Interview with Mick Michaels of Corners Of Sanctuary and Pete Devine of Pete’s Rock News and Views (http://petesrocknewsandviews.com)
PD: How would you describe yourself or your band as an artist?
Mick Michaels: I feel as an individual artist and as a band, we tend to stay flexible and open. This definitely allows us to experience more of the moments as they come. Sure, we pre-plan things out and work to maintain a schedule, but in this business things change so fast and so often that being rigid and hard-nosed just creates more grief in the long run.
PD: Can you tell us briefly about your background – i.e. where you’re from, how you came to make music, etc.
Mick Michaels: I am from the Philadelphia area. Music has always been something that resonated with me moreso than anything else. When I was seven I began playing drums. When I was 12 I got my first guitar…in the beginning it was more to be like my older brother. But after a short while I realized that the guitar was the vehicle to better help me write songs. An ultimately, I found that I wanted to be a songwriter more than a guitar player. I’m still working at that.
PD: Who and what inspires you to make music, both in terms of musical and other influences? What do you like to write about in your songs?
Mick Michaels: Nowadays I find that everything seems to influence me more than I ever realized. Sometimes the smallest things can have the biggest impact and it hits you hard and often unexpected. That might be something that develops the older we get. I definitely notice things in life that I didn’t notice or bother to see when I was younger and there’s something really cool about that. So from that, there is a lot of inspiration. Additionally, I’m inspired by my family. There is a ton of support and respect for what we each do and look to accomplish and that inspires me. That kind of inspiration is unmatched.
Musically, I’m still drawn to classic Metal and Hard Rock. When I find myself lost with a musical direction or something related to songwriting and arranging, I go back to my favourites to find out what they did… they are the best lessons in my opinion.
PD: What are your aspirations as an artist?
Mick Michaels: I want to keep evolving as a songwriter. I’m not looking to reinvent the wheel; I just want to make sure it keeps moving and stays round for a smoother ride…especially for the long haul.
PD: What is the proudest moment in your music career so far?
Mick Michaels: I don’t know if there is just one moment. Everything we do is a collection of all the moments that came before. So in that regard, there are many. Being able to travel to the UK and Europe to perform with Corners of Sanctuary was definitely a highlight and a major milestone. Plus having to perform with many of our favourite artists over the years has also been a testament of how one thing builds on the next.
PD: Promoting one’s music is such a challenge these days, especially with so many new artists emerging from bedrooms in the day of the home studio. How is that going?
Mick Michaels: With so much music out there it’s easy to get lost. So promoting one’s music is a ‘round the clock endeavour. We work at it every day and try to stay on top of things. There is a lot that happens behind the scenes to keep that going. We do a lot of in house promotion along with working with outside agencies to increase the reach. The goal is making connections so that those connections move us forward. But that is a two way street…we have to make good on those connections as well, otherwise it’s not a win-win for anybody.
PD: And how do you book and promote your live shows and tours? Any performances coming up?
Mick Michaels: We do most of our own booking. Booking shows is just a matter of reaching out, making a connection and asking. In this business you don’t get anywhere unless you ask. If you wait for someone to ask you, you might be waiting forever. But that said, we are also now fortunate that we are asked to play certain shows and come to specific venues. But it has taken years to achieve that and it’s a lot of continues work to maintain it and keep it moving forward.
To promote, we do what everyone else does…we use the internet and social media. We do interviews and sometimes do promo videos if it’s a big tour or release.
We have a string of shows to round out the summer including the Keep it Metal Fest in September, our 4X4 Tour in October and opening for TRAPT on their 20th anniversary tour in November.
PD: What do you think about downloading music online? What about streaming sites like Spotify?
Mick Michaels: It’s what people do today. Personally, I am not a digital downloader. I prefer the physical product. However, as artists, and regardless of our own personal tastes, we need to embrace it and utilize it as part of our arsenal to connect with the audience. I am sure there are some artists and bands that do well without the use of streaming sites but for most, that is difficult to achieve. For most of us, streaming sites are not about making money, they are about creating awareness and accessibility…keeps us in the game and it gives the listeners somewhere to go. ..it’s almost a validation…like “Hey, this is authentic, it really exists.”
PD: What song do you wish you’d written and why?
Mick Michaels: There are a lot of them…. The first one that comes to mind for me is Kiss’ “Detroit Rock City.” It is such a defining song to me…it encapsulates not only the band itself but that era. To me, still to this day, there is something refreshing about it and it feels timeless. It must be one of the best show opener songs ever. There is a lot of underlying emotion and tension in that song…it grabs holds and doesn’t let go. I never get tired of hearing the song.
PD: Is there anything you don’t like about the music industry, which you would change if you could?
Mick Michaels: That’s a tough question and one regardless of how you answer, is sure to anger someone on either side. I often feel that bands are not given enough credit as to what it is to be in a band and all that is involved…and that usually lead to bands being misunderstood and mistreated. Sure, there are those bands out there that everything is a party and little respect is shown to who and what’s around them. But they don’t speak for or represent the rest of us. Rather than judge us all by a few, take the time to properly talk to the bands you are working with…this tends to make for a better business relationship all around.
PD: So, what are you working on at the moment?
Mick Michaels: Currently we are working on a new EP called “This is Metal” and a new full length album titled “Vengeance of the Fallen;” both slated to release in 2023. We have some small projects in the works as well for the remainder of 2022 like our Holiday release among other things In addition to promoting our recent Def Leppard Tribute EP “Defying” and our new best of compilation “Metal Never Dies,” we are doing a number shows including as mentioned previously, our 4X4 Tour in October and opening for TRAPT in November. Plus we are working on more tour dates for 2023.
PD: Where can we learn more about you and buy your music/merch online?
Mick Michaels: Check out Corners of Sanctuary at:
Thanks so much for talking with me. All the best!
Corners of Sanctuary links:
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