An Interview with Wakey!Wakey! Front-Man, Michael Grubbs About His Past, Present and Future with the Band!
Posted On 02 Sep 2014
Earlier this summer, the Brooklyn-based band, Wakey!Wakey! released Salvation. Produced by “Fabulous” Fab Dupont, the 11-track album follows the band’s critically acclaimed Irresistible EP which was released in January and is their first full-length release in four years.
Front-man Michael Grubbs knows this newest album is much different from his previous releases saying, “We took a big step forward toward making something bigger.” He goes on, “I wrote the last album when I was in a pretty dark place. Salvation captures my current state, which is happy. Really happy. I’m taking a leap of faith that my fans have evolved with me.”
Their fall tour dates will take them to the west coast with shows in Denver, Portland, Seattle, Los Angeles and more.
Learn more about Michael and his band, Wakey!Wakey! in the interview below:
How did you get involved with One Tree Hill? What was that experience like? Have you always wanted to act?
I was actually spotted by a writer on the show, singing at an open mic night in Brooklyn, NY, where I live. She introduced the music to the show’s creator, and eventually he ended up writing me the role. Being on the show was really overwhelming at first, walking onto the huge set and meeting the cast. I worked for a while doing theatre, but never imagined I’d end up on camera!
How’s your summer tour been going? Any favorite venues/crowds yet?
We did a big kick off show in Richmond, VA where I was born and raised and that was a ton of fun. It was great to get all of my old friends and family together and celebrate finally finishing this album and getting it out into the world. In September, we’re going on a huge international tour. We’ve worked really hard on making this a great concert experience, and I’m excited to share it with our fans.
It’s an older song of yours but “War Sweater” still gives me chills. What was the inspiration for that song?
At that time I was really inspired by politics. I remember being really sad about it all. I wrote the whole song in 30 minutes. It’s crazy to think how much of an impact that 30 minutes has had on my life!
Let’s talk about your latest album, Salvation, which was just released last month. How is it different/similar to your previous albums? You worked with a ton of big names on it. How was that process?
I really felt a lot of pressure when I first started writing for Salvation. I had a lot of people looking over my shoulder telling me to write a hit, which just never works. I also had the image in my head of thousands of fans screaming every word to the last album, and showing me tattoos of lyrics, and I had to let a lot of that go. Getting to collaborate with so many amazing writers was both inspiring and freeing. I’m always at my best when I have an occasion to rise to, and when you’re going into the room with a famous songwriter, it really makes you step it up. In the end I had almost 100 songs that we cut down to the final 11 for the album. I wanted to make a record where every song stood on it’s own and played a very important role. It was a ton of work, but I’m so proud of the result.
Tell me about the Pledge the Music Campaign you and the band launched help fund the it. You raised 141% of their goal?
I was hesitant to crowd source for a long time, but it’s been a really positive experience over all. The outpouring of love from our fans has been so overwhelming.
What is your favorite song on this new album? Your favorite song to perform?
That changes every day for me, but there’s a song called “Through The Night” that’s particularly fun. Also the title track, “Salvation” is amazing to play live. They’re all great to play live though. I love the current band line up, and we put on a big show.
Who are some of your musical influences? Who are some of the new artists who inspire you?
Every artist inspires me in a different way. Sometimes it’s a really sick track and vibe, like of a Grimes album, or Polica. Sometimes it’s an amazing lyricist like Michael Kiwanuka. Then there are artists like Sia and Katy Perry, that have amazing talent, and surround themselves with other amazing people and make magic. I’m inspired by not only their musical talent, but also how they run their careers.
If you had the opportunity to work with any artist/band living or dead, who would it be and why?
I’d love to write a song with Dr Luke and Max Martin. Every year a huge portion of the major pop songs you hear come from their camp. “Teenage Dream”, “Wrecking Ball”, “Timber” and more. I know a lot of people give modern pop a hard time. Not me. I love it.
When you aren’t performing and/or writing new material, what do you like to do in your spare time? Where do you live when you aren’t touring?
I live in Brooklyn with my Fiance and my dog, Buster Grubbs. When I’m not on tour, I like to cook and grill out. I’ve always loved good food, so learning how to make it has been really fulfilling for me.
What do you hope fans take away from your latest album?
I hope they take away a lot of joy. That’s what this album is about for me. Joy and hope.