Interview with Michael Reed, aka Mikey Guitar, of Bauer

Last week, I posted a review of the upcoming Bauer album, “Impossible Is Nothing”. You can check out the review and details of how to pre-order, here:

Today I have an interview with the talented Michael Reed (aka Mikey Guitar) of Bauer.

As well as being a member of Bauer, Mikey also has a couple of notable side-projects. He is part of the Red-sided Garter Snakes, who released a brilliant album, “Endless Sea”, last year (they are working on a follow-up at the moment).

Mikey also released his own album, “Fables”, last yearβ€”a mostly instrumental album, that also features Greg Matthews (lead singer of Bauer) on one of the tracks.


I recently interviewed Mikey about the new Bauer album and other music-related stuff.

Interview with Mikey Guitar of Bauer

Introduce us to the band members and tell us a bit about your musical backgrounds.

Greg (Vocals), Mikey – ME! (Guitar), Neil (Bass), Lee (Drums). Bauer has been the longest served musical project for all of us…Neil owns a recording studio…I’m the biggest musical slut out of us all and have been involved in various projects through the years, bands, bits of self indulgent solo stuff that I like to do from time to time….I’m probably infamous in and around Manchester by now for putting on club nights and generally being out and about at gigs and clubs…. making a bit of a nuisance of myself. Me and Greg have also recently been involved in the Red Sided Garter Snakes which is sort of a cool Chameleons off shoot…somehow Bauer always seems to be the mothership that we all return to though.

How and when did the band get together?

It seems like we’ve been making music in various guises forever now but we’ve officially been “Bauer” as the four of us for ten years this summer. As is the way, we just gravitated towards each other because everybody was trying to form the new Manchester version of The Strokes at the time….and we definitely weren’t!

LOL πŸ˜€

Who are your musical heroes?

I think as you get older and carry on making music, the posters come off the wall and the hero worship thing tends to die down a bit, then you’re just left with really strong influences on what you do. We’ve all got a wide range of influences between us but there’s a few “common ground” artists that we can all agree on…so it’ll be a lot of the better 80’s bands…Depeche Mode, Smiths, New Order and all that sort of stuff.

Your new album was funded via Pledge Music. How was that process for you, and would you recommend it to other bands?

It was perfect for us because we’ve got people from pretty much all over the world that have been supporting us for quite a long time now…and it’s been a great way of getting these people more involved with what we do. It’s been challenging at times to keep up with everything but nonetheless very rewarding. We’re probably more popular in crazy parts of America than we are in Manchester. It’s always been a slight struggle around here because we’re not a dark and dirgey indie band, and we’ve never been in fashion or tried to jump on the usual Manchester bandwagon that seems to start up every few years…At the moment it’s full of 20-year-olds listening to “psych music” from the ’60s and trying to dress like Syd Barrett!

Hahaha! πŸ˜€

That said, we’ve done some great Manchester shows throughout the last few years.

There are some beautiful melodies on the new album and some thought-provoking lyrics. Who usually writes the songs, or is it always a collaboration between all band members?

This time it started out with me and Greg doing some pretty intense songwriting sessions and exchanging ideas…By the time we got to the the rehearsal studio and pulled the other two guys in, we probably had fifty or more full ideas or snippets and riffs to work with, so it put us in a really strong position. Out of the fifty there were probably six or seven that really stood out and then we had a few magic moments in the studio where new songs flew out of the air, so that got us up to ten/eleven songs.

What inspires the lyrics for your songs?

You’d have to ask Greg Matthews as he’s the lyricist, but I’d like to say the lyrics on this album are easily the best set of lyrics he’s ever put together for anything. A lot less imagery nowadays and a little more story telling and truth.

Which was the first song you wrote for the new album?

