Singer-Songwriter Mi’das has released his new E.P ‘Stronger’, it is the third edition to his series of E.Ps called ‘The story so far’. I was able to interview Mi’das in order to find out more about ‘Stronger’, ‘The Story so far’ series and about the artist himself !
You have recently released your E.P ‘Stronger’; it features four tracks plus a remix and a radio edit. Can you give a summary of the E.P and the strategies that went into showcasing your work to the listener? The E.P. is called ‘Stronger’ and it represents my little wishes at the beginning of last year to spend more time doing my own music and by the time of this release for it to be going from strength to strength. It has not been easy but my vision for what I want to achieve, and what I’d like to say is definitely stronger than ever.
I must admit I didn’t over think the order, it just felt natural to be that way but it does tell its own story in the order that it is in. The first track ‘Wish Road’ is about the thought that we know deep down where we want our life to lead but its choosing to follow and accept that path. ‘Too Little Too Late’ is a song I wrote about 5 years ago and it’s about the the worry of growing old and having regrets about the life you’ve led (you didnt follow the path deep down). ‘Vienna’ encapsulates the feeling I and I’m sure many others have had when it seems that the grass is always greener or we’re always wanting something we don’t have. Its about the inner battle with sticking to the path you know deep down you want.
When I was writing the song I had never been to Vienna and it seemed to sum up the feeling of wanting to be somewhere else other than the here and now.
You have been releasing a series of E.Ps titled ‘The Story So Far’ with the E.P.s ‘Glow’, ‘Grow’ and now ‘Stronger’ what were the themes of each of these E.Ps? ‘Glow’represented the distant glimmer of what could be achieved if I headed out as an artist on my own. I kept the E.P. raw and the bulk of the performances are live takes of the songs in thier most basic form. ‘Grow’was about the growth that can come from working with others and the influence I’ve had through the musicians I respect and admire. Again this was recorded live but fleshed out with an amazing band performing with me in the studio. This last EP ‘Stronger’ I wanted to be my first proper statement as a more fully fomed artist. It is by no means the end of the road for where I want to head with my music but it gives a glimpse into some of the directions I may take with the album which I am currently working on.
You have noticeably (having listened to the E.P) worked very hard on the tracks that are on the E.P. can you explain exactly what went in to the creation of the finished product? I’ve had these songs for many years and have just chipped away at them slowly getting them just how I wanted so I had those in place before the recording started last March. When I began, I set out to do the whole thing myslef in terms of production and a large part of the playing too as I play bass, keyboards and guitar.
What actually happened was I played my early ideas to my friend James Wyatt who I worked with on Eliza Doolittle’s live shows and he loved them and offered to get involved. He was a massive assest to the E.P. and brought he’s skills as an arranger/ producer and string player to the music. What resulted was a much more finished sound than I ever could have achieved myself, and I am really proud of it. I did some of recording in the a studio called ‘State of the Ark’ in Richmond which last year was used by the likes of ‘The Who’, ‘James Morrison’ and ‘Richard Ashcroft’ to name a few but also did bits at my home studio and James Wyatts studio. We were also very lucky to get it Mastered at Abbey Road by the amazing Christian Wright (Ed Sheeran) who masters alot of the big artists that come through the doors. Just hearing the music played in that room was a great moment.
The tracks are very descriptive and sincere. Was it easy for you to write in this way or did you have to dig further in order to unlock them?
As I have mentioned, these songs have been with me for quite sometime. I wrote some of them at quite dark moments in my life and hence they still mean alot to me. The process was long and since writing these I’ve adopted quite a few different approaches to writing but I am still proud of the work that went into the lyrics especially.
Your style is relatively distinct, which as an artist is very important in order to stand out. What are your main musical influences and how have you incorporated them into your own music?
I have so many influences from all types of music but when making my own material I tend to come back to things that have a soulful element. I also like songwriting that can concisely convey a sentiment in 3 or 4 minutes. Some artists that are big influences are ‘Stevie Wonder’, ‘Ray Charles’, ‘Foy Vance’, ‘Gregory Porter’, ‘Alan Stone’ etc.
