After experiencing Sanjay Michael’s upcoming album “Rocking Into Midnight”…we had a lot of questions and a lot of stories that we want to get to the bottom of…so, it’s a pleasure to have Sanjay today with us, to get to know the artist a bit more and to get some answers!
- So, first thing out of the door…how did you get into rock?
More like rock got into me!
I grew up in Malaysia, which was pretty restricted with local popular music at that time, being an Islamic country, and so my family and friends used to just consume Western music and movies.
I used to be heavily into pop, just like everyone else, until I head Def Leppard for the first time… It blew my mind. I mean, here was the sound I was looking for my whole life! Then came Guns ‘N Roses, and showed a different side of rock, showed what was possible.
- Interesting…and what made you decide to create this kind of pure rock?
The simple answer is that there wasn’t enough of it around! When you’ve gone through all of the classics and some undiscovered gems, you find yourself craving new material that no one is producing.
Rock used to be monolithic but it’s splintered into sub-genres. Melodic metal to prog rock and everything in between… there’s often no common ground. That’s what I wanted to create with my music, a back to basics style that’s hopefully catchy and energetic enough for everyone to enjoy, especially the rockers.
- Tell us more about your latest album “Rocking Into Midnight”…what was the drive for you to make this album a reality?
Initially I just had a lot of time on my hands during the pandemic and I didn’t want to waste it. Then as the writing came along and the riffs, lyrics fell into place, I started to get a sense of being onto something special… I really could plug the gap between what rock I used to listen to and what music was on offer now.
When the recording process started (I had a very understanding producer!) the more I did the more I wanted to learn. I mean, it was a dream come true…. Here I was, doing the same things I had heard my guitar heroes talking about!
- Will you be pursuing other music styles…or are you focusing on bringing classic rock to modern audiences?
Classic rock only, but there will be variations on the theme here and there. For example, pianos, female backup singers, that kind of thing… Definitely no jazz!
- Who is your biggest supporter in life, not just music?
My wife Claudine… Thanks for everything babe!
- Did you perform any notable gigs or are you focusing on recording more?
Recording more for now… There has been a lot of turbulence within the Singapore music community during covid, with many musicians either leaving music or even leaving the country.
I’ve got a few good men now and I’ve just recently teamed up with a band called The Vessels… they’ll be supporting me on live performances and we’ll play each other’s songs.
- So what is it like for Sanjay to compose music…what’s your workflow?
Most of new ideas come from fooling around with the guitar… I try to get a good riffs, that’s the most important. Then I see what words would fit or fall into the chorus best, and that becomes the theme of the song. I take my time filling in the rest of the lyrics later.
When I’ve got the songs ready then I record a demo using Garageband. I play around with the AI drummer (that’s really fun!) until I get the skeleton of the song that’s in my head and I record all the other stuff – rhythm, bass, lead, vocals in that order. This is the time to play around and experiment with, particularly for lead guitar.
- To all the gearheads out there…including me, what’s your go to gear, software, hardware and so on…
The primary signal chain is a Les Paul into a 100w Marshall – why reinvent the wheel?
My Les Pauls are all 59 reissues. I used a True Historic for rhythm and another R9 (with Burstbuckers) for lead.
The Marshall is my own JCM800 (my dream amp for many years!) paired with a 2×12 cabinet)
The acoustic I used on Fly Away is a Yamaha FG, which is also my primary songwriting guitar. I keep it in the living room on a stand, always ready for action.
The bass is a fairly rare Ibanez Black Eagle reissue. Slick neck and very easy to play.
My producer, Anura Selvadurai, recorded on Cubase. The hardware was a partly-analog Steinberg console.
- In one sentence…tell all of the audiences right reading this right now…why should we hear Sanjay Michael’s music…one sentence, go!
You should listen because my music makes you feel good by connecting with everyone’s simple, positive energy!
- It was a pleasure chatting with Sanjay, we are looking forward to what he will do to keep the rock soul burning with energy and life…wishing you all the best Sanjay!
Thanks and my best to all of you at Rock Era!