Mike Grosshandler – An Xperience Interview
Written by Staff on February 9, 2024
Mike Grosshandler – An Xperience Interview – by Liam Sweeny.
RRX: You have a new single coming out as a solo project. Is this a departure from your band The Velmas, or in addition to
MG: I do – I’m super excited to be releasing new music again! This song, “About Time”, is more of an evolution – a blend of what I’ve done with The Velmas with some more recent musical influences. For example, playing some heavier rock with Above The Flood inspired me to bring some of that feel to this song and give it more intensity and energy. It was originally going to be in standard tuning in E, but I took it down a full step and did it in drop D tuning instead and reimagined some of the guitar parts and the arrangement. I like where I landed with it!
RRX: What inspired you to branch out into a solo endeavor? Do you see this as a new avenue for you, or has solo work been in your wheelhouse since before being in a band?
MG: It’s not a new avenue really, more like getting back on the road after a break. I’ve always felt driven to write and record music. I do love to create with a band for sure. But back in ‘03 and ’04, between Velmas releases, I put out a couple acoustic solo albums (Scales and Wrote Myself). Then I did a full-on “rock” solo album in 2012 (Blue Skies Black). I had songs ready to go, and doing it myself was the easiest path to getting them out!
Since then, life has gotten more complicated. Being a dad and working full time makes it harder to find time to work on my music. So, at this point, even releasing a single song is a big accomplishment for me!
RRX: Tell us a little bit about the song. If three persons/places/things were to meet in an alleyway to describe your song, what would those three things be?
MG: Great question! If I had to choose three things to describe “About Time,” they could be… a well-worn journal, a tall, knotted tree, and a 90s-era Lollapalooza ticket stub. The diary represents the personal and emotional journey in the lyrics and the process of finishing this song. The tree symbolizes growth and resilience in the face of adversity and change, and the ticket stub reflects the 90s alternative rock influences in the song. It’s a nod to the raw energy and spirit of that era. This song evokes those feelings, but blends in something new and uniquely mine.
RRX: For people who know you by your work with The Velmas, will they recognize the style? If not, do you see The Velmas fans coming over to this as well?
MG: Yeah, they could certainly find something that resonates with them. It’s got a similar spirit and energy to some Velmas songs, but it also brings some new dimensions. I plan to keep creating and exploring, so I hope they stay on this musical journey with me as my story unfolds. I have a lot more new music in the works!
RRX: When you’re doing solo work, what’s your flavor? Seat of the pants jammy kind of idea getting, or measured calculated composition. If it’s both, which one would you fall back on if you couldn’t have the other?
MG: I’ll usually start strumming an acoustic guitar, trying out ideas, noodling and singing nonsense until something catches my ear. But then I switch modes to more deliberate composition for sure. I try to figure out what I’ve got – is this a verse? a chorus or bridge? By then I’ll usually bust out my phone to record something to make sure I don’t forget the idea! I try to be more methodical once I start recording a demo of a new idea. But if I had to rely on just one… that’s a tough question. I think I need both, really. The “pulling an idea out of the ether” part is where the inspiration comes from, but I still want to make a cohesive song in the end.
RRX: Where do you see your solo work going? It’s hard to get out there, get heard. What tricks do you have in your pocket, aside from letting me bend your ear? How do you bring listeners to new work these days?
MG: Outlets like Radioradiox and Xperience Monthly who help take my signal and amplify it are an absolute blessing. It is hard to get heard over the noise. There are so many things vying for people’s attention today… social media, news, movies, sports, and of course tons of new music! We’re constantly bombarded with new content, and it feels more challenging than ever to capture and hold someone’s attention.
Despite all that, I believe in the power of music and its ability to connect with people on a deep, emotional level. So, I’ll continue to create and share my music, hoping it will resonate with someone. Making authentic connections is crucial – and I try to do that with social media, playing out live, and having my music on multiple digital platforms. But really, word-of-mouth from fans is the best way to spread the word!
RRX: This is where you answer the question I didn’t ask. Comments, remarks; educate, enlighten, emote – the floor is yours.
MG: Well first of all, thank you so much, Liam, and Xperience Monthly, for listening and supporting local music! While there are many things in life that bring me joy and fulfillment, I don’t really feel complete unless I’m making music in some form, be it recording, writing, or performing. I want my music to be part of the world’s soundtrack. I believe the only way to achieve a sort of immortality is through music. I’d appreciate any help in spreading the word about my music, so please tell a friend? Your support means the world to artists like me – thank you! www.mikegrosshandler.com