Can you give us a potted history of the band
Firstly, I’d like to make it known that although The Microdance has been a thing since 2007, I’m definitely not in the position to say Ive had a band for 15 years. A combination of a lot of pretty anomalous life events and general misfortune have meant that I’m reality, I’ve probably done about three years worth of work and hence three years worth of progress have been made in that period.
I said from the start that I wanted the band to be a platform for me to put everything I find exciting about ‘alternative’ music under the bonnet of one supercharged vehicle. My belief that I can do that is implacable, in spite of all the pitfalls, the music has to win.
The band started as a concept in 2007, I went to the studio and recorded everything but drums and programmed drums on a four track EP called ‘Her Ride to the Stars’. This was after the dissolution of my former band ‘Beauty on the Wireless’. I was listening to a lot of what I’d call ‘credible’ pop at the time and that crept into the EP – although it’s still a very much alt rock EP.
I then played some shows with my good friend and serial collaborater Bridget Walsh – that was under the moniker ‘The Microdance EL’ (EL stands for a light edition – a term coined by pro tools). That was just me on acoustic guitar and Bridget on synths and vocals.
2011 saw the release of ‘Get Dark’ – which contains ‘We are Made of Evil Things’ – our first song to get decent radio play. I was elated to be played between Deftones and Metallica on Kerrang radio. Then we signed our first record contract for a label who typically dissolved after a month! That EP featured Bridget Walsh (more on her later) on vocals, Michael Triponel on drums and Paul Grant on guitars. Great line up – we went on to play a couple of shows with a drummer who’s name I can’t and don’t care to remember!
Three more EP’s followed, featuring the wonderful Gavin Mata Hari in guitars, the brilliant Thom James on drums and a myriad of female backing vocalists – by which point I think the variety of my vision was evidenced. We’d covered a lot of musical ground – at one point we were labelled a shoegaze band, which pissed me off because that discounts the other dozen things we do. There’s a lot of delay and reverb in a lot of our stuff but you can’t show me a shoegaze band who went as heavy as we did, recorded as many straight up acoustic songs as we did or had as many guitar solos as we have.
Nothing previously mentioned is available on Spotify yet – it can be bought on our 48 song ‘Pre Our Love Noire Discogrophy’ for £5 at our bandcamp.
Then in 2014, long term TMD guitarist and the best bandmate you could hope for, Gavin Mata Hari and I flew to LA to record ‘New Waves of Hope’ with the genius engineer/co-producer Frankie Siragusa. This was my ‘I want to do something fucking massive, I want to make my family proud of me’ moment. I flew out there not thinking I was ready for it… But it turns out we all were!
Within two days of being in LA, I hit upon the idea of contacting my favourite bassist from my favourite band, Nicole Fiorentino who was in Smashing Pumpkins for five years to see if she was up for doing backing vocals. I sent her the song ‘Moopy Moop’, she loved it and was in! That was the most gratifying musical moment I’d had and I’m still kind of gleeming with happiness and pride over that.
Nicole would go on to say to me that seeing Frankie and me high fiving in the control room after she’d done her vocal takes was one of the best moments in her musical life. I was on cloud 999!
Frankie was originally down to play drums, but he didn’t think he was up to doing these huge, complex songs justice. So we got Eric Gardner in. Eric had drummed for Iggy Pop, Morrisey, Moby, Cypress Hill and many other huge, revered acts. Basically, we had the dream team.
The album took two weeks to record – all 70 minutes of it, 14 songs with a thousand guitars on them. A testament to the genius of Frankie. I’ve had people say to me that it sounds like it took six months and cost £25,000 to make.
We went on to be called ‘the best alt rock in a decade’ by Vice Magazine, NWoH was proclaimed ‘the most glorious debut album of all time’ by Guitar Magazine and one now defunct blog stated that ‘you could put 100 of the best musical journalists together andy they wouldn’t be able to do this album justice’
I did a little EP called ‘3am Fuck’ em Blues’ to give away to anyone who bought New Waves of Hope’ for which all of the songs were recorded at 3am in two takes max, featuring Bridget and former bassist Cheryl Pinero (one of very few people I would call an excellent bandmate) on vocals. You can hear on the song ‘Stars Over Salem’ that Bridget had done her vocals in the checkout department of an airport (the tannoy can be heard!)
Off the back of NWoH which was finally released in October 2015, we had a West Coast tour booked with one of my favourite bands, Silversun Pickups this was the apotheosis of the band. Then disaster struck.
I put the band back together in 2016, I think we played one gig, it was a disaster and the band broke up again until 2018 when I tried again with River Gari, Andy Davis and John Ganner. A great line up, but we played four gigs in a year. Those three would go on to record some ‘Our Love Noire’ songs with me. More on that later.
2019 saw another attempt but covid put an end to that version – no gigs and the two Italians flew out to Italy, never to return.
