The Radar: Micayl Interview
Following on from his debut single, Micayl returns with Versailles – and Alan Parry took the time to learn more about this new mysterious artist.
The uber smooth Micayl is back with the follow up to his debut Monochrome. On the back of the success of that first single, I was more than excited to hear Versailles and it does not disappoint.
This new track is an evocative blend of laid back lo -fi, jazz and soulful hip-hop and this cocktail serves to solidify him as an artist with a distinct sound.
I described his debut as being both retro and contemporary and am struggling to find a better phrase for this more recent effort. What Versailles confirms is that Micayl understands how to draw from and mix up sounds from his medley of influences to bring us something unique. From John Coltrane to FKJ and everything in-between, it’s all there.
Some influences are perhaps more discernible than others, but the joy is to be found in listening out for them n the myriad layers of Micayl’s work.
Versailles is for this writer at least, more than a song, or a series of unrelated nods to it’s forebearers, it is an atmosphere.
I was fortunate enough to get the chance to catch up with Micayl to speak about his passion for the industry, what attracted him to Liverpool and what’s in the pipeline.
Planet Slop: Obviously, you have a European identity, but what was it that drew you to Liverpool, and/or keeps you in the city?
Micayl: Well, my initial plan was to drop out of High School and move to London to play the pub-circuit down there for a while. It was my dad that suggested to go and see what London’s like before I move there straight away, which, in retrospect, turned out to be a much better plan. On that trip I bought my first guitar on Denmark Street in London and the guy who sold me the guitar turned out to be one of the first graduates of LIPA – which I had never heard of up until that point. So, after he had introduced me to Liverpool and the University, I kind of just decided to go for it and moved up here instead. Liverpool feels a little bit like a compressed version of London, I had never been to a place so full and rich of musical identity before. It’s an incredibly welcoming city with a supportive environment and community.
PS: What is it you enjoy most about being a musician? And is there anything about it you would change?
M: Music has always been a major part of my life. Often in different shapes and ways but I always felt like, whenever I encountered a rough or difficult point in my life, music was always the first and safest thing to turn to. So, I’d say music just makes me feel secure and confident and offers me to speak openly about struggles that are sometimes difficult to verbalise. I consider it as a great luxury and gift to be able to do it every single day, so; no, I wouldn’t change it for the world. I’m very grateful to be in a position in which I can surround myself with music every day.
PS: Can you describe your creative process?
M: Yes and no. I often feel like [it…] kind of overcomes me in a way that I can’t understand or comprehend. But at the same time, I think being surrounded by creative people and any form of art in general helps to keep some sort of “creative spark” alive. I used to find it hard to start with a project, often being overwhelmed by other talent or the amount of possibilities. But I realised that it helps a lot to write something every day, even if it’s just one line or a chord progression, since I found that this keeps the creative output flowing and makes it easier to overcome the barrier of having to start something new.
PS: What is the biggest problem you’ve had to overcome so far?
M: Musically, I have struggled hard to put my finger on what is “me” and a sound I can truly identify with. I realised that myself and my identity were changing quite rapidly over the past few years, which often made it difficult to relate to something I had made a year prior. But in the end, it’s just down to your ability of accepting your current skill level and possibilities and making the best out of it.
PS: Have you ever dealt with performance anxiety?
M: In some ways yes. I was lucky to be introduced to the stage quite early on in my life which offered me a few extra years of practice. But in being quite hard on myself in general I sometimes doubt myself a lot, which can make it hard to show what I can do. But in the end, it’s the same like everything, it becomes much easier the more you do it.
PS: Do you have any advice for those looking to break into the industry?
M: Don’t be afraid to do it and to be yourself. I’d much rather watch someone who isn’t technically world-class but has strong authenticity to him or her than someone who is incredible skilled but can’t deliver his or her uniqueness. It’s the most fun and does amazing things to you if you’re willing to dive into it.
PS: Can you tell me about your favourite venues to watch and perform music?
M: I really enjoy performing at the Jacaranda Phase One and 81 Renshaw. They are both quite intimate venues and always have great artists on. I can only recommend the O2 Academy and 24 Kitchen Street, I’ve been to a bunch of great shows there as well this year.
PS: I’m excited to hear what else you have, so what’s next on the agenda?
M: Thanks a lot. I’ve been working on a project with my brother called Hypnagogic Project which is coming out this month. Then I’m releasing a double-side single in September and I’m also working on a collaborative concept mixtape featuring six different artists from six different countries which will be complemented by a short movie as well and is set to be released early 2020.
Versailles is out now.