Mike Dignam Interview
Before the Scouting For Girls gig at Rock City on Sunday 22nd November me and Anna, another member of The Mic had the chance to interview the support for the band Mike Dignam backstage before his set.
How does it feel when you’re the supporting act and you’re playing to loads of people that don’t know you?
Erm, how does it feel, it feels like you’re trying to win a thousand people over it’s quite a daunting task, but it’s fun, you know what I mean, you just like go out there feel the energy and try and do your best to impress.
How would you describe your music to people who’ve not listened to it before?
Hmm, well, erm, it’s like, it’s like bluesy pop, it is pop but it’s not, I don’t think pop is such a dirty word anymore like you know when you say sometimes you say pop and everyone thinks Britney Spears or whatever, but it’s not is it anymore, do you know what I mean. It’s like pop is good, so yeah it’s kind of bluesly. It’s got a bit of grit, I’m talking more about the new album now because my other stuff used to be more acoustic singer songwriter stuff, but this is kind of more er got, got a bit more grit to it, a bit more balls, yeah.
You’ve supported loads of bands like 5 Seconds of Summer and American Authors, have you got a favourite?
Oooh a favourite, I can’t, I couldn’t say that, my favourite is Scouting For Girls because they’re taking me on tour with them. They’ve all been really cool. Honestly like to get the opportunities I’ve had over and over is quite ridiculous when I think about it. you know what I mean, to keep getting asked on these tours by different bands, I don’t really know how it all happens but it seems to so I’m not complaining.
Have you had a favourite place you’ve performed or would you like to perform anywhere in particular?
Erm, I think playing in Australia. It’d be between Australia and playing at Wembley Arena, cos that was just kind of like one of them Hello Wembley! *Mike imitates as if in front of a crowd*
Did you actually do that?
*Both Laughing* Of course I did, you have to, it’s just rude not to, erm so I, I had those two kind of times were real, real pinch yourself moments. But I mean yeah every show is different and it’s just sometimes it doesn’t matter if there’s like a hundred people, but if they’re going for it, they love it, then it’s the best gig ever.
You’re new album Fight To Forgive is out now, have you got a favourite song from it?
Ohh you’re asking me favourites, erm, favourite song. I can’t, I couldn’t say because I like them all in different ways and they’re kind of, I tried to write exactly how I feel in an album about loads of different things. Know what I mean, I didn’t think a lot of people erm, not a lot of people, but some artists will just like write like a break up album and a whole album about that, or you know something like that. But I kind of try to write about every aspect of what I think and feel. So it’d be hard to pick a favourite cos they’re only like 10% of how I feel, you know what I mean each song.
The new album has a more serious grown up sort of vibe, did you deliberately want to go in that direction or did it just like happen?
Yeah it, no I did, I made, I made a decision and you know I had to though because I was growing up in that time. I did go on like the Lawson and the 5 Seconds Of Summer and I got very erm, too say caught up is the wrong word because I wanted to be in it. But I was in that scene of very kind of upbeat kind of positive songs and stuff like that. And I was writing those, but then in my real life I was kind of like I am kind of like someone else. Like I’ve got rent to pay and I’ve got other, I don’t know I’ve just got other problems that aren’t just about nice things, you know that a lot of songs can be about. So when I did the new album I kind of decided, I was like if I’m going to do my first album I’m going to be 100% honest to everyone, and like if people don’t like it then I’m just going to be like well sorry. Because I didn’t try and write the song just to please everyone, I just wrote them because I believed in them.
Are there any artists or bands or people in general that inspire you?
Erm yeah there’s loads, loads of people. I would say John Mayer is my biggest influence, I think his lyrics and his way around song writing is incredible. I love Arctic monkeys, I think they’re genius. Maroon 5’s first record, I mean they’re still great but I think their first record was like proper songs, erm just loads of stuff like you know good music.
If you weren’t a singer what do you think you’d be doing?
Erm, maybe have a merch company for bands and stuff like that. I did a merch thing quite heavily a few years ago, like my stuff and made all the t-shirts and things like that. And we set up like a factory and it went mental, set up this like space in a factory and made thousands of t-shirts and stuff and I was like yeah, I could do this if you know, if the music thing didn’t work out. I think I would go into making good merch like erm, not just getting a guilded t-shirt and printing on it. I’d like to get proper cuts and try and make like a real garment.
Do you ever get recognised and would you want to if you don’t really?
Erm I do yeah. And it’s weird because I’m in limbo aren’t I? Of being known and unknown. Like for instance yesterday I went to buy my album from HMV, and I thought I was going to go well undetected. And I was just you know whatever, went in there and the one person that was serving me, she was like a massive fan. And she was like “oh my god is this really you?” and then she like looked down and she saw my album and she was like “you’re buying your own album?” I was like yeah, well it’s just kind of one of those things you do if you ever get an album in HMV. Erm, but yeah I do get, the thing is about being recognized is it used to freak me out a bit at first because I was not used to it, and I used to be walking down the street. It’s not like it’s all the time cos it’s not, it’s just every so often some random will shout out your name, and you’re like, that’s really, it catches you off guard. I’d kind of prefer it to be all the time everywhere you went in a way because then you’d just be like oh it’s normal. But it’s when you’re in Asda and someone comes up to you and goes “Oh Mike Dignam” and then you’re like oh yeah, oh right, cool hi. And you’re out of that zone of being that guy. I’m just there, just there just getting my shopping kind of thing. So there are moments like that where it’s a bit like oh, but you know people are recognising me for my music and my songs so not for any scandals so that’s fine.
So the fan base that you’ve got it’s a lot of kind of teenage girls, would you rather want a more male audience or grown up?
Well I think it’s, it’s definitely evolving in to that. Like the last tour I did, that was the biggest sort of male turnout that I’ve ever had, you know some, I remember like when I first did the Lawson tour, and did a headline tour off that, there was not one guy there like at all. And it was just, don’t get me wrong that’s great, that’s cool, but I wanted, I don’t know. I feel like I write, well the new stuff anyway, I feel like I write songs from a guy’s perspective, obviously because I’m a guy. But like, and I think that’s what a lot of the lads are starting to get now. And even some of the people who are coming to Scouting For Girls, they have a good male audience as well, and they’re like yeah I get it you’re saying it from a lads point of view sort of thing. So I think eventually that will become a bigger part of my fan base. But I’d never want to lose like the female fan base, you just want everyone to be in to it don’t you basically, that’s the plan.
So tickets for your headline tour are on sale now for April, how’s it going to feel playing to your own fans, you know they’re there just for you?
Yeah it’ll be really good, it’ll be exciting and like I was saying before, when you go out to a crowd and you’re trying to sort of win them over and stuff like that, that is one thing, you play a bit differently. You’re kind of more, not on edge but just a bit more like trying to like really get everyone to be in to it, you know what I mean. But when it’s your own thing and the crowd are already singing along and everyone’s in to it, it’s like you just enjoy it then. You’re like this is the moment that I want to remember and stuff like that. So yeah it’s going to be, it’s going to be a good one I can’t wait. I think we’ve given it enough time to sort of let the album build and do this tour and do a few more things in between, so by the time we get to April it should be pretty busy and a good tour.