|Photo Courtesy of Bryan Verhelle|
Music is life. It's such a cliche statement, but music is what gets me through my run everyday, through a rough patch with my boyfriend or inspires me to get up and shake my ass at a really great party. Music is there for me in the good times and the bad. That's why when I hear really great music I get very excited to share it with you.
A few months ago a good friend contacted me about working with an artist who was about to put out a recording that he just finished. She had him e-mail me a link to his bandcamp account and asked me to listen and contact him if I was interested. The link sat in my inbox for a few weeks, which is now something I sincerely regret. When I finally took the time to open the link, I knew that Homme Alone was someone that we needed to work with immediately. I started listening to the album over and over again so that I would have something interesting to say to you about the recording. But, instead I found a new artist that I find inspiring not only as a musician, but also as a person.
This recording was done by one person. Every piece of every track came from his mind. He dreams of having a full band one day and playing shows around town, but for now he is just happy to have this album finished and out for the public to hear. He had a rough year and watched his family go through some unspeakably hard times, but instead of giving up during hard times he used them to push his music forward.
Using the near death of your mother as a way to push yourself to make music is an interesting way to handle a tough situation. But, as I stated before, music is there in the good times and the bad. Sometimes it is the only release that we have and the best way to cope. Although, using sounds from the hospital room where it all could have fallen apart is a new twist to making the most out of a situation.
I got a chance to talk to Mike and ask him a few questions about how he creates his music. He is a funny, charming, good looking and interesting artist with a lot to say. The release of this music is just the beginning of the journey for Homme Alone. As he states in his interview...this is just the beginning and you won’t be able to get rid of him anytime soon.
Hip In Detroit - When did you start playing and writing music?
Mike - "I have been playing music since I could walk, just fiddling with instruments and whatnot. I actually became serious about drumming in 2nd grade when I was promised a drum kit if I could go a year without stopping lessons. This was just a ploy to take away the makeshift set I had created from pots and pans that I would bang with ladles and whatnot... clever mother. "
Hip In Detroit - How do you know how to play so many instruments? The whole album is you correct? Are you classically or self trained?
Mike - "That is correct, I play every instrument on every album I have put out so far. I generally start with scratch tracks in my home studio and bring those files to a more professional environment to really bring all the pieces to life. That's where I work on finding perfect guitar tones and finalizing synths and general mixing. It takes a lot of time. I am completely self taught, all by ear. I couldn't read sheet music to save my life. It is impossible to jam with other people because they want to know what I played and I'm just like 'I don't know man, fucking listen to it and figure it out!' They look at me like I'm Helen Keller or something, who knows. I spent a lot of time with instruments growing up alone because it was a good escape for me."
Hip In Detroit - The album has some songs that are just instrumental, what inspires you to just do music as opposed to lyrics at times?
Mike - "Well, the last album "End Aria" is really more of a remix-reimagination of my last album "The Great Road Of Departure". I sat in my studio all winter and began dissecting those songs and slowly putting them all back together. It was a really fucked up process, and it almost didn't end up happening. I wasn't working most of the winter so I had some time to just work on songs until they started to eat me alive. I would go out, get wasted and listen to them over and over again , then I would start to remix my remix before blacking out. The next day I would go back and listen to what I did and I really liked it. I had plans to finish the record at the end of March for an April release but at the beginning of that month my mom called me complaining of pains and not being able to eat. After we got her to the hospital, she was essentially put into a coma for the entire month. The doctors said she wasn't going to live and that really fucked with me. I spent all day at the hospital and all night just thinking and panicking and really feeling like my life was over. I remember one day I sat in her room and wrote the lyrics to every song (that has them) while staring at her in her bed. I also recorded every sound in the room with my iPhone while I did it ,there are a lot of hospital sounds on the record and those are all from her.
So as a way to deal with this, I started to work on my songs again, remixing further and further adding sounds, textures, and boiling it down to the 5 songs that became the finished product. Half of the time at the hospital doctors would talk to me and ask me questions and I was practically in a coma myself, so I said nothing. Hence, most of the songs being instrumental, sometimes words just get in the way."
Hip In Detroit - For someone that has never heard your music, how do you classify yourself and your sound?
Mike - "This is tough because I never had a set formula for my songwriting. It always varies depending on my mood and environment, but I've always had a habit of calling it 'Grey Metal / Blackened Rock'"
Hip In Detroit -When you write, what is your process? Do you set time aside or do things just come to you?
Mike - "I always write songs first. I suck at poetry.. I'll listen to a song and start really getting into it and whatever starts flowing naturally I use. I’ll write around that until it becomes something. I have upwards of 75 demos sitting around that I could use for future records, so don't think you can get rid of me anytime soon."
Hip In Detroit - What is the meaning of Homme Alone?
Mike - "Homme Alone is really my perspective on life... Homme "French for Man" and Alone... it really just means, in life, if you want something done right, do it yourself. You are Homme Alone... but it works best over my last musical titles."
Hip In Detroit - What is your goal for your music in the future?
Mike - "Putting out more music that inspires and terrifies. Shows will happen eventually, but I'm not going to rush them. It needs to happen when its ready."
You can download Homme Alone's latest music at hommealone.bandcamp.com. For more on Mike and Homme Alone visit HommeAloneMusic.com and YouTube/HommeAlone. Mike is currently looking for other artists who would be interested in working with him to bring this music to the stage. You can contact him though his website if you are interested in playing with him. We hope that he starts playing out sooner than later so that we can get the chance to see him live!