Mikey J’s ‘Suburban Musings’
OUT of Melbourne Australia comes ‘Suburban Musings’ a musically wide-ranging album from gifted multi-instrumentalist, Mikey J.
His fourth album in the past 12 months, ‘Suburban Musings’ consists of 11 tracks ranging from folk-rock ballads to power-pop, psychedelic rock and blues.
“It’s a very personal album,” he said. “I’m inspired by the great songwriters of old including The Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, Bob Dylan, Pink Floyd, Nirvana and more. The songs are based on my experiences, life, and family.
Growing up in a house surrounded by music – his father an accomplished pianist, drummer, and trumpeter – it was his mother who introduced him to one of his major inspirations.
“My mother introduced me to The Beatles and I was hooked,” he added. “The Beatles Red and Blue anthologies – the breadth of their work from the early lollipop rock through experimental, psychedelic and just awesomeness was mind blowing. I remember thinking how is it possible to have such a range of music over such a [relatively] short period.
“The Beatles are now tattooed on me, so yes, that was the first moment that made me go, yeah, this is what it’s about!
“After that? Another moment was ‘Nevermind’ by Nirvana. I thought, wow, here’s someone who maybe isn’t the best guitarist going around, but if he can do it why not me? I guess being a teenager when nirvana were hitting it big helped cos, ya know, angst and all!
“And the third big moment for me was AC/DC live in ‘96 – that was the first concert I went to by myself and what Angus did with the guitar was just mind blowing! I don’t think I’ll ever have his chops or showmanship, but man I liked to listen – even if I was deaf for a week thereafter!”
The mix of styles on ‘Suburban Musings’ makes for a curious yet pleasant journey, but it’s on the final track, ‘Dreams,’ where Mikey J appears at his confident, effortless best delivering a love song accompanied by a gorgeous ‘summer of love’ guitar solo. A courageous move to save the best until last.
“I always try to space out what I think are the best songs throughout the album,” he explained. “I like to leave listeners with something special in the hope of enticing them back. In this world of singles, it is a bold move doing an album, but I just love albums and getting to hear the diversity and progression of an artist. I also felt it was a nice light way to finish!
“My creative process is pretty simple. I’ll be tinkering on the guitar, bass or piano and an idea will come out. From there I will work on the instrumental parts, recording, editing, and updating as I go. Once I have run out of ideas for that period, I start on the lyrics. Lyric writing is something I do find challenging. I listen to the song and try and get a feeling or emotion out of it, as well as humming or singing nonsense lyrics until I get a melody.
“Once the lyrics are done, I record the vocals, add some harmonies and then it’s ready for mixing and mastering. I’ve learnt more about this process with every album and through meeting awesome folk in the indie music community.
“And I’d have to add that my favourite part of being a musician is definitely creating something wonderful and putting it out there. Having that little spark of inspiration and seeing it turn into a full song that is out in the world. When I get a message from others that they enjoyed a lyric, a guitar line or a connection with the message I get goosebumps. It’s just an amazing feeling.
“On the other hand, my least favourite part of being a musician is probably the marketing. Before I found the indie Twitter community, it really was a grind. These days I do enjoying getting on and chatting with likeminded and supportive musicians from all over the world. But you do feel at times that you are a minuscule drop in the musical ocean and that you can’t get any traction.
“But I really hope to continue writing and recording music. I’m working on album number five which will be a little more acoustic/unplugged in nature. I’m also doing some collaborating with some amazing musicians that is very exciting.”
Good times ahead for sure.
Mikey J’s back catalogue is available via his BandCamp site: https://mikeyjmusic.bandcamp.com