S] Hey mate, how are you?
Great thank you! The sun is shining, new album about to drop, there are dogs lying by my feet snoozing, so all in all life is pretty good!
S] Talk us through the inspirations behind ‘Glorious’?
Lyrically, it’s a very positive record for the most part. It’s about self-belief, understanding that yes, shitty stuff may happen but those times will pass, and you will still be a bad ass so don’t let the crap that happens define you.
It’s about friendship, it’s about love, it’s about sticking together, it’s about sometimes feeling like you could fight God and win….. there is also a song about a dude who turns into a dog.
S] How does it push you particularly, Mikey in new ways as an artist?
I’m a naturally positive person y’know? I like to try and find the good in most situations. Having these guys in a band with me is the best though. Tori, Tim and I have been in Shiraz FOREVER, and always loved it. Adding Iain and Steve to the mix really helped us as a band find ourselves sound-wise, and really work out who we are as a band, as artists, we have realised that we are pretty rad!
S] How do you define success as an artist, and as a person?
The fact that we are still standing after more than 20 years, I see that as success as artists. That we can still get out there playing songs together all over the place, I see that as success as artists. That we can travel all over, and meet up with people we can call real friends that we wouldn’t have ever met if it wasn’t for being in this band, that’s success as a person. Be it people we’ve met at gigs who came to a show, bands we have played with, just random meetings that wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t because of being in Mr Shiraz and have gone on to become lifelong friendships, that’s what I love!
S] What have you learned about yourself, from the beginning of your career, up until now?
The things I saw as important when we started to now have definitely changed a hell of a lot. I remember when we started, and I would just be thinking about how you need a major record deal, arena tours, and more! Now, I have realised I don’t need that. As I said before, I’m a naturally positive person. I’ve become more so as I’ve got older. Silly things make me smile, make me happy. I like to think I don’t have the ego I used to have – I mean it is still there a bit, we are awesome!
S] How have you changed and developed, personally, and as a musician?
Personally I don’t live my life with it being all about me y’know? I guess that goes for all of us. A few of the band have kids now, the rest of us have dogs and cats, which is EXACTLY the same and I won’t hear any different. So, your priorities change that way.
I have become far more emotional, I mean I would always cry at things like a Garfield advert, but now I find I get sparkly eyed so much easier, but not in a sad way! If I hear someone saying something nice about something, it automatically makes me swell up. I like to see people do well. I don’t think that was always the case. I used to get jealous in my early 20s but I don’t anymore, guess I’m just more content. Man, this is like a therapy session!
As musicians I don’t think we’ve ever been happier or better. It’s just a lovely creative environment when we are all in the practice room together. Nobody is worried about throwing their ideas in now. I know personally I used to be, I’m the vocalist, and they are the musicians so I’d worry that I’d sound stupid. We have a great dynamic. We have all been friends for so long now that we are totally comfortable around each other. Mr Shiraz in 2022 is a great place to be.
S] What is your message to Mr Shiraz supporters, who have been there since the beginning?
Just a huge thanks! We are so grateful that people still want to come and see us play and hear new music. I know how much we have changed since we started as an 8-piece ska band all those years ago, and it was a shock to some, but to have you lot all here means the world!
S] Anything else you’d like to plug?
Well the new album ‘Glorious’ is released July, through Bad Granola Records, it’s produced by the lovely Andy Hawkins and it is 13 bad ass songs, and maybe the coolest album cover EVER! Have a listen and we truly hope you all enjoy as much as we enjoyed writing it!
Actually on the day of release we are doing a launch show at Parish in Huddersfield with support from our buddies Carol Hodge Band and Split Lips so if ya can, then come along and party with us! You rule!
S] Thanks for the time!