Myself Shaving” – introduced by some lovely finger picking, Blue drawls through his musings and welcomes us into his artistic world.
“My Colombian Shirt” – Again, his voice of liquid gold oozes over the melody of remembrance and forgetting. “You know you always have a friend….its alright”
“I Wish My Life Was Like An 80’s Movie” – Classic Blue. What you need to know about this Artist is all here.
So lets have an insight into the vision of Mike Blue….
LN: You have four songs uploaded on YouTube in a short space of time. What’s the plan?
MB: I recorded a bunch of songs at Parr Street Studios the other month – sort of like Bootlegs, some were just ideas, and some were songs I’ve been sat on for a while. I recorded them like this because I wanted to show people that you can still write a half decent song and not have it layered with loads of excessive overlays and fancy effects; you don’t always have to spend a shed load of money on something that you probably would have written with just one guitar, a simple melody and a basic idea in your head. Above all, I wanted to highlight the bare, stripped down element of song writing that can often go overlooked with modern day recordings. Don’t get me wrong, I love band arrangement of songs, and nobody loves a synth more than me, but I dunno, I didn’t want to lose the essence of what the songs were about. If you hand me a pasty, all I’m bothered about is the filling and the pastry. (That might be a bad analogy because those are the *only* components of a pasty, but you get the gist.)
LN: Where did you record, and what was the production process?
MB: I recorded these songs at Parr Street Studios a few months ago. It was a basic process, Alex Quinn who was my engineer just put me in a booth and set up a few microphones around the room. On some of the tracks you can hear my chair creak and the song of my fingers sliding along the fretboard. I like that it’s so stripped down. People can literally just hear a simple guitar and the lyrics; I’ve never considered myself a good singer, but I like the idea that my songs can tell stories and appeal more to the imagination of the mind rather than the ear. There’s no such thing as a bad authentic song.
LN: Did you approach these songs differently from before, with reference to the compositional process?
MB: I’ve had these songs for a while. I recorded 15 in total and I plan to release the rest over the coming weeks. The process has generally always been the same for me. I get an idea in my head or a feeling or an event that I can’t shake. It just naturally comes out on the guitar. I imagine for people who write it comes out in their prose or poetry; people show creativity and voice themselves in lots of different ways and I’ve always just been lucky to be able to pick up a guitar and use that as the medium. Make no mistake, I’m no Chet Baker, I’m no Dylan; I don’t necessarily own the incomprehensible compositional techniques that these guys had, but you know, its better than just letting it all build up, letting it go and not having something tangible that accurately displays what you were feeling at that point in time.
LN: How do you view the Merseyside Music Scene, and where do you view your position within it?
MB: This is a difficult one. I don’t think I hold the most popular view point, and people might reject it. But, I’ve be playing in Liverpool for a few years now, both as a solo artist, in bands and as a busker, and a lot of times I think that the scene can be dominated by cliques. I’ve seen artists and bands who are great not get the proper support purely because they can’t fill venues such early on in their musical careers and then not get the same opportunities as other bands even though they might have a bigger drive or songs that are more relatable to other bands in the scene. It’s a shame because I know people who have said the same to me, and I know personally that what people to say to you and what they actually do are two different things. Like anywhere, the whole “who you know” thing is an element here, as always. But it’s a shame, because I know artists and bands that are given more attention for arguably unfair reasons than other bands and that’s disheartening. I don’t say this lightly, and maybe it is just me. But I’ve been gigging now for nearly five years and its these issues that keep cropping up to me. However, with that said I think that Liverpool is alive with amazing talent, and I’m proud to amongst such driven and hardworking people. And at the end of the day I take my hat off to anybody who gets up on stage and bashes out something that’s personal to them. I would never slate anybody who is authentic and doesn’t lose their focus or integrity as an artist.
LN: Who are your big inspirations?
MB: Man, I don’t even know what an aspiration is anymore. Just looking good in drag would be cool. No, at once, when I was younger, it was to walk out on stage to a packed-out arena and play a bunch of my songs. Then it was to just see myself on a stage. Then to just being able to find inspiration to write a good song and now I’m not so sure what it is. I think the big picture would be to show people who are around my age and a little younger that you don’t need much. You just need a will to put yourself into a song or to something creative, and you think it’s worth people hearing then you just get out there and doing it. I guess if your aspirations are like mine then you don’t need somebody like me telling you what to do. Writing songs is something I feel like I was just always make to do, so If I can get to a stage where I can always support myself from making music then I guess that would be pretty cool. Fat chance, right?
LN: What future plans have you got?
MB: My future plans are kind of pie in the sky at the moment. I guess it’s the same as any other musician. It’s hard-doing things solo because if you’re like me, sometimes you don’t even have a “team” to fall back on. Sometimes it’s all down to you and that’s a lot of pressure, that’s not always been the case for bands in the past – I’m not too sure where to go or what to do in terms of all the “big” questions. I don’t know the first thing about social media, or branching out to people or managing myself, or getting the right gigs – basically all the things record companies and management look for. All I know how to do is write something that’s personal to me and that I think people can sometimes identify with. Rest assured, I’ll be doing all I can to get myself out there, I’ll keep playing the gigs, I’ll keep busking and I’ll never stop writing songs – but I dunno after that.
LN: Thanks Mike. Appreciate your time, and all the best with the project!!
For more information follow the Mike Blue Facebook page here.