Spotlight Interview With Mick cantone
A new single from Mick Cantone released in classic A-side/ B-side format is a slightly psychedelic garage rock project with twists of classic rock elements and at times, a genuine 70's sonic tonality that works all too well.
The first track dubbed "Prodigal Son" is a guitar driven, theatrical feeling single that builds in harmonies and keeps that 70's aesthetic strong with an echo on the vocals that can really get you hooked.
The song is an excellent introduction to Cantone and his songwriting style as it displays his strength in creating something familiar but different at the same time.
The second track is called "Remember The Car Wash, Gerard!" and this one feels more like a lost Ween track as the organs play an imperative part in the songs construction and also brings to mind artists like Dylan and Young at times.
With a unique and descriptive lyrical approach and songwriting feel clicks without a hitch and you realize Cantone has something a bit special with this release.
The single follows his previous album release, Songs For An Activist which features a handful of songs that all have that staple sound you come to love quickly.
We wanted to have a chat with Mick Cantone about his releases and what's next for him.
RAG: Okay Mick, let's start with the "Prodigal Son". This track has a classic rock vibe to it with touches of psychedelia and a bit of a lo-fi feel. Where did this song come from?
Mick: Prodigal Son I had written many years ago as a result of playing around with an E minor chords and a G major. That progression reminded me of some songs by The Byrds and it went from there. The song basically wrote itself!
RAG: The B-Side "Remember The Car Wash, Gerard" was also quite classic feeling but had more of a Dylan undertone to it. This song gives off a bit of a Ween vibe. Not sure if you are familiar with Ween but I wanted to know what bands and artists actually did influence you as an artist?
Mick: My influences are diverse. The songs I released in 2020 drew inspiration from Dylan, The Kinks, Phil Ochs, The Replacements, Alan Price and The Byrds to name a few.
RAG: How did all this start for you?
Mick: I was always musically inclined from a young age. I took up the guitar when I was 15 and in college, I was playing on a semi-professional level. Other things happened in my life that took me away from music but I have returned!
RAG: This single is a follow up to your album release entitled Songs For An Activist correct?
Mick: Yes, it is. I commenced recording a follow-up album to Songs For An Activist but during the recording, I decided to record and release the Prodigal Son/Remember the Car Wash, Gerard single as it had more in common stylistically with Songs For An Activist. A farewell to one musical path and hello to another one.
RAG: I found it interesting that album had both stereo and mono versions on it. What gave you that idea?
Mick: Much of the music I enjoy and am inspired by was released in the 1960s and mono mixes were the rule as AM radio, car radios and most record players couldn't play stereo records. All the major bands supervised the mono mixes and the radically different stereo mixes were often done without their involvement.
With Alexa, soundbars, and similar devices, we have come full circle as far as I am concerned. I create mono and stereo mixes of my albums for this reason. Stereo mixes for listening at home in order to chill out on your stereo and mono mixes for streaming. Singles are ALWAYS in mono. Also, let me point out that my mono mixes are not mere fold downs of the stereo mixes but are unique, dedicated mixes with their own highlights.
RAG: What sort of non-musical things inspire you to write?
Mick: Places, people that I meet, friendships, romantic relationships, memories, dreams, films I have watched, books I have read. As a songwriter, it is vital to always keep one's mind, heart and senses open to inspiration.
RAG: What are you doing when you're NOT working on music?
Mick: charity work, freelance art instruction, making visual art, spending precious time with family and friends.
RAG: Do you think you might try and perform live when the time comes?
Mick: I had a few gigs lined up until the COVID-19 pandemic put paid to them. I was able, however, to do live streaming gigs from home on Facebook and Instagram, which raised up a lot of people's spirits.
I am itching to play out and once this pandemic is in the rear view mirror, I will be flogging my new project upon the audiences.
RAG: What's next for you?
Mick: I have decided for the next album, which is completed save for mastering, to embrace the psychedelic and baroque pop/rock sounds I am an ardent fan of. Folk-rock was great to do, but it was somewhat limiting for me.
This new material is being released under the band name Children of Minerva. So far, it comprises my friend Amy Green, who writes the lyrics and myself contributing the music.
The first fruits of our labors, a single entitled "In the Shelter of Spring", co-written by Amy, my friend Mike Morrone and I, will be released on March 26th on Bandcamp.com. The album, titled "Nec Forma Est Verum" (Latin for "In Beauty, There is Truth"), will be released later in the year as a streaming release (mono) and a limited-edition LP with download code (stereo).
RAG: Before we go, what would you like to say to fans of the music?
Mick: To the fans: thank you for joining me on this journey and I hope you will continue to accompany me as fans and friends. Be good to one another and love one another.