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Interviews Electro Rock Interview - MiXe1, music that soothes the soul

MiXE1 Interview
Interviewer – Phill Bruce
Interview Date – 1st September 2011


Mike from MiXe1

I heard of rumours of the existence of an electronic rock band, marvellous combination I thought.  So when I got chance to interview MiXE1 I jumped at the chance.  And when I got to speak to Mike from MiXE1 here’s how it went.


Phill – Thank you so much Mike for giving Grave Concerns Ezine this interview.  Would you mind telling us a little bit of a background about yourself and where in this beautiful world you are from?


Mike – Sure, I’m Mike Evans from MiXE1 – which is an electronic rock band from the UK. The music has influences from all sorts of genres though has a largely alternative feel, hooky vocals and melodies with lots of emotion. The concept of the songs is that they’re all taking place in this semi-futuristic city called MiXE1 – Tokyo sort of vibes. A bit about myself – I’m a software developer by day, up until this project I usually played guitar in my bands and…my favourite is blue :)


Phill – So where abouts in time and space is the futuristic city called MiXE1?


Mike – I think of it more like an alternate timeline/reality than say being X years from now. As well being a unique setting for the story of the tracks it makes it easier to load in the more personal stuff when it’s partially removed from real life. I probably watched too much anime when I was younger.


Phill – Does your software developer skills help with the music of MiXE1?


Mike – Actually not so much. I haven’t really come across much which is directly transferable.


Phill – What sort of emotions haunt the MiXE1 sound?


Mike – Love, longing, happiness, hope. Even though there are some aggressive moments, particularly with the more recent stuff, my self-imposed rule is never to let the lyrics get depressing – or at least lace them with some positivity. There are enough bands that go that route already.


Phill – At what point in your life did you decide to form your band and why?


Mike – Yea I was in an alternative metal band at the time – the vibe was dark and heavy with some nice guitar effects, which is just how we wanted it to sound, a bit Jrock-inspired. Then I wanted to express myself in a different way. I was into electronic music but never really explored it in depth so tried writing some songs to see what I could do with it – and also to see what I could do with my voice. Lyrically the stuff in my band at the time was a bit dark which suited the music, I wanted to try something a bit more positive, with a touch of romance. And MiXE1 happened.


Phill – When did you know you had perfected the sound of MiXE1?


Mike – I guess from writing the first track the sound/identity of the band was born… It just happened. One of the cool things about the project is it can go anywhere – there’s some really chilled stuff, some screamy-ass stuff, different vibes. I think the music is quite flexible and the sound comes largely from the vocals… Although throwing in a pad or two always helps!


Phill – What is the inspiration behind the name of MiXE1?


Mike – It’s actually three-fold. There’s a MIX of music going on particularly electronics with rock, also it’s a solo project so it’s a bit close to my name Mike thus the preferred pronunciation Mikes 1 and the third now obsolete reason is my band at the time had an X in it, so it was kind of a way of linking it back.


Phill – Who besides yourself is in the band and what background are they from?


Mike – Just me, taking on the world on my own! Well it’s a solo project in terms of writing and recording – which has its pro’s and con’s. The biggest pro is that there’s no compromise in writing, no reliance on other people. I prefer it like this for MiXE1 as there’s a specific way I want the music to be and the ways the band is presented although I am involved in other projects which are open and collaborative in writing like that. It depends on the project. But the live show is a whole other entity - I’ve got a few trusted people attached as the live members for the stage to give it that live energy and put their spin on the tracks.


Phill – What other projects are you involved in?


Mike – A couple of alt bands although these aren’t public yet, still in the writing phase. In fact I borrowed (stole) a bunch of the members for the MiXE1 live band so that’s slowed those projects down a little ;)


Phill – Who else will be with you for live shows and what part will they play in the music of MiXE1?


Mike – At this +exact+ moment, it’s looking like a three-piece on stage although we’re still feeling everything out. We’ve got some rehearsals soon to make sure we can do it this way but if all goes well, it’s going to be a live drummer and live guitarist joining me. The synths will be off playback.


Phill – In what way do you like MiXE1 presented?


Mike – I suppose keeping within the character of the music– hints at the nature of the lyrics, the borderline-futuristic-ness without being over the top. That sort of thing. All while trying to avoid being pretentious!


Phill – What are your musical influences?


Mike – Everything from pop through to extreme metal. I’m really into song writing now and vocal melodies, that’s what really appeals to me regardless of genre. Before I started MiXE1 I was in metal bands (Well, I still am but a different one) – the band that opened my eyes to alternative music was Korn. So for years I was heavily into like Korn, Deftones, Stabbing Westward, Static-X… then I got bored with heavy music for a bit and moved into The Cure, Radiohead… then a big Jrock phase.. Zeromancer and (earlier) Apoptygma Berzerk got me into the more electronic side at some point. So all these influences have stayed with me but I mean all music is an influence… I unapologetically listen to anything from say, Leona Lewis to Cradle of Filth. These things can come into the writing consciously or not.

Phill – Do you think having a varied taste in music helps you produce the music you do?


Mike – Definitely. Without a doubt. It’s the combination of these influences which I enjoy. It makes the music quite varied and interesting. One thing that amuses me about first EP is that every song on it, no matter how melodic, has got a sneaky aggressive vocal in the mix somewhere – a growl, scream or shout.


Phill – Are you influenced in any way by other genre things like early soul, artists like Sam Cooke and others of that era?


Mike – Not really - although quite possibly indirectly. I haven’t really delved in to that genre but it’s like if I hear some music any where and there’s something there that appeals to me, it can be an influence. It really is hard to pick out exactly what the true influences for each track are really as it’s a mix of many.