In 2020, I released ‘Our Love Noire’ another 14 song, 60 minute plus album.
This one was not really a singular vision, more of a mix tape of songs I’d recorded between 2015 and 2020. To my surprise and delight, it flows nicely as an album though. It went on to receive unamious acclaim and the songs got some decent airplay. But there was no band and as we all know, the only way to promote music these days is to go out and play it in front of prospective new fans.
Now we have the new EP ‘Urgency in Dead Air’ – it’s seven songs and 43 minutes long, which is longer than most band’s 10 song albums these days, but I’m old fashioned and like things massive, so if it’s less than an hour, it’s not an album.
For more on that, see my answer below.
I’ve beem extremely lucky to work with a lot of incredible people – Blair Jollands who engineered and co-produced everything until 2014 as well as half of the new EP and Nikolaj Bjerre who worked on a lot of the ‘Our Love Noire’ stuff and the other half of the new EP.
Amazing people to work with.
Who inspired you to start making music
I’m usually loathe to answer this question, lest I be accused of being a rip off artist! But Smashing Pumpkins who to me are better than even some of my most loved musical artists by magnitudes.
The weight, power and kaleidoscopic variety in their music is awe inspiring. I think by saying they are the band that inspired me, I could have named a dozen bands! Anyway, I’d rather be a 1000th grade rip off of the Pumpkins than a second grade rip off of Oasis. I love Oasis, but if you ape them, you end up looking like a fool.
That being said, I have a tremendously broad taste in music, but a lot of it doesn’t make it into my compositions, there’s no Rachmaninoff, Prince or Terra Tenebrosa in my stuff!
We’ve had comparisons to The Cure, Cocteau Twins, My Bloody Valentine, Afghan Wiggs, Slowdive, Soundgarden and many others too.
‘The Ride Today’ from ‘Our Love Noire’ was described by Gigslutz as The Cure highjacking a Fleetwood Mac song. I’ll take that!
And the one or maybe two records that inspired you artistically
I could name six pumpkins records, but I’ll go with Siamese Dream. Tones are super important to me, so something with that gloopy chorused out bass tone – Simon Gallup from The Cure and Peter Hook from Joy Division are my two favourite bassists, so Disintegration or Get Ready respectively.
If you’re trying to explain whom you sound like to someone that’s never heard you, what do you say
I think I’ve alreaysy covered that and to avoid this getting too turgid, I’ll go with what I’ve written above!
Tell us about your new release
‘Urgency in Dead Air’, the title being a reference to a lyric in the aforementioned ‘We are Made of Evil Things’.
Seven songs – started out as one song, ‘Spring Heeled Jack’ which was originally a two and a half minute’ radio gold’ type, single but morphed into this seven minute plus Behmoth, which is why I retitled it to ‘Spring Heeled Jack a Diadem of Dead Stars and the Magic Bullet’ an epic, pretentious title for what I hope will be received as an epic song.
Then when I decided I wanted to put something more substantial out (there’s my penchant for doing things big again!), the idea was four songs , but as with all of my releases, I decided it needed more – you know, one more that covers ground that I think would make. The EP the opus it deserves to be.
So, one more became three more!
The EP took 10 months to complete when it could have taken two weeks. Mental health is a hell of a drug!
Where can we get hold of it
Just a heads up at the time of writing, our album ‘Our Love Noire’ has been pulled from Spotify for a reason unbeknown to me. It can be bought, along with all of our other stuff over at www.themicrodance.bandcamp.com
Tell us how you write
Everything is written by me – being in a band with someone as prescriptive as me, I’ve been told is a pain in the arse.
I start out with a song I’m writing on the acoustic or piano (I could write five songs a day and I never write something I don’t like), a resounding lyric comes to me or I find a guitar tone that I think needs a song written around it.
The germination comes during the demo stage. I’ve been credited with coming out with great second guitar parts (there’s never just one guitar!), so I lay down the rhythm and find all the suplimentary parts through trial and error, sometimes it takes me 20 minutes to write a nine minute song, sometimes 12 hours to write a three minute song.
Tell us about your live show and how much have you been missing it recently
Playing solo at the moment which is great because there’s so much less that can go wrong and all the onus is on me, which I welcome. I greatly miss that zen moment with a band when all the intricate pieces fall into place and a song comes together, sounding beautiful and massive though.
What can we expect from you in the near future
New EP and a load of solo shows… Hopefully. Its different because reputable promoters aren’t reaching out desperately to have The Microdance play, it’s just little old me and I have to scour for opportunities.
Tell us your favourite records that’s rocking your headphones/tour bus/stereo
Not my favourites, but currently a load of black metal, ‘The Satanist’ by Behmoth and ‘Melinoe’ by Akhylis to name a few, Aaarth by the Joy Formidable, the new Interpol record and some Mozart are currently in heavy rotation.
Check out the bands opening track ‘Lovesick Kisses’ from their new album ‘Our Love Noire’