An interview with Canadian artist Mike Haggith

Welcome to the blog Mike Haggith, an independent alternative/indie solo artist residing in Manitoba, who recently released a new solo record. Mike previously resided in Sault Ste Marie, Ontario, where he was the bassist/frontman of a rock trio named The Din. His latest record “If Ever Comes The Day” is his first solo release in nearly half a decade. In addition to Mike being a musician, he is also an airline pilot by day. Cool stuff, right?

His new single “The Best You Never Had” can be heard here. Mike can be found on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube. Keep on reading for Mike’s very thoughtful interview:

To begin, how have you been doing during this pandemic? Have your found inspiration/creativity in unexpected places? 

There’s no doubt that COVID-19 has turned the whole world upside-down, and it’s certainly had an impact on me. I had written and recorded my new album If Ever Comes The Day over the winter of 2019/2020, and finished it just as the pandemic really started to take off here at home. Suffice to say, the planned album release concert for May 15 in Sault Ste Marie, Ontario didn’t take place due to social distancing restrictions, and I took to live-streaming on Facebook instead, which was something I’d never done before.

Having always written about the things I’ve experienced, good and bad, I’ve been pretty stimulated creatively through this whole ordeal. The feeling of isolation is definitely a big issue for me, as living in a pretty remote region of Canada and having not seen any family and only very few friends over the past six months is a huge struggle. While I haven’t written much about that specifically so far, it’s definitely kept me motivated to keep with my live-streaming schedule, ship out CDs to everyone, and just generally try to build a close-knit online community as we navigate through an unexpectedly challenging time.

Can you give us some info about your musical background?

I’ve been writing music for about as long as I’ve been alive, and recorded my first cassette tape (are those seriously making a comeback?) at the age of 13, which was 15 years ago. The tape itself was pretty awful and I doubt anyone will ever be allowed to hear it, but it launched me on the path I’m on now, so I suppose it’s worth something in that regard. I’d originally started recording myself as a means of listening to the playback and finding small ways to improve my playing and singing, but enjoyed it so much that over the years, I started making albums that were available to the public.

Over the years, I’ve also performed with a number of different bands in many different roles- everything from drums, to guitar, to lead vocals- most notably, as the bassist/lead singer of an alt-rock outfit called The Din (@thedinband) while I lived in Sault Ste Marie, alongside guitarist Tammy Hill and drummer Brandan Glew. We had so much fun playing everything from dive bars to festival stages over our two year run, and even managed to cut a few pretty solid albums along the way.

These days, I’m mainly a one man band focused on studio work, and I play drums, bass, guitar, and keys, not to mention vocals and mixing/mastering duties. It’s a bit of a handful, but I’ve always written about my personal experiences as a form of therapeutic release, so it’s become a great love of mine. My latest record, If Ever Comes The Day, is some of my most personal work yet.

Photo courtesy of Josh Pace Portrait Photography!

What prompted you to release new music after 5 years?

To put it simply, the timing was just right. I took a trip to Sault Ste Marie back in August of 2019 to play an acoustic concert for a small but mighty audience, and along the way, found myself reconnecting with a girl I’d known many years prior. That situation got pretty serious pretty quickly, and I couldn’t stop writing and recording. I was basically writing and tracking a few songs a month at that point, and that eventually became the album If Ever Comes The Day. Over the months, all the songs I composed were written at the whim of our ups and downs – of which there were plenty. In the end, she hopped a flight out of town in late February of this year, and I realized at that point that we were probably never going to see each other again. as it happens, I was right. Right after she left, I tracked the last little bit of the album, and got it ready for release.

I found myself gearing up for an album launch (my first since The Din’s last album Suburban Dream back in 2017), and also trying to adjust back to being a single guy in a really fast-paced world.. and then suddenly, everything stopped. The world went into lockdown, the album release concert became a Facebook-exclusive livestream rather than a huge live spectacle with a full band, and I couldn’t travel anywhere or see anyone. Fortunately, life has gotten quite a bit brighter since all that turbulence many months ago, and I’m really happy with the way things are right now, but I’m still looking forward to the day I can see all my friends and family in person. In the meantime, though, I’ve got some of my proudest work so far on an album that came from a seemingly innocuous trip last summer

What are your futures plans/hopes?

This is a really tricky one, because so much about the future is uncertain these days. However, I’ve always written about the things I’ve dealt with and had to overcome, and that’s really helped keep me in a good place, so I definitely hope to carry that same mentality into the future. And with how accessible and simple recording technology is these days, you can count on many more Mike Haggith albums in the future.

In a perfect world, each album will reach more people than the one before it, but I suppose time will tell! I honestly just can’t wait to start traveling again, so I can play new and old venues, see familiar faces and meet new ones, and try to spread the message that it’s okay to talk about the things you’re struggling with, and that it’s okay to not be okay. If nothing else, I hope that’s the message that comes out of my music. Oh, and a billion album sales or streams. I guess that would be pretty cool, too. Maybe I’ll work that into the long-term plan.

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