Phill – Where do you see your band in five years and what are your hopes for the future?


Mike – With at least one full length album out (already deep into writing as we speak), a few more releases, lots more shows under our belt and hopefully a bigger fan base. It’s very special to me that MiXE1 has got to the stage it’s at even now as I remember when I first started… my motivation was ‘I think these songs are cool, but no-one’s gonna hear them so I’ll release them’ and to have such great feedback and to have met such great people because of it is great, so hopefully more of the same. More adventures ;)


Phill – What do you envisage your first album being like?


Mike – It’s already half-written and I can tell you it’s a bit heavier. The second EP “Module 02” – which should be out soon – is some of the most personal music I’ve ever written, almost embarrassingly so – I think as a reaction to this, the album’s coming out heavier and slightly less vulnerable lyrically. Module 02 was directly influenced by some big personal life stuff which kept coming out in my writing so I decided to tackle it head on with that EP, within the MiXE1 world.


Phill – Have you thought of artwork for your album, if so what are your ideas for the artwork and have you anyone in mind that you would like to do the artwork?


Mike – For the actual album, not yet. There’s a fantastic Brazilian artist, Carlos Fides, who captured the vibe of the project perfectly for the first EP so possibly something from him, still early days to say for the album though. Art for the new EP though is basically same as the first… but RED!


Phill – Is there any place or venue you would like to play at and why?


Mike – I’d love to play at Download Festival or Sonisphere, that’s the metal part of me talking. Big sea of people, those type of affairs. I’d love to experience that and see people connecting with the songs in that way. Where else… I wouldn’t mind playing Electrowerkz in London although that’s solely because that’s where I saw Zeromancer play when they came to the UK a couple of years ago – playing where your idols play type thing ;) To be honest anywhere with a good crowd and sound!


Phill – What size of crowd do you think would be better to play for, a few people and something more personal or somewhere where there is a sea of people?


Mike – Better to play for I’d say the more intimate crowd. But as I say I’d love to play a show with the bigger crowds to see what it’s like and compare :)


Phill – What are your views on the current alternative scene and is there anywhere in this world where you feel the alternative scene is at it’s strongest or most vibrant?


Mike – Honestly my following of the scene is pretty isolated these days. I do my thing, casually follow bands I like and occasionally go out to shows so I wouldn’t like to say.


Phill – Without giving too much away is there any instrument or program you wouldn’t be without and why?


Mike – Not particularly, I’m quite adaptable like that – I suppose maybe Sonar as I’m so used to it and I like the things you can do in it though other programs like Cubase have similar features. The project started as an experiment to see what I could do with what I’ve got, and since then it’s expanded. But in terms of what I’m using it’s basically Sonar, various software synths (no hardware synths) then guitar and mic. I suppose my most ‘go-to’ program is Addictive Drums but even then that’s not on every track.


Phill – With you using guitars, what is the ultimate guitar you would love to own if money was no object?


Mike – An ESP VP-K350 guitar – which is a custom design by Kaz from Oblivion Dust, one of my favourite guitarists. It’s sexy as hell and the reason I own two ESP Viper guitars ^^


Phill – Out of all the music you have created which is your favourite and why?


Mike – Every day this changes. The song “Breathe” is definitely one of the big ones, it was the last track I wrote for Module 01 and is the one that usually gets people in to the band. It’s an emotional song with a vibe of wanting to let someone know that they’re important to you even if it’s hard to say. Everyone always mentions the auto-tune though XD Some of the newer tracks I’m really feeling but I will speak more about them when they’re released.

Take a Listen Here:




Phill – So what is it about JRock you like so much?


Mike – The time when I was really heavily into it, I really liked the Japanese rock and pop bands who took a western kinda sound then added their own spin on it. I was never into the proper bouncy glammed-up Visual Kei stuff there. I really like how bands like Dir en Grey tackle it particularly vocal melodies and the use of falsetto – and the extremes are extreme. Even if you can’t understand what the bands were saying, the melodies really interest me. I don’t know how to pin it exactly I guess it’s just a different culture, a different take on songs and I find that change refreshing. I only follow a few j-bands now though from the loads I followed years ago…


Phill – What is your inspiration in life itself?


Mike – Wow big question. The people in my life mean a lot and inspire me, my friends, my girlfriend (who has been a huge influence on some of the writing), and my family – moments shared. Wanting to express yourself and be successful but happy.


Phill – What is your favourite film?


Mike –There isn’t a single fav but a couple that spring to mind – The Crow, Lost In Translation, Beck, Blade Runner, Old Boy, Ping Pong (Japanese - always puts me in a good mood), Scott Pilgrim, The Matrix…


Phill – There is a certain style of alternative coming from the likes of Japan and China, how do you feel about that style?


Mike – I think it’s great that they’re being recognised and it’s becoming more internationally known. I can only speak for the Jrock/jpop bands I’m in to, the only Chinese band I know is an extreme metal one, but I love it. Of course it’s not for everyone, and the language barrier is still an issue to a degree for the bands that sing don’t sing in English, but I like their take on the music, performance and visuals.


Phill – If you could be any character from a computer/console game who would you be?


Mike – Haha, good question! OK… Duke Nukem.


Phill – Do you have a mascot, if not what would your mascot be?


Mike – A mascot for the band? No mascot… so how about… a big walking MiXE1 ‘X’… or a…umm, nah, I have no idea :)


Phill – Thank you so so much for this interview Mike, is there anything you would like to add?


Mike – Sure, thanks for the questions, Phill. I just want to say thanks to everyone who supports MiXE1 it really means a lot. And be sure to check out the new free track “A Spark In The Air” from  Cheers!


Good luck with your up and coming EP, I can’t wait to hear it

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