COFFEE HOUSE SESSIONS: An interview with Mike Watson
As part of the Coffee House Sessions, music editor Chloe and I interviewed artist Mike Watson after his performance at the Guild.
Rachael: As you said earlier, you’ve had a few Coffee House Sessions this morning, so how are they all going so far?
Mike: They’re going really good, thanks! I think its day seven or eight of them so far… I’ve lost track… and we’ve done about 14 shows so far and they’ve all been really good! I’ve got one more today, three tomorrow, three the day after and then it’s all done! I’ts been hectic but a lot of fun.
Rachael: We heard you also used to be in a band, so how is it to tour solo in comparison with touring alongside bandmates?
Mike: It’s very different, I must admit. When you’re with four other boys, they become like brothers so when you feel a bit down or a bit low they can pick you up with their jokes and with how much time you spend with them… but when you’re on your own you just have to watch YouTube videos or something like that to make you happy. It is good though because you have no one to annoy you either, so you have a balance there! I enjoy travelling solo, because I sometimes do just like my own company which is lucky.
Chloe: How was touring with bands like Maroon 5 and MAGIC!, that’s a bit mad?!
Mike: It was pretty crazy, you’re telling me! I still remember when they asked me whether or not I’d like to go on tour with them and I thought it was a wind-up, but it turned out to be true?! So I went and I did it and I learned so much from it! They were so nice, like they never once made me feel like I shouldn’t be there, they were super supportive. It was called the ‘Good guys tour‘ because afterwards, they wouldn’t just go and relax, they’d speak to us which was nice.
Chloe: I suppose with people like that, a lot of people might think they’d be in their own bubble?
Mike: Yeah, I mean you’re right because obviously it’s their show they’ve got so much going on, but they always made time when they we’re walking past me on the corridors to tell me it was a good set or just to check that everything was alright. There’s a really good story to tell about a time I got really ill after the second London show and I had to go to hospital, so I missed the next show and James Valentine the guitarist sent me a nice message saying like “If you don’t man up I’m gonna take your place!” haha cheers mate… but that just sums him up really. They’re all really lovely.
Rachael: So when you’re on tours like that, what do you play? Do you do your own songs or covers?
Mike: I think it’s always important to do covers, because obviously as a brand new artist no-one really knows who you are. So if you do four songs that are just your stuff, obviously you know what they are but people watching don’t, so you have to give them something. And as a support act, your job really (obviously you want to promote yourself and your music as well) it’s primarily to get the crowd ready to warm them up, so covers are always important.
Rachael: Which songs do you find are the ones that get the best reaction?
Mike: I’m gonna have to talk about Maroon 5 again but my favourite song to cover before that tour was She Will Be Loved’ by Maroon 5, because everyone knows it! I just did it out there, and everyone loves it! So I always try to do that and then I try and do a little medley to try and catch people out, so I always put four songs together. I used to do Justin Bieber, and mash it with Bob Marley and MAGIC! and someone else. Today I did Justin Timberlake with Havana [by Camila Cabello] with Dua Lipa and then Oasis, just chuck em all in!
Chloe: Well Oasis are like my number ones so that caught me!
Mike: You like them then?! I’m actually from Manchester so I love them as well!
Rachael: So as a new artist, and for people who have never listened to you before, how would you describe your style of music in three words?
Mike: Ahh in just three words? …I’ll say ‘pop’, ‘catchy’, and probably a little bit ‘dark’… Can I elaborate?
Chloe: Go for it!
Mike: Can’t remember what I said now! Well my mum describes it like the choruses are ‘bangers’ but the verses are always a little bit down-tempo, just to create tension a little bit really, so that’s why I say that.
Chloe: You mentioned about releasing an EP, so tell us more!
Mike: Yeah! All the songs are ready pretty much. I’ve been recording for about a year and a bit now so everything is ready to go, it’s been produced, there’s just a final few tweaks, but the EP should be out March/ April time…? And I’m really excited! It’s got a similar vibe to [single] Lying For Love, it’s not a million miles from that, but I think that there’s some that are even better and I feel more strongly about, so I hope everyone enjoys it when it comes out.
Chloe: What are you influenced by?
Mike: Well my favourite bands… I’m quite weird like it sounds ridiculous but I love all music apart from heavy, heavy metal, like what are you doing? I can’t hear you! But yeah, my favourite bands are Oasis, OneRepublic, Maroon 5, Coldplay, Stereophonics and then I like so much old stuff too. I grew up in a really musical family, like my Mum and my Grandmas are all music teachers, my dad plays the guitar, so he used to give me Elton John and at lunchtime he’d be like “What’s this song? What year was it out? Which album is it from?” and I’d be like 10 and say “uhh Rocketman?? 1970 something??” I can’t even remember now! So Elton John and The Eagles I’d say from my parents side. I always like to use loads of harmonies and The Eagles have soooo many harmonies so that’s where I’d say I get that from.
Chloe: Okay, so last question… If you could be an animal what would you be?
Mike: OOH what a question that is! I’d probably have to say a lion…cub. Yeah a lion cub because I think I’m quite nice on the outside but I’ve got a little bit of bite if something goes wrong, but not too big of a bite! I’m not nasty. So yeah like a six year old lion, not a massive hench one.
If you like what you see here, check out Mike Watson’s single Lying For Love on the following link: