What was the beginning point for your music career? How did it all start?
Mick Michaels: My love for music started when I was a kid. My grandfather performed in string bands and played multiple instruments…my older brother played guitar and was in bands…my parents listened to the Beatles and Doo Wop music and my uncle was into Motown and RnB…so music was a big part of my life. I was definitely drawn to it early on and had a desire to want to create my own music. I started out playing drums and did that for a number of years. However, I wanted to write songs and found that it was not as easy to translate what I was hearing in my head to the drums. When I was about 12, I switched to the guitar. Since my older brother played, it was an easy transition. I quickly found that guitar was the vehicle I was looking for to write what I was hearing in my head. I learned enough chords to start songwriting. From there I just wanted to be in a band and play. I never really thought about much else. I started playing in a number of bands over the years which lead me to Corners of Sanctuary. Everything we do brings us to where we are now…the good, the bad and unfortunately, the ugly. It’s what you do with it that counts in the end.
Were there any bumps in the road?
Mick Michaels: Plenty of bumps in the road…. Many of which I put there myself…LOL. Moving forward always involves challenges…those challenges are what make us develop and grow. When working with bands, there is always going to be some level of conflict, but that conflict doesn’t always have to be looked as a negative. Sometimes that intensity can bring out the best in people as much as it can bring out the not so best. Bumps in the road are expected…I guess it comes down to how we decide to deal with them that makes the real difference.
What kind of challenges did you have to deal with?
Mick Michaels: With any band there is always the possibility of lineup changes. Today it seems to be normal business for most bands. But lineup changes can often shift a band’s culture and there is always that period of time when everyone is trying to get settled in.
Of course, in this business nothing is forever and things can change day to day. Like shows scheduled than canceled…deals falling through…releases having a glitch or not performing as expected or hoped…and now COVID….
Then there are always the personal aspects that greatly affect what you do…some things are just unavoidable. Life is life.
As an example, we were in the UK for our first tour of the country last year. While we were there a travel ban was put in place and the US was going into a lockdown. We were forced to cancel the remainder of the tour as well as the rest of the dates for 2020. No one expected this…it wasn’t even in our thinking…but it was what it was and we must move forward always hoping for the best.
What was the most fulfilling and satisfying moment so far?
Mick Michaels: There have been many and because of that, I am very grateful for the opportunities that have been given to me. Touring in Europe was a major highlight for this band. Opening up for a number of our favorite bands over the years has also been an amazing experience. We opened for U.D.O. one year and it was just such a surreal experience for us...we grew up listening to ACCEPT so it was a dream come true. But having the chance to be able to share our music with people all over the world has really been something almost unimaginable. Such an opportunity is truly a blessing and we greatly appreciate all the continued support.
How would you describe the music that you typically create?
Mick Michaels: For us it’s traditional Heavy Metal…we like to call it the New Wave of Traditional American Heavy Metal (NWoTAHM). It’s a collection of all our influences; our way of paying homage to those who came before us, paved the way and inspired us to do what we do. We are just following their lead. Our style and approach is simple and to the point…we keep the head rocking and the foot stomping.
What is your creative process like?
Mick Michaels: I don’t think our creative process is much different than most other artists/musicians. We start with the basics and that’s usually a riff or melody. From there things tend to develop on their own. Once an idea is presented to the band, everyone gets a chance to put their stamp on it, truly making it a Corners of Sanctuary song.
If you could change anything about the industry, what would it be?
Mick Michaels: I think if the industry was less cut throat, less “everyone for themselves” mentality, the benefits would be far greater for everyone. The unfortunate thing is that there is so much of this type of behavior and interaction that it has become the normal and is acceptable at all levels. It’s that “big fish in a little pond” mentality that drives this,and in reality, we are all just little fish in a really great big pond. We try and not be like that at all and do what we can to avoid those who are…it just makes for better relationships in the end…and that’s what music does, it builds relationships.
If you were asked to give a piece of advice to upcoming bands, what would that be?
Mick Michaels: Always be true to yourself ‘cause in the end that’s all you have and that’s all that counts.
What has been the best performance of your career so far?
Mick Michaels: Sometimes the best performances are not necessarily the ones that I played well at but the ones that had the most energy and positive vibe. It’s not about perfection but moreso about passion and how you share that passion…that’s true connection.
We did a show in Hanover, Germany, a smaller venue, but that night the energy was through the roof both for us and with the crowd. This was in spite of the less than desired sound we had for that show and a handful of technical issues…it was electrifying.
Those shows where it seems that technically thingswere dead on are like moments of Zen…they are far and few between but we then spend our time trying to find them again.
If you didn’t become a musician, what would you be doing now?
Mick Michaels: I was on my way to becoming a graphic artist…went to school, earned a degree…had big plans. But now I’m here doing what I do and I can’t complain.
What is new with the band at the moment?
Mick Michaels: Corners of Sanctuary is preparing to release a new EP, “Blood and Steel: volume one” on March 5th through RFL Records (US). We’ve darkened things up a bit for this EP….
What are you currently working on and would like to share with the world?
Mick Michaels: We are working on volume two for “Blood and Steel” and are planning a summer release for that EP. In the Fall we are considering combining both EPs along with some additional tracks for a limited CD release. Additionally, we have several online steaming performances scheduled including February 13th and Defender’s Gate Fest on March 13th. Plus we’ve also started working on our next full length album, “Vengeance of the Fallen,” that we look to release in 2022.
Additionally, I have a couple of side projectsreleasing some new music including theContemporary Lounge Rock band Starlight withits debut EP, “Under the Radar.” The EP will be available digitally through Exquisite Noise Records (US), as well as a Groove Doom project I am involved in. Both projects include COSdrummer Mad T.
Thanks for talking with me…it has been a pleasure. All my best and COSnROLL\m/\m/!
Check out Corners of Sanctuary (COS) at: