So, I'm told that for the album website, I need to write a bio. A bio. A bio... OK. Where to start? I was born in Bath, Somerset UK... no, that's a bit too early. For the sake of an artist bio, it would likely start at school in the 1980s where I first picked up a guitar and joined my first band, only to be booted out shortly afterwards! I can't blame the others - I had no electric guitar and little experience on the instrument at that point. However it was at school I also started songwriting. Not sure why, it was never in the family. However I always had an interest in the names in brackets under the artist name on the 7" singles and albums I bought. (Lennon/McCartney). (Wilson/Love). (Allison, Holly, Petty). Sometimes the name in brackets was the same as the artist, sometimes not.
At Uni, I formed my first band, in which I played bass guitar. Initially we were called, for reasons I never understood, "The First Rites". We subsequently changed it to "The Anthill Mob". I expect we would have had to have changed it again had we not split up, given that there were other bands with that name. Yes we played covers but our guitarist also wrote some great tracks for the band which made us stand out in live performances amongst the other student bands. I started to note that the artists with more respect and longevity, at whatever level, not always, but tended to be, the ones that also wrote their own songs.
After uni, I continued to write songs, on and off, as well as playing bass in my village band. I never considered doing anything with them. Many were never finished. However I kept plugging away at it. I started taking guitar and music theory lessions (major 7th anyone?). When I was at school, only music students at grade 6 and above took music theory. In 2009 I did an internet search for companies offering music or songwriting holidays and landed on a site for studio called The Beehouse. The Beehouse offered something I hadn't heard of before, a one day "Songwriting Experience". This allowed people "off the street" to go in for a day and have a managed session where you go in with a song and come out with a basic recording.
In my case, that song was "San Pedro" and of course I was instantly hooked on recording my songs in a proper studio environment with people like producer Phil Lane that knew what they were doing. That first day was in November 2009, and one and off through 2010 to 2013 we then worked our way through Jackson, By My Side, Eighth Wonder, and so on to Feeling Festive which was the last track we recorded for the album. I learnt a lot during that time, about engineering and production, compression, levels, EQ and doing "BV's" - backing vocals. It's been quite a journey, especially as I wanted to include a lot of different styles on the album, latino, funk, rock, jazz, oldies, so we never ended up using the same template twice. When I look back I realise how ambitious a project it was.
I even learnt from the album cover - how do you create a barcode? What is a pantone? (it's to do with colour printing, I believe). Anyway, the album is finally finished as of October 2013, and is available on CD and MP3. I hope you enjoy it (there's more detail about individual tracks in another section of this website). I never did find a songwriting holiday, but in the end it didn't matter.
Mike Pratt - November 2013