I found it wild that The High Cell is just a one man band! It sounds like at least 4 people playing! How many instruments do you actually play?
I know how to play the essentials - guitar, bass, and drums, and then I like to dabble in any other instruments I can get my hands on. On a typical song, I’ll usually start with at least a foundation like a 4-piece band. This fancy newfangled enchanted modern computer magic at our disposal these days means I can also arrange loops and play virtual instruments using a keyboard, so the size of my band of “other selves” is only limited by my own imagination when I’m recording. I can record a solo acoustic song with just me and a guitar, or I can record a whole 12-person choir of "little Mikey's" to sing along with me.
Your sound is so big and bluesy. In that kind of genre, a one man band is pretty unheard of! What made you decide to go the one man route with The High Cell?
I never really had much of a plan to speak of. I suppose it happened out of necessity. I had moved around a lot and had grown weary of the whole “start or join a band” process and all the baggage that comes along with it, so I just started writing and recording stuff on my own as my musical outlet. "Bluesy Rock" is kind of the staple that holds all my music together, but I really like to experiment with other kinds of music as well. The great thing about doing things myself is that I can run with these crazy musical impulses and just see what it happens. I've got songs-in-progress right now that have imbedded elements of punk, funk, bluegrass, R&B, Metal, and so much more. I've never been able to explore music like that in bands that stuck to a particular genre or style, so I'm having a lot of fun with the freedom that being a DIY Independent Artist gives me.
You have a live song on your album “Faceplant.” How do live shows go? Do you have a touring band or is it just you running around trying to play all the instruments at one time?
I don’t have a touring band, but it’s always in the back of my mind. Maybe a little bit down the road as I release more songs and build up a bulkier set list. For now I’ve been having fun working out stripped-down acoustic versions of the songs, which is what the live song, “Unheard”, is on Faceplant.
You described that album as, “significantly better than a swift kick in the groin from a Peruvian pack-mule.” In all seriousness, how would you describe The High Cell’s sound from your own personal perspective?
When I first released Faceplant a few years ago, I thought the novelty was that those songs were dramatically different styles of music. Then I saw a review that said they all sounded oddly cohesive in some way. I guess, off the top of my head, I’d say my music is moderate blues-influenced rock with a strong likelihood of mood swings, possible gusts of eccentricity, and sporadic showers of whimsy. And for the record… I don’t mean to brag, but I still believe that listening to Faceplant is better than being kicked in the groin by a Peruvian pack-mule. Just the other day I said somewhere that I think listening to my new EP, “Devil On a Tricycle” EP, is considerably more pleasant than receiving a firm slap in the chest from an aging sumo wrestler. I'll stand by it.
Your music is really good! So, why are you so self-deprecating?
Thank you! I really appreciate it. I would definitely like to be more self-confident. It’s just that I don’t think I’d be very good at it…
If you could collaborate with anyone on an upcoming song, who would you choose to work with and why?
It’s so hard to answer, but a few that come to mind are; Doyle Bramhall II, because he’s one of my very favorite guitar players of all time. Dallas Green of City and Colour, because I’m a big fan of his songwriting. And then maybe Taylor Swift, because she’s all sorts of catchy and what-not. [I guess that leaves the bass and vocal harmonies for me, and we can ask Dave Grohl to sit in on drums to complete my current dream collaboration.]
Any new music from The High Cell in the works for 2015?
Absolutely! I’ve recently realized that I have no reason to follow the old-school rules or templates of the "traditional" music business any more. I’ve got a lot of songs cooking at once right now, and I’m going to be throwing them out there whenever I feel like it... because I guess I’m a grown ass man, and I can do what I want as an independent artist. My plan is to start releasing new singles and/or EP’s pretty frequently starting early in the new year, and just get on a roll and keep the momentum going. And boy, do I have some fun and interesting songs coming up soon.