Those of you who’ve been reading Joyzine since our earliest days back in 2003 (yes, both of you) will likely have encountered Southampton-based singer-songwriter Mike Gale in numerous forms over the years. Black Nielson, the indie-folk bands that he fronted through three wonderful albums, were interviewed at Truck Festival for the very first online edition of our site, and following their split a few years later we featured Co-Pilgrim‘s mix of chugging US lo-fi influenced guitars and gorgeous Beach Boys melancholy many a time, with 2017’s Moon Lagoon making our end of year best of list and its title track even featuring on our 15th birthday compilation album. In 2015 he began releasing music under his own name for the first time, and has been prolific ever since, with his tenth solo LP (and 18th album in total) Mañana Man out later this month.
Mañana Man sees Gale continue the experiments with samples that he began on previous record Twin Spirit, fusing them with traditional instrumentation into a set of ethereal melody-rich pop songs. We caught up with Mike to ask ten questions about his approach to music.
1) We’ve been covering your music since the early days of this millennium with Black Neilson – what inspires you to keep making music 20+ years on?
Just a genuine love for making music, still trying to explore sounds and try new things. If I made music with some thought about making money or having success then I would have stopped years ago.
2) How has your approach to making music changed since you started out?
I don’t think it’s changed that much. I’m still very instinctive, I don’t like to spend too much time on things. The enjoyment for me is that feeling of not really being in control anymore.
3) What is the best description of your music that you’ve read/heard in a review?
I had a review for the last album that called me a UK version of a combination of Robert Pollard and R.Stevie Moore. I’ll take that.
4) How important is the visual/aesthetic side of your music and why?
Not terribly important. I have a friend who makes all of my album covers and they’re always brilliant and compliment the music. Apart from that, as long as I’m visible as little as possible then I’m happy.
5) What do you enjoy most and least about playing live?
I actually stopped playing live 4 years ago because I didn’t enjoy anything about it anymore. I was never a big fan of it anyway but the feeling sick before shows and general anxiety associated with it got too much.
6) Is there a venue or city that you’d especially love to play, and why?
I’d like to do a gig in Tokyo because that would mean I was in Tokyo.
7) If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be and why?
I would ban the use of the word ‘drop’ to describe releasing an album.
8) If you could collaborate with any artist, past or present, who would it be and what would you work on together?
At the moment I’m obsessed with People Under the Stairs so it would have to be those guys. We’d do some kind of lo-fi hip hop indie thing. I’d just do what they told me.
9) Who is your favourite new band/artist that we should be checking out and what do you like about them?
I’m way too old to be involved with new artists, I don’t have the energy. I guess I sort of like one of those Wet Leg songs it’s impossible to avoid at the moment.
10) If you could give any aspiring musicians one piece of advice, what would it be?
Don’t listen to anyone’s advice.
Mañana Man is out on 20th May as a digital download via Bandcamp
Article by Paul Maps