1) Hey Mike, thanks for taking the time to answer some questions! Can you tell us a little about your sound for those of our readers unfamiliar with your work?
@MikeBorgia: No thank you! it’s always an honor to be recognized. The description of my sound comes from fans, not me, but we have this alternative blues sound mixed with punk influences. Similar artist comparisons have been The Police, The Clash, The Shins, Chris Cornell, Fleet Foxes..
(2) You recently released "Live or Die, you won't be lonely". This is your 9th album, that's impressively prolific for such a young guy. How old were you when you first started writing and releasing music? Do you have a big back catalogue that you are drawing from or do you start fresh every album?
@MikeBorgia: We are about to release it actually. Officially on Feb 11th, 2011. more like my 10th release. I started performing live at age 13 and had to be chaperoned everywhere I went. I start fresh with every album and only write when I feel inspired. I can’t just write songs just because I need to fill an album. I much rather focus on the quality of each song. If I go to sleep and wake up the next day and can’t remember the melody, it wasn’t worth keeping.
(3) You are choosing to not release this album on iTunes. What's your reasoning behind this? Where can people purchase the record?
@MikeBorgia: That is correct, no itunes and for good logical reasons. Everyone knows by now that any artist can pay to have their tracks distributed at itunes, but everyone knows that only true fans will buy your music and will do it willingly directly from the artist. It’s not good business sense to give 35% to another company who doesn’t do anything to promote your songs. Some artists believe that selling through itunes makes you more professional or legitimate. I highly disagree. it is the quality of your work and its presence that matter most. My work can always be found at http://mikeborgia.com
(4) You have a pretty innovative packaging for the album as well, can you tell us about it?
@MikeBorgia: I sure can! I wanted to connect the fans with the songs as much as possible, creating a visual uncommonly used. I selected different graphic artists from around the world whom I’ve worked with over the years and asked them to create a piece of art that visually explains and translates the meaning of each song. We have done this beautifully in an audio magazine format. Consider it as taking a fully packaged CD to the next level. If fans buy the magazine with the physical CD, they get a bonus track not included in the digital version which is indeed the title track. The packing looks beautiful and the songs we are truly proud of. I am certain that people will want to own this as a keepsake and rarity. This format is limited to 50 copies per state or country. Once they are gone, you can only get digital tracks and downloadable artwork.
(5) You've done a pretty decent amount of touring, including in the U.K. What was the motivation of going over there to perform rather than concentrating on breaking in the US? How did touring over there compare to doing so in the US?
@MikeBorgia: I have done a considerable amount of touring over the years. The states have always been a challenge with it being so large, over saturated and spread out. I find it much more costly and difficult to break in the US due to the size. Timing is truly a factor as well. My motivation to tour the UK started in 2003, when I was promoting a new record on purevolume.com actually. At the time purevolume was quite the norm whether you were emo or not. My music clearly was not emo, but I thought the fans on that site needed to hear something different. I purchased a promo add for 1 week and watched the song plays and responses rise up. One of the emails was from a guy working at Red Dragon FM in Cardiff, S Wales. I was super excited to learn how interested he was. We became online buddies, and withing a month or so, I had promoters hooking me up with my first set of tour dates around wales and up through Manchester, thanks to the motivation of my new welsh friend. From there I met more new friends who had the ability to introduce my music to new promoters in different cities who also liked my work and it just kept building form there.
(6) What's your favorite cities you've toured in?
@MikeBorgia: There are many, but to narrow it down, I would say in the UK it was Cardiff, Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, just to name a few. In the US my favorites are Chicago, Kansas City, MO, Raleigh NC.
(7) Who were the biggest influences on the record? Does it change drastically from album to album or do you have a pretty set group of influences?
@MikeBorgia: I don’t really have any artists I listen to who have directly influenced my writing, but if I had to choose it would be Chris Whitley, The Afghan Whigs and as of late Cee-lo.
Personal influences have changed year to year, but more recently, in the past two would be my son Lyric Michael. I get inspired to write each year based on my experiences with other people. I don’t try to sound like anyone, I just want to be myself and whatever comes out is what you genuinely get. I can’t think about what other artists are doing and try to copy them in hopes new fans will catch on. That just makes artists who do that look dumb and I don’t want to waste energy pretending to fit in.
(8) Any under the radar artists that you think people need to know about?:
@MikeBorgia: Yes! totally! one who has been too underrated for years is Jimmy Gnecco also of the band OURS. Joshua Grierson (from Cape Town SA) & last but not least TOWN (from Newport, S.Wales).
(9) Where can people check you out online? Is there a way for fans to get in touch with you?
@MikeBorgia: Pretty much anywhere, but more directly at http://mikeborgia.com or by joining my newsletter. I answer directly from it as well.
(10) Thanks again for answering these questions! Any last words for our readers?
@MikeBorgia: I know this sounds cheesy, but when it comes to listening to music you may not have heard, follow your hearts and instincts and nothing else.