theaussieword.com special interview with Mike Waters.
Give us an introduction. How did it all begin? What had you first interested in music?
My interest in music started when I was pretty young, my first memories of music are of singing along to my parents’ mix tapes as we drove around Australia. As a teenager I found a real love for music in punk rock and from then on I always wanted to be a musician. I learned guitar for a little bit back then but I didn’t know any other musicians and never had the chance to play in a band. As much as I wanted to, I never took the initiative to start something myself. I always thought it was an unachievable pipe dream so I never even tried. I studied computer science at university and have spent nearly a decade working in various industries. Anyway, a couple of years ago I invested a lot of time and effort into a web startup that failed, and I kind of learned what it means to enjoy the journey as opposed to the destination. I thought, if I can work this hard at something I’m not even that passionate about and be ok with the failure, why am I not putting time and effort into things that I actually want? So I started writing songs.
What motivates or influences you in your quest to make great music?
My biggest motivation is honesty in my music. When I first tried writing songs I really hated everything I wrote because it felt contrived. It wasn’t until I learnt how to ‘give in’ and write music that meant something to me that I felt happy enough to show it to people.
What are your biggest goals you hope to accomplish as an artist?
I still have to work to make a living. I would love to be able to be a full-time musician and pay the bills, but honestly I feel so happy to have done the things that music has already allowed me to do, that everything from here is a bonus! As long as I’m able to continue making music that comes from the heart I’ll be happy.
What can we expect from you in the coming months? Any plans to tour?
I have a 4 track EP called ‘LIFE’ out on the 8th of May and I’m taking that to Adelaide, Sydney and Melbourne.
Tell us a bit about your latest album and how would you best describe your music?
LIFE is a collection of songs that are very close to my heart. It’s about life experience and becoming more self-aware. I’d say my music is Indie-Pop, but I like to think there’s a subtle sad honesty when you listen to the lyrics. There’s a lot of me in these songs.
Success, what is the secret to it?
I think it’s acceptance. If you can learn to be happy with what you have, then you’ll experience success just by working hard for something, no matter what the outcome is.
To be honest, everything’s a highlight! I’ve worked with some incredibly talented people in order to get here, and I’ve learnt so much from each one of them. Being a musician is so much more than just writing the songs. Each component of a music career is a foray into a different creative world. I’ve spent a lot of time in studios working with producers and playing different instruments, countless hours working on various artwork, I’ve made music videos, done radio interviews and performed my songs in front of hundreds of people. I’d take this over a desk job any day!
Which stars of the music industry do you find inspiring?
Jesse Lacey is the singer and songwriter of a Long Island band called Brand New, and his ability to put feeling into words is completely unrivalled. I love Jack Carty for his incredible storytelling. Taylor Swift for her humility in the face of huge fame.
Any new projects in the pipeline?
The music industry is huge, where do you see yourself a few years from now?
As you say, the music industry is huge, and it’s also unpredictable. Who knows? Who cares! I’m excited to find out.
Name a few of your favourite Aussie artists.
Jack Carty, Montgomery, Remi, Vance Joy
The shape of the music industry has changed significantly over the years, including the use of social media, how do you feel about the industry as a whole and what does it mean to you in getting your records out into the public eye?
It’s nice to know that people are listening to my music and taking something away from it. It’s a great feeling to know that songs I wrote in my bedroom about myself and my own thoughts, feelings and experiences have a lifespan and a reach that’s bigger than just me. As for the industry, I love it. I’ve worked in a number of industries in the last decade; Telecommunications, Retail, Transport, Web Development, and now Music. I love that the Music industry is a business, but real creative endeavours are at its core. Everyone that I’ve met so far truly loves what they do, which is totally unheard of elsewhere.
Thanks for the interview! What final message do you have for us today?
Thanks for having me! Always be honest with yourself 🙂