The first set of songs were “Impossible is nothing”, “Breakdown”, and “Perfect Ghost”. Pretty amazing really that them three came right at the beginning; they set a very high benchmark for the rest of the album that we had to stick to. Some really good songs have been left on the roadside from this project, a couple that are pretty much surefire hits but just didn’t fit the record once the general sound and mood was set by them three songs. Maybe we can sell them to Coldplay sometime seeing as they haven’t written many standouts for a while πŸ˜‰

Ha,ha! πŸ™‚ I want to hear those songs now! You’ll have to release some more EPs soon!

Do you have any favourite songs from the upcoming album, and if so why are they your favourites?

It’s hard to say at the moment because we’ve all been so close to it for quite a long time now. There’s definitely going to be a few discussions about what the first single should be. There’s a couple of obvious ones like “Impossible Is Nothing” and “Made The Change”, and then there’s some of the darker cooler tracks that may change people’s perceptions of us….which is “They’re just a light pop band a bit twee”…obviously total bollocks and very lazy to come to that conclusion from the one or two tracks these sort of people may have heard…anyway, it’s a hard one to call at the moment!

LOL πŸ™‚ Well, whichever one you choose will be perfect. I can honestly say I loved all the songs on the album.

What usually comes first for Bauer, the lyrics or the music?

Generally for this album I’d say it’s been the music and that has been the bedrock for the vocals to fly over the top of that. We work in a lot of different ways though…It’s about teasing out the best ideas and then working them up into the finished thing.

Will you be touring or playing many gigs to promote the new record?

We’re looking at some big hometown gigs (Manchester Academy 2 with The Rainband coming up on 29th April) and then see how it goes after that.

We did a great packed out gig at Sound Control recently. Always nice to see heads bobbing about in the room all the way to the back.

Which have you found are the best social media sites for bands to promote/sell their work?

I think a general combination of them all working together in tandem is the way to go. You need the standard combo Twitter/Facebook fanpage/Instagram for photos/Youtube channel/Official website all updating roughly at the same time and offering good content. It helped for us pulling people into the Pledge Music campaign.

What tips would you give to bands who are just starting out?

I’d probably say………NO! Save yourself the heartbreak and torment, get a real job! But if you’re a real artist and you yearn to be writing and creating all the time, you just have to work your tits off everyday, build your brand and expect nothing in return, then if something good happens you learn to appreciate it. But yeah, I’d say only do it if you have no other choice but to do it. There’s too many “career” fakes out there that have rich parents buying them all the equipment….who probably have a good run of it for a couple of years and then realise it’s too much like hard work and get an admin job or something.

Pretty much the same advice I would give to anyone who wants to be a fiction writer! πŸ™‚

If Bauer could write/compose a song with a musician (dead or alive), who would you choose and why?

I’d like to write a love some for Elvis. I’ll do the music, Greg can do the lyrics because I think he’s an old romantic at heart really…under the steely Boltonian exterior πŸ˜‰

πŸ˜€ What have been some of the band’s highlights so far?

Generally I’d say it’s just the whole thing: the friendship, the joy of making music and playing live together. The real highlight is that we’re still here doing it, that people have just pledged on our album from all corners of the globe and that no matter what anybody says about this band we’ve always done it for the sheer love of creating beautiful music.


If you could tour with any other band, who would you choose and why?

Well, seeing as I’ve already sold them a song in this interview, let’s go for Coldplay. Not because they’re my favourites….because we’d be playing in stadiums to thousands of people…and that then might persuade them to all stream our album on Spotify and make me at least Β£5.73p to put towards a round in the pub.

Ha! Well, let’s hope Coldplay are reading this πŸ˜‰

Any other news for your fans?

To everybody that has pledged on the album, it’s now 100% finished…mixed and mastered, and ready to go to the pressing plant. After that we’re looking for a general album release in the summer with all the usual iTunes, Amazon etc, etc, trinkets.

Wonderful πŸ™‚ It’s a brilliant album and I’m sure it will get a great response from all pledgers! Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions, Mikey, and good luck with all your side projects too!


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