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Interview with Mikey Ball & The Company
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
I was a teenager, no good at football and someone had invented women. Well, joking aside I grew up hearing the sound of classic rock, motown & soul courtesy of my parents. Then along came School of Rock, along came the Darkness and along came the Greatest Hits of Guns 'n' Roses and from the moment I was able to make some form of sound from a guitar I was hooked. It was all I wanted to do with my time. Well without music, I don't think I would have found my total awe and appreciation for any passionate creation. I'd probably have a much healthier savings account, but I'd be a dreadfully boring personification of the colour beige.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
I am a total nerd, I happily watch a film and spend hours obsessing over behind the scenes details, or smash through a series in a day. I read when I can, especially hiding away from everybody down the beach. Often I'll be in the kitchen trying to expand my list of dishes I can cook semi competently and I few times a week you'll find me in the gym.
How long has your band been around?
The band has been through several iterations, but it's grown slowly since 2014. The majority of the current line up came onboard in 2018, with our newest addition Sam officially joining us in January of this year, and here we are going pretty strong, I'm incredibly proud of the boys and very grateful for their hard work and support.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
We are southcoast boys from all around Bournemouth respectively. Though it no doubt serves as a backdrop to the music we make, there's nothing astoundingly unique about it, our upbringings around town have been typical, but then maybe there's the answer. It's provided us with a relatable element.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
In the early days I formed the band with the most talented people I could find to hopefully disguise any of my weaknesses musically. As such these people were often very busy that then created a sort of revolving door turn over. Which from the outside looked like the turnover of a company. As such the name grew from that. These days it feels more like a uniting tight unit that has come to mean a lot to me. The guys in the band are inspiring and encouraging equally. And a total joy to spend time with.
Tell me about your most memorable shows?
There was a student union show where there was no budget to pay us, but they could let us drink for free, that got very out of hand! But our more recent shows where we've been able to go toe to toe with the pro's. Those are the ones that will stick with us. Knowing that the four of us, who for at least a few hours a week refuse to grow up, we are able to entertain the same audiences as those further down the road to us.
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
I don't think I have a favourite yet. Oh there are so many, starting with the O2 Academy in Bournemouth, all the way to Madison Square Garden via Wembley and The Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
Springsteen, Sam Fender, Thin Lizzy and a band I really like called Ghost Hounds.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
Practice, practice with people, learn to collaborate, learn to bounce off each other. And above all, enjoy it, allow yourself to completely love it, regardless of your ability or the judgement of others. I'll let you guess which line was for me.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
Just breathe, don't worry so much. Put the work in, enjoy it and just learn to relax. Too much of my time is dominated by other thinking or impatience. Thinking every minute of every day has to be dedicated to progress. And sometimes the best way to move forward consistently is to spend a little time switching off. Stay consistent but stay aware of yourself, learn to rest.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
The Morning means a lot to me because it really felt like an elevation for us. The response was phenomenal. There is also another song on the album called Out Here Alone. That is probably the most lyrically vulnerable I've been able to be in a song I've written with the intention that it would connect with someone who is perhaps feeling how I felt.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
Runnin's is definitely the most fun! It's our take on good old classic rock'n'roll. Just a simple band song but brought to life with energy and a sense of fun. Either of the first two singles 'The Morning' and 'Burning All Night' are probably tied for most requested so far.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
As standard, I write the basic elements of the song: the lyrics, the chord structure, the main riffs. Then I take this to the boys, and we work collaboratively to bring them to life. Sometimes I'll have a clearer sense of how I want the final version to sound, but more often than not, what the guys bring to the songs are beyond what I can imagine and we progress the songs naturally. I'm inspired by the events of our lives. Our aspirations, our struggles.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
I like to think that above all there is a sense of optimism in my music. Even when I write more serious topics, I like to air on the side of hope. Sometimes the escapism you can find in music can be vital. And that's the space I'm trying to create. I like our shows being fun and somewhere people can just connect with us and have a good time.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
I think we are still working on our first major scandal. We tend to get along pretty well. When we disagree we rationalise and try to find the common good as we are working towards the same goal.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
Definite plans for more recordings, evolving our sound, filming more music videos, really trying to test the limits of what we are capable of and hopefully that is truly a glass ceiling. Well next up for us, the music video for Runnin' drops on 21st July, then in August we head out on tour with returning US rockers Hearts & Hand Grenades. That is going to be so much fun, we really can't wait. Keep in touch at - https://www.facebook.com/mikeyballandthecompany