In our latest Band Spotlight, we chat to Mikey Shiraz about joining Land Sharks, touring, inspirations and the band’s new album.
S] Yo dude, how are you?
I’m real good thank you buddy! Had a fun day just got back from the cinema, went to see Dr Sleep which was AWESOME!!! Go check it out.
S] What does Land Sharks give you that Mr. Shiraz doesn’t?
Well, I’m not the oldest in Land Sharks, so youth haha. Nah, but seriously it’s a very different band. Check this, this Dec it will be 20 years since the very first Mr Shiraz gig! How freaking nuts is that?! 20 years!
I have seen bands form, break up and reform and break-up again, and here we are still doing what we do and still loving it and pushing it. Land Sharks had to be different to Shiraz or what would be the point?
I was stoked to be asked to try out for vocals for Sharks, didn’t know what to expect and it’s blown me way. You read all the time about bands who don’t get on, and egos and stuff but I guess I’ve been lucky as neither band has any egos in them. Land Sharks has shown me that I can try a different vibe of music and still have fun and push myself.
It has given me a lot more confidence to try things vocally which I haven’t tried before. Also to come into a band with people of the pedigree that everyone in the band has and be welcomed has been great. It is also amazing to see the people who are fans of everyone’s other bands be so supportive. I have a lot of firsts with Land Sharks which I never expected 20 years into my music life. I got to play Leeds Academy, Manchester Albert Hall, and be on a Nightliner, it’s so cool. Also how we go about writing songs is worlds apart in both.
I won’t go into how, as that may bore you but to me it is very cool indeed. We have our second Land sharks record ‘Rock-A-Lips’ out in December and then we start recording a new Shiraz album in March. I feel like a very lucky dude!
S] How do you define success now?
Same way as always to be honest. If you are getting to go out and play live, have fun whilst doing it, travel about with your buddies and make a load of noise that you have written together then I’d say its pretty damn successful. I know people who are in big bands who HATE it, but we all love it!
S] What does the music industry mean to you now, in 2019?
The music industry will always keep evolving and changing and thats cool, the one thing I’m worried about is how Brexit (sorry to bring that up but it’s important) is going to hurt live music in the UK. I know loads of bands on the UK punk scene who head to the mainland a lot. How is that going to change if this thing goes through? Also, how will it effect UK venues trying to book bands from overseas? Prices are going to be driven up, and I worry that less bands will want to come over here as costs will be too high. I hope I’m wrong, but like everyone else I have no idea and that is scary.
S] How do you feel about touring?
Awesome! I wish we could tour all the time, but sadly that is not possible but if you get the opportunity to do it, then do!
S] What thoughts, places and experiences inspired ‘Dancing Through The Fire’?
For those who don’t know ‘Dancing in the Fire’ is a track from the first Land sharks EP and it is a BANGER!! It’s basically saying there is nothing wrong with letting your naughty side out, nothing wrong with showing your good side, as long as you are enjoying it and nobody is getting hurt – what does it matter? Dance with the Devil but have breakfast with a saint. Lyrics like ‘At this party, we’ll play Bacharach not Slayer’ is basically saying it doesn’t matter who you are, what you listen to, nothing, you can still have a good time and cause some shit! Also, Burt Bacharach is pretty damn amazing, as are Slayer.
S] Would you say that you’re a happy person?
Oh totally, I’m an eternal optimist. Always have been. I’ve seen 5 dogs today, I did a bunch of work, had a pillow fight in Ikea, went to the cinema, now I’m chatting to you. That’s a lot to be happy about.
Tomorrow, I’ll be at work, later going out for a buddy’s birthday. Sure shit things happen, I had a worrying time last week at work [The Parish, Huddersfield] with a stupid stressful gig, but it passed and that’s great.
I have many friends who suffer from depression and it is awful to see them hurt and I think it’s amazing that people are now able to stand up and say ‘look I’m not ok, I need help’. It has been a long time coming and hopefully we will see a lot more people able to get the help they need. I am truly thankful that hasn’t been me.
S] What advice would you give to young promoters and musicians who may be inspired by your work?
Have fun and be passionate about what you are doing. That is number one. You have to love it, or there really is no point, sure it can be stressful but look at all the good times that come out of it! Also, don’t take yourself too seriously, it makes you look silly, not good!