Tuesday, 12 November 2013

NEXT TO THE SEA: Our interview with Liverpool based Mick Flaherty!

What was your first musical memory and what pushed you towards pursuing a career in the record industry?
"Probably hating music as a child, then discovering metal and then punk around twelve years old and for the first time having something resonate with me. Obviously Chris De Burg and New Kids on The Block just didn't have an emotional impact on me. Though I can recall hearing Iron Lion Zion aged about ten and having a fondness for it, as well as some of the music my dad listened too when I was a child, the likes of The Police and early U2. So that always has a nostalgic value to me."
Had you been involved with any other bands prior to becoming a solo artist as Mick Flaherty?
"The last band I was in prior to becoming solo was a band called Serren Fore. I was the bassist, and did no vocal parts at all. So it's been a bit of a change the last few years I guess ."
Why did you choose to become a solo artist instead of forming a band?
"Necessity more than anything else. I had spent a few months of putting out adverts trying to find other musicians of a similar mind set and approach and found it was not getting anywhere so I eventually bit the bullet and just went for it, otherwise I could have easily been still sat at home two or three years later writing music and never getting out there. I suppose I haven't looked back since and I now have total creative freedom in regards to writing and no personality clashes. Though I have been doing a few rehearsals with a drummer and a bassist with the intention of having the option to create a bigger live sound, so hopefully that will come to fruition in the near future."
How would you describe the sound of Mick Flaherty?
"I really wish I knew, It would make things easier. I know that I'm not your typical Scouse/Northern sound. I did have a local music publication describe me as a tortured soul pouring his neurosis into the melting pot and unleashing something between fragility and potent slabs of power with avant garde folk styling's and the darkest of electronica. So read into that what you will haha."
You have recently released a double A-sided single featuring ‘Next to the Sea’ and ‘Where Did We Go Wrong”. The single has quite powerful artwork that reflects the music well, do you consider the artwork to be an important component when releasing music?
"I try to put images to words and sounds. That particular piece was me with a camera on one of my walks to pass the time and I'm also a visual artist too, so I view music the same way in the sense that I see it as painting landscapes with sound. It wasn't an intentional piece for that song, but when it came to using something visual it seemed the most fitting and I have tended to stick with it as such. I'm actually really pleased you like it to be honest as I try not to judge anything myself due to being terribly self critical at times."
‘Next to the Sea’ is a great modern folk song. What influenced the song and what is the song itself about?
"It comes from the recollections of a couple of days spent with a girl who completely captured not just my heart, but my mind and soul in a way that no one else ever has. We spent a few days camping on a beach and it was a magical time for me. However, these things never go smoothly and by that point we had become very close as friends in the months prior to that, without ever getting to spend much time together due to the physical distance that was often there. So to spend that time together was like a tightrope of do I risk breaking this amazing bond or do I accept the situation for what it is. Then time moves on, the physical distance becomes an issue and as such over time the emotional connection begins to reflect that distance. I think it was a case of looking at one of those what if moments and trying to move on from there, though half still wishing that things could have possibly turned out differently under different circumstances really."
‘Where Did We Go Wrong’ contrasts the other track as it almost has an electronic backbeat. What is this song about and what influenced it?
"Again lyrically I'm trying to put my own demons behind me. The breakdown of a relationship that started in the most amazing of circumstances, the sleepless nights spent with things eating up the back of your mind and the realisation of only you can get out of it yourself. I suppose in a way it's a sense of closure and a message of self empowerment with the realisation of discovering that at the end of it, was that person you were at that point in your life actually really you, or were you filling a role to satisfy the perceptions of someone else. Musically the piece came about from me playing around with one of Ben Howards songs on guitar, and due to having a short attention span with guitar tabs I find I just end up playing about in a particular tuning or picking pattern and an hour or so later I've forgot what I was intending to do and ended up with the basis for a song idea. The lyrics were taken near enough as full from an older song that I had discarded and just worked rhythmically with very little editing. Though I did find myself reworking the second verse and outro."
Do you have any 'rituals' before going on stage?
