1.0 – What led to the decision to release Day Dreamer, an EP, as a follow-up to the 2007 full-length self-titled debut, Mike Clifford?
Money was a big factor. I invested all of my savings into recording
the LP. I hired great players and rented studio time, including a few
days at The Magic Shop. That added up very quickly. Following up with an EP-fewer song to record and mix-made sense financially. But I also like the format of an EP. Pick a few songs that you feel really solid about and put them out there.
2.0 – How do you think the material and delivery on the new disc vary in comparison?
Production value. I couldn’t afford a pro studio to track drums on
this one. All of the tunes on the EP were either recorded in my
bedroom or my friend and mixer/engineer/producer Zach Berkman’s bedroom using Protools and a few mics. We didn’t labor a lot over sounds or complicated arrangements. Instead, we focused on getting workable sounds and good, honest takes. Like a lot of other songwriters I tend to think that a great song ought to hold up whether it’s performed by a voice and a single accompanying instrument or a full band with all of the bells and whistles added on.
3.0 – How did your band come together?
Different band with the exception of Leo Marino on guitar. He played guitar on the LP and the EP, along with switching between guitar and bass in my live band for years. Lately I’ve been performing with Leo,
the great Anton Fier on drums, and Brett Bass on bass. It’s the best
group I’ve played out with.
4.0 – Would you describe yourself as a Day Dreamer; are you nocturnal?
Nope. But I had terrible ADD as a kid. The song “Day Dreamer” provides
a spot-on description of what it was like for me to space out in
5.0 – What comes easier to you, writing on guitar or piano?
That depends on the tune. I’m more proficient on the guitar, but I’m
likely to come up with more interesting chord-voicings and
progressions on the piano. Sometimes I’ll develop a song idea by
switching between the two instruments. If I’m lucky, trying the tune
on the piano might give me an idea of how to approach it on the guitar
and vice versa.
6.0 – Can you describe what it feels like to have written a song you believe in?
It’s very cathartic. Especially if the song comes out quickly with
little editing or ‘crafting’ on my end.
7.0 – How do you know when a song is ready for recording?
I’ll demo it up on Protools and play it for a few people whose opinion
I value. If the feedback is good I’ll try it out live. If it goes
over well and I still like singing it, than the song is ready to go.
8.0 – What was the first song you ever learned to sing and play at the same time?
I’m pretty sure it was “About a Girl” by Nirvana.
9.0 – Who or what got you hooked on rock & roll?
It was in the first grade. I was hanging out with my friends Joe,
Scott and JP in JPs TV room. Joe put on Appetite for Destruction and
started rocking out on air guitar. He told us we were in his band and
assigned instruments. Of course he got to be lead guitarist AND lead
vocalist (Slash + Axle…Slaxle?). I got stuck being the bass player.
I didn’t even know what that was. Either way, I was hooked for life.
10.0 – How was your recent return to NY’s The Living Room in June?
Great. I love that venue. You can rock out hard on one tune and
follow it up with something really quiet and the audience will stay
with you. It all works in that space.