After having toured with the likes of Maroon 5 and Magic!, rising star Mike Watson joined us in Bath Spa’s Student Union for the first Coffee House Sessions of the new year. Fresh faced, fashionably late and armed with his acoustic guitar, Mike performed a range of his own original tracks and well-known covers that had people looking up from their laptops, putting down their pints and singing along. After his set, Milk’s own Amy Stirling found a quiet spot to chat to him about how he got here, and where he’s going next.
When did you realise you wanted to pursue a career in music?
I grew up in a really musical family. Both of my grandmothers were music teachers and my dad played the guitar, so it was kind of forced upon me when I was younger. I got the music bug quite quickly, and I did shows when I was around seven. Whenever they’d let me get up on stage I’d do it. So I’ve been doing it for as long as I can remember really.
Your tour with Coffee House Sessions began a couple of days ago. What are you most looking forward to?
Just meeting a lot of new people. My single has just come out so it’s nice to hear what different people think about it. Also, just playing live again. I haven’t done it for quite a while, so it’s good to just get out there and practice, as much as anything really.
I’ve read that Oasis, Maroon 5 and Coldplay are great sources of inspiration for you. Could you tell us more about how they have influenced your sound?
Yes, they’re my three favourite bands without a shadow of a doubt. Music wise, I think Coldplay have influenced me the most. I grew up playing acoustic guitar and their songs acoustically are as good as they are produced, so it’s taught me to write acoustic and then add the production on top.
You went on tour with Maroon 5 and Magic!, how was that experience and what did you learn from it?
Yes, that was pretty nuts. I didn’t think it was true until I was in the rehearsal room. I got told I was doing it and thought, ‘it’s not going to happen’, but it did. Just seeing how much they practice, literally for months, and to see how they looked after themselves and how they conducted themselves. I think when you’re that close, with a band that big, you learn a lot.
Image courtesy of Coffee House Sessions and ©Mike Watson
You used to be in a boy band, how different would you say it is now, being a solo artist?
It’s a lot less cheesy. The boy band was good, I learned a lot and we did alright, but now I just love to write music that I like. Before it was mostly written for us, whereas now I write it all myself and I can go in the direction that I want to go, so that’s the biggest difference.
Right, let’s talk about your new single ‘Lying for Love’. What was the inspiration behind it?
I think everyone can relate to it really. Everyone’s fallen in love with the wrong person at some point. I was in the studio with Toby Scott, he’s an amazing producer, and we wrote it pretty much in one go. It was quite a weird situation, its not always like that. It’s personal to me, but everyone can relate to it.
How was the experience of shooting a professional music video?
Yes, it was good. I did a few videos when I was in the band, but it was nice to do one solo. It was filmed in Manchester, whereas the other ones have been in warmer climates, which made it very interesting. It was so cold and wet, that we had to cancel the first shoot day and reschedule, it was just torrential downpour.
What can we be expecting to hear from you next? Any plans for an album?
So, the EP’s coming out in 2018, probably around March time. Everything’s written, recorded, produced and ready to go. There’s a few more things coming out before the end of this year, like some tracks featuring other artists, so just keep an eye on my social media!