"I never drink before I play and other than that I think it would just be the on stage set up and the order of how I do it. I suppose that is more logistical than anything, but it has become a ritual in itself. The pre show alcohol ban could also be classed as such, I have too many leads, inputs/outputs, volume levels and things that can go horribly wrong to approach it any other way haha."
Any live dates coming up?
"As of the time of writing, I have a support slot for the excellent 'Black Mountain Lights' at the Zanzibar Club in Liverpool on October 26th. If any promoters wish to offer me any more shows then I'm more than willing to oblige. Little hint there!"
Any new songs in the pipeline?
"There are still two or three half finished recordings from what was intended to be an EP release which I will hopefully get finished at some point. Though I have got another five on the go. To which I've finished three and been testing them at a couple of open mics. Other than that I've also been revisiting a few older ones that I haven't got around to recording, or played in a while. So there will always be something in the pipeline. I find I get bouts of writers block, then suddenly three or four song ideas just come out of nowhere. So as I say, there will be always something, even if it remains half finished for six months it will be revisited and completed at some point."
When can fans be expecting the next release?
"Unfortunately it all comes down to finances on that point. I did hope to have a five track EP set for physical release before September, but my funds dried up on that front and as such I had two tracks that I felt were at a level I was happy with to put out there. On the plus side I have had some label interest regarding some of my techno ideas so I'm currently discussing the terms of publishing rights with them. So who knows. Fingers crossed it won't be too long in that sense. Again, I'm going to be a little cheeky and throw the offer out there to anyone willing to invest...well if you don't ask!"
Who would be your dream collaboration?
"Paco De Lucia, Claude Debussy and Aphex Twin...interesting!"
Who would be in your dream super group?
"Liz Frazer on vocals, DJ Shadow programming beats, Jimi Hendrix on guitar and Les Claypol on bass...maybe with Immortal Technique doing his thing over the top of it with some spoken word from Gill Scott Heron."
Favourite Beatle?
"Here's where I get controversial now and say I've never really been a big Beatles fan. However, I would be torn between John, for the fact he stood for something and found ways to channel that anger of his youth into something else later in his life, and George because he was understated and overlooked for the quality musician that he was and obviously very much in touch with his spiritual side. As such, I'm picking George."
Favourite band?
"I think I'm going to have to go for Radiohead."
Favourite new band?
"I'm going to have to pick two different solo artists who have been a big influence on me as of late...First up Silent cities aka Simon Maddison, and Denis Jones. If your not familiar with either, check them out."
Favourite song?
"It's not a song, but I think that Fryderyk Chopins nocturne op. 9 no. 1 in b flat minor is probably the most amazing composition that has ever graced my ears."
Favourite album?
"Again, these things change with my moods, but as of late I've been giving OK Computer and For Hero For Fool by Subtle repeated listens."
Vinyl, CD or download?
"I love vinyl, but I think for practicality (and my age group) I'd have to say CD...though the idea of downloads are still a little magical to me. However, I like a physical product as such. I think it becomes more valued in that sense."
Style icon?
"I think one would look at me and would suggest I probably don't have one!"
Favourite clothing brand?
"I think most of my wardrobe has been donated to me by others once they've found their clothing has gotten too small. Materialism has never been big on my agenda."
Favourite film?
"The Good The Bad And The Ugly."
Favourite TV show?
"I'm not a watcher of TV. I find it a tool of perception management and culture creation from the top down. So at a push I would have to pick something subversive like Family Guy. Though I take things on recommendation, so I might just get around to starting Game of Thrones at some point soon, then Breaking Bad (once the hype has died down)!"
Who would play you in a film of your life?
"I'm going to be really unoriginal and say Johnny Depp, just because he is an amazing actor and not just because he is better looking than me. Plus he had Hunter S. Thompson down to perfection. Who is a bit of a hero of mine."
Favourite food?
"I've spent many years working in catering, so I avoid fast food as much as possible. I don't think I'd have a favourite food. Good food is like good music, it is varied in tastes and has different impacts for what it is. The main thing is a good balance of flavours and textures. Though I enjoy the social aspect of a good meal really, and if possible, over a charcoal grill on a Mediterranean beach with friends and good wine!"
Football team?
"Everton FC."
Hope you enjoyed this feature on Mick Flaherty! Check out our previous feature on Derek King!
Check out Serren Fore here - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aehppRP5NiI
You can also like our Facebook page to keep up to date with all future interviews at the following link - https://www.facebook.com/aldorabritainrecords

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