Seriously, how many bands that you listen to nowadays and reminds you of the old school sound that you miss? Or how many bands you have found that they’re totally aware of music business these days? If you’re trying to find something new, then I totally recommend the old-school/modern great blend, Corners of Sanctuary. People still talking about their latest masterpiece, The Galloping Hordes, even it was almost a year now! Well, I got more curious to know about them, so I had the chance to chat with their remarkable guitarist/keyboardist Mick Michaels. Let’s find out!
● Tell me guys more about the idea of the band and how did it all start back in 2011?
Mick Michaels: James and I were involved in a reunion project with a band we were in during the 80’s. During that time we started talking about doing a new project that reflected our roots. We wanted to do music that we weren’t hearing at the time and that resonated with us. Thus, Corners of Sanctuary was born. I already had a handful of songs I had been working on, so I brought them to the table. That set of songs ended up being on our first EP and our first album.
● These days most of bands use the term heavy metal, but you were very keen to clarify that it’s New Wave of American Heavy Metal. Could you tell more about the difference?
MM: Well to us it is all Heavy Metal. But we began to realize that what Heavy Metal meant to us was not what it meant to others. The genre has splintered into many sub-genres to accommodate listener interests and tastes. So we decided if this were the case then we needed something that also reflected what it was we were trying to do. We had been highly influenced by the New Wave of British Heavy Metal bands like Judas Priest, Accept and Maiden, but we were also really influenced by their American counter parts like Savatage, Queensryche and Kiss. So to us it was a collection of the two but something distinct to itself. So we merged the two into the New Wave of Traditional American Heavy Metal.
● “The Galloping Hordes” highly acclaimed by critics and fans. What is the difference between this album and all your previous records either in sound or the recording process?
MM: The first major thing I would say is that all the members were involved…not just with the playing end of course but with the writing. Everyone contributed to the lyrics on some level…and our drummer Mad T also plays a little guitar, so a couple of the tracks were prompted by him, which put me in a position to learn someone else’s writing style. It was a good challenge and added to the depth of the album overall. Pushing boundaries is always a good thing especially for artists…it brings us to new levels of growth and understanding of our craft.
We feel we achieved the best production yet to date for any COS album; both in writing and in recording…a polished maturity so to say. We couldn’t be happier.
Another highlight of the album for us was that we got to work with Bill Metoyer on the mastering of the tracks. Bill is great to work with and knows exactly what the music needs. Connecting with Bill definitely gave the album a sophisticated refinement
● The album artwork is pretty amazing! In your opinion, is it important the album cover-art serve its lyrical theme and idea?
MM: Thank you! We were pretty stoked when we received proofs for the album’s cover art. Both the label and we felt it was important to convey a strong and bold cover to represent the album’s content. We toyed with a few ideas all centering around the same theme and decided to go with Feudal Japan samurai charging down a modern war torn street…somewhat surreal but it got the point across very well. The album artwork was even named Best Album Artwork by Rockwired Magazine in early February. So we were happy to know we weren’t the only ones who thought it was cool.
● Many bands prefer to choose local record label based on their tight budget, but you preferred to sign with Killer Metal Records for releasing your latest album. What the reason behind that and what the difference between signing with local and another label overseas?
MM: We went with the label that best represented the music and who wanted to support it because they connected with it…not just based on the numbers. It was important for us to work with a label that felt the same about the music as we do. That type of symbiotic relationship only enhances the experience for both artist and fan. We wanted to do what was best for the music and signing with Killer Metal Records was just that.
● Some songs in your album, reminds me of iconic acts especially while listing to “Hail, Hail”. So what songwriting process do you have this in mind, or how it goes?
MM: Thank you! The process is always to go with what sounds good. It has to have a flow to it…almost that it seems to write itself. We don’t want it to be forced. We also work with ideas that are true to our style, which doesn’t mean we don’t also try other things, because we do…but we also want to be truthful to what resonates with us as songwriters and as fans of music. That way, things are sustainable for the long term. Otherwise we would just be following trends and trends come and go and often fall out of favor. True and sustainable is timeless.
● You were very keen during the music production process to make all elements clear to hear. Tell me more about it.
MM: I was very excited to work as producer on this album. The band felt that I would be able to keep things on track as we envisioned it to be. I ran point. It was very involved but I enjoyed it the whole time. I was involved every step of the way; from writing and arranging, to the recording and engineering, to mixing and mastering, to artwork and layout choices, to the release and distribution and to its promotion. There is a certain bit of magic that takes place when you are involved in something from start to finish and in some case, beyond. It becomes a part of you and you never lose that. I am grateful that I had that chance to experience this album on a multitude of levels.
● Finally, I’d like to know more about your plans for 2019 guys 🙂
MM: We actually have started working on our next album, we have been recording during January and February…we look to release it in early 2020. We also plan to have a few new singles release throughout the year with the first dropping in March. The new single is titled “Children of the Night”…a music video will also be included. Plus we have some shows coming up which include supporting Janet Gardner of Vixen, Blaze Bayley formerly of Iron Maiden as well as some festivals, a New England tour at the start of the summer and a West Coast tour in September during which time we will be supporting the Iron Maidens. It’s pretty exciting for us… we have been very fortunate and appreciate all the support. Without the fans support none of this would be possible.
● Thank you for your time, and your music too!
MM: Thank you Mena for talking with me. It was a pleasure and I wish you all the best! m/m/