Songwriting is very personal and approaches vary from songwriter to songwriter; some can write in any environment but others prefer to write in more specific spaces. Are you picky as to where you write? And where do you typically write your music? If its a very personal song I actually like writing outside on a sunny day (when they rarely come around!), for some things like a party song I like to write after a few red wines! ha. Most ideas start in my little studio though, I just jam melodies and chord sequences and then add lyrics later on.
Have you been gigging in the past year? Yeah! I’ve been gigging alot especially the last six months. I have done lots of gigs across London at venues like the Jazz Cafe, Under the Bridge in Chelsea , Concrete in Shoreditch, The Troubadour in Fullum etc and I’ve also supported bands such as Brother Strut, and Jo Harman. These last few weeks I’ve just finished supporting the band 5ive here in the UK and that was a great experience. They’re great guys and the fans were really lovely to me, it was my first experience of playing my songs to audiences up to 2000 people and a highlight was the show at the Shepherds Bush Empire in London.
Will you be gigging in the coming months of 2015? Yes, I have plenty of shows throughout the summer and some festivals also and will then be getting prepared for my own UK tour in October.
How important is rhyme to you? Sometimes it is what I am after but usually if there’s an interesting rhyme to be had. I like the challenge of writing without rhyme sometimes and finding a way for it to still hang together.
You are already visually accessible on YouTube but will you be releasing official music videos for any of the tracks on the E.P? I’ve just released the first video from this EP which is for the opening track ‘Wish Road’. It is a lyric video really but im still proud of it as it was illistrated by a talented artist friend called James Kuszewski who I met at music college. Following that, this year I would like to release a short film style video for one of the other songs at some point.
Do you remember the first song you ever wrote and how you felt when you sang it to an audience for the first time? I am a bit unsure as to the first song I wrote with lyrics that I performed, but one that was early on was called ‘Forgive and Forget’ and I would play that at open mics and get a good reaction as it was a sincere and honest song. I was probably really nervous at the time as its taken me a long time to gain confidence on stage.
You would busk on the streets at the start of your journey, but at what point did this really change for you? The real big change was when I got to London the second time I moved there. the first time was a real struggle but the second time it all just fell into place and I meet so many people and lots of opportunities arose.
If you could describe your music using three words what would they be and why? Eclectic, soulful, pop. That sums up where I am coming from. I love all the amazing music of the past and a lot of good stuff from the present. I also love anything that has soul to it that you can feel, that might not come from the voice but something else in the music. And finally I do like my pop music, I like the message to be reasonably concise with my solo material.
What is your musical background? Was your family very musical? Yes I have a large musical family but especially my twin Brother who plays drums and my older Brother who plays piano both were a big part of why I got into music. From there I ran with the batton and studied guitar at college and for some years after. I’ve never stood still since then, always learning a new instrument or studying a new style which I think has put me in good stead to make a career out of it.
Do you keep a notebook? I did for many years and I still have them if I ever need ideas to dip into. These days though I keep notes on my phone and have many many folders that I keep online with ideas as and when they come.
Any big plans for 2015-2016? I’ll be working on the album for the rest of this year and as I mentioned have my own UK tour in October. I’ll be making my way out to some shows in Europe also which I am looking forward to. Lots to keep me busy as always and that’s the way I like it!
I love the fact that Mi’das has released a series of E.Ps and that they all tell such a personal story into his journey to becoming the artist he is today. As an artist you are faced with many obstacles but it is for the artists themselves to turn those obstacles into motivation to make achievements and that in hindsight make you a stronger artist by the end. However the journey never really ends, so I hope that Mi’das continues to excel as an artist and that he achieves everything that he has set out to achieve.
To find out more about Mi’das and his future gigs and progress, follow the links below and keep yourselves updated:
Written By: Samantha McQueeney