New Album Release: Mike Head’s ‘E.S.P. Blues’

Tell us about yourself and your music

I’ve been playing guitar since I was a junior in college (over twenty years ago). A friend living down the hall in my dorm let me mess around on his guitar occasionally. I had recently taken-up djembe drum (which drove my neighbors nuts), but thought that I couldn’t fully express what I had to say through percussion—I had been a longtime poet already. I then took a few jazz guitar lessons, and before long… I was writing my own songs and paying particular attention to not covering or transcribing other people’s work because I thought that would stunt or overly influence my own intrinsic voice. It proved to be a long and interesting road since everyone usually imitates other artists, and I felt like I was trying to reinvent the wheel for decades. Maybe I’ve been waiting for some listeners to be ready for my sound.

Talk to us more about your latest release

This is my fifth album release. This album is my most cohesive and best-articulated project to date. Not only was I genuinely inspired, but all songs are professionally mastered and I spent long hours learning how to better mix my sound after my songs were written and recorded. ‘ESP Blues’ consists of recent originals and a couple of remixes of some older songs that most people have yet to hear.

What inspired you to write this release?

I wanted to reach a broader audience. I am of the mind that many people enjoyed my songs on websites that I had placed them on already, and that I should make conscious effort to spread the good word.  Almost one in four listeners had favorited my song “Through a Prism” on and immediately put it on their personal playlist after their first listening, and thousands of people have heard that song since.  I suppose it’s my most popular right now 

Describe the writing and recording process

write “on the go”.  When I’m struck by the muse I either write the lyrics as soon as possible on my phone or go home to record the guitar rhythm track and immediately begin filling in the whole composition by adding drums, bass, and keyboard, etc. on the GarageBand app. I use a special mic that plugs into my phone to heighten the quality of sound.  So, basically, everything can be mappedout within minutes being mobile and using the flick of the wrist as a recording studio.  These are not the days of Keith Richards waking up and getting his riffs down on 8track anymore, technology has managed some wonderful things for sure and this is a prime example.  Mind you nothing can replace the feeling and experience of playing with others livebut I can write and record a song at home in a day sometimes and still have time to go to a job and attend to things of other important nature—Awesome!  I always figured when I found the right people I’d be able to articulate the song properly live.  This is an unbelievable world we live in and I invite others to join in on the fun.  Using the GarageBand app to its fullest capabilities really can help one’s own composing sensibilities. However, music thrives in the community, and I have yet to find the right drummer, bassist, and keyboardist to gel with.  So, this is also a shout out to all of you reading this press release… if you live in the Boston area and want to jam (percussionists, stringed instruments, vocalists, etc.) go to my website or come to one of my open mics, and if you like what you hear on my album or live let’s talk… and let’s create!  

Any plans to release a video?

As an indie artist, how do you brand yourself and your music to stand out from the rest of the artists out there?

As mentioned before, in over twenty years of practicing, performing, and recording music I have rarely ever done a cover of another artist’s song.  I just don’t feel right usually playing other people’s music, and I have for a long time.  I like to think of my songs as original from the start, and maybe the recording process I have mentioned before.  My guitar leads may put their own stamp on the sound as wellMy message however is pretty universal though, I don’t write about moods usually, but things of a more lasting nature: love, peace, the circumstances that arise from rites of passage, nature, and the supernatural.  My lyrics have been considered very visual.   

Who have you been listening to lately?

I’ve been listening to a lot of Steely Dan lately, perhaps because of their meticulous sound engineering and production.  Plus, I just love them.  Some of the artists on my own recent playlist include Squeeze, Bahamas, New Order, The Beatles, John Coltrane, Coldplay, Fono, and Led Zeppelin.    

Who are your biggest influences?

I’d say The Beatles and Bob Marley are two of the most influential bands now and in my formative years especially. Their individual messages were for everyone and everything, for all time.  And they sure had their stuff together spiritually 

Tell us about your passions

Ice-Coffee mostly.  And poetry is the food of life (plus, my attention span for reading is sometimes limited so I I like it short, profound, and sweet).  I love nature and try to get there whenever I can.  I’m a Gemini, so I like to converse in general with whoever can keep up with me, enjoying a tasty beverage, listening to music, reading, watching Ozark or movies in generaland perambulating—individually or all at the same time because we also love to multitask and juggle things cerebrally.  I sailed a lot when I was younger and love the oceanshe’s beautiful, unfathomable, and totally unforgiving

What else is happening next in your world?

I might be moving to New Hampshire soon and practice the sound with my brother who lives nearby and also plays guitar. But I’ll still be playing in the Boston area as much as possible.  



Thanks for an awesome interview, Mike Head



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