Posted On 18 Jul 2018
Meet the Toronto based multi-instrumentalist Mike Legere! His debut solo album, “Ourselves In Public” is now out!
Michael writes indie-folk which tends to be lyrically surreal and dense. The album as a whole also reflects on themes of social-identity; how our interactions with others shape our sense of self, our ego. It’s about the joy, frustration, anxiety and creativity that comes from participating in the social sphere.
Learn more about Mike Legere in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time today! Where does this interview find you now? What’s on tap for the rest of your day?
Thank you! I’m in my home office, drinking a morning coffee. I’m mixing my friends record, so I’ll spend a good portion of the day on that- then I’m headed into the studio I work at to assist a ten piece band with their rehearsal.
All Access Music is currently compiling a list of our artists favorite songs this summer so what is YOUR song of the summer?
I’ve been listening to Wye Oak’s new album everyday, sometimes more than once. “The Instrument” is such a great song, it really kicks the whole thing off.
Overall, how do you think 2018 has been treating you and your music career? What has been one goal that you have had this year and how close are you to reaching it?
It’s been busy. When the year started I was really focused on wanting to finish Ourselves in Public and do a solo tour for it. I had just lost someone close to me and I had all these feelings of mortality and wanting to push forward and do something big. I’ve been lucky enough to have been able to do both, and now I am hoping to finish this solo EP I’m working on, as well as the new Century Thief and Places EPs, write more new music and play more.
Growing up, was music always a big part of your life? Can you recall your first ever musical experience?
Music was a huge huge part of my life growing up. My family would sit around and sing together often, my brother knew every song and we would all do harmonies together. The first time I remember hearing a song and really feeling like I connected with it on an emotional level was in my Dad’s old Dodge Shadow, it was The Chemical Workers song by Great Big Sea. Super east coast kid. I was really young and my grandfather and great uncles were all minors so I’d heard a lot about working in dangerous conditions- and I was like, oh music can interrogate this sort of thing? But I thought it in kid language.
What has been the biggest surprise so far about making music your career? Has there been an unexpected or welcome challenge to it all?
I guess I was surprised about how much of it isn’t making music- how much of it is emails and production and booking and all that. Also the amount that diversifying can help you- the challenge is staying focused and finding the time and remembering to do what you want to do musically for yourself.
How do you think you and your music have been influenced by your hometown and where you live today? What is the music scene like there these days?
I think of myself as deeply connected to Nova Scotia, though it’s been a short lifetime since I left. I grew up playing in punk bands and adoring folk music there, that’s definitely still part of me, and when I go back I feel like I’m going home still, even though everything is different. They’ve got a great music scene, I played there recently with this really incredible woman Leanne Hoffman, she and her band were amazing. My brother is a part of the music scene there and him and everyone he’s introduced me to make really beautiful authentic art, it’s really inspiring.
How would you say that you have grown as an artist since you first starting making music? What has remained the same?
I started making music pretty young, so I’d mark the change as pretty drastic. When I started I kind of emulated my heros, I feel like that’s pretty common. I’ve worked with a singing teacher over the past ten years, she’s amazing, and she really helped me move away from that and find a sound that is more mine. I think I’ve refined how I write lyrics, but I was always interested in intricate detailed lyrics, that’s stayed the same.
What did it feel like releasing your debut album? What did it feel like the first time you heard this collection for the first time? Did anything surprise you about the overall process of putting it together?
It felt scary to be honest. I’d mostly worked with bands, and with a bunch of other people on projects. It felt really personal to put my name alone on something. I’m not sure there really was a first time I heard the collection together though, they were developed together, and I tracked and mixed it thinking of it as a whole. Closest I would say I came to that was hearing the masters, because I handed them off to Kristian Montano for that. It felt good, it felt done. It feels strange to have worked so long on something and then say, ok, I guess that’s it for this- now onto something else.
While it’s difficult, can you pick out a couple of your favorite tracks off “Ourselves in Public”? How do you typically go about writing your music?
I’d recommend people listen to Yourself first, and then The Sudden Downpour. Into the day is pretty close to my heart too. I have different techniques- sometimes I have something I just really need to say and I try not to let the guitar get in my way, sometimes I develop a riff and write over that. I had the concept for this album before most of the songs were written, including some song topics and titles, I always find it interesting to limit myself and see what comes of it, I think form can be freeing in a weird way sometimes.
Do you have plans to make a music video for one or more of the songs on “Ourselves in Public”? What would your dream music video look like?
I’m thinking of making a music video for a song off of the next EP I’m working on. Onwards and upwards. I’m honestly not super well versed in the format, but I’d love to find a videographer who does something wild and let them run with it, that’s more my thinking at the moment.
What do you think makes for an ideal show for you? What has been a favorite performance of yours so far? What are some of your upcoming summer tour dates?
My album release on June 21st was a really special night. I had lots of friends join me on stage and playing the album with them, after making it in isolation, felt really good. It felt like a weight was lifted in a way. A well attended show in a nice venue with an attentive sound person, that’s pretty ideal to me. I’m playing on July 19th at The Free Times Cafe in Toronto and then again on July 28th on a rooftop through the company Artery, I’m really excited for that one. Then I’m playing a bit with my other bands in August.
We are currently living through a very trying and politically charged time right now so I am curious to know how your own music is reflecting this time period? Would you say that other musicians are making music that has been influenced by this climate? Do you find that at your shows you have to say something about the political climate?
You know, I started writing this album 4 years ago, so though I hear things in there that reflect what’s happening, I can’t say it was my intention when writing it. It’s a bit more of an introspective piece. I have a deep respect for people who are speaking up through their art, I find myself writing more pointed now, but it hasn’t really entered my show much to be honest.
What has it been like keeping up with your social media accounts and all the different platforms? Is it hard to stay up to date on it all?
Yeah, it doesn’t come naturally to me at all to be honest. Though the more I do it the less I have to think about it and coax myself to do it. I do that stuff for my project and for Century Thief, so it’s a bit of a juggling act.
Who are some of your favorite artists or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music? Who would you absolutely still love to work with in the future?
I’m bingeing back through Wye Oaks catalogue, and it just floors me how good all of it is. I hear Jenn Wasner is producing, that’d be interesting, I would also love to work with Dave Newfeld, I grew up loving a bunch of stuff he produced and not even knowing he existed.
If you were going to be stranded on a deserted island forever, what musical item would you take with you and why?
An acoustic guitar feels like the most practical thing- also was what I started writing on so there’s a special place in my heart for that sound. Hope the island has extra strings though, I tend to break them often.
If your music was going to be featured on any TV show that is currently on right now, which would you love it to be on? Or if you prefer, what is a movie that you love that you wish your music was featured in?
Hmmm this one’s tough. Realistically, some sort of teen drama would probably make the most sense. But if HBO wanted to give me money I’d take it.
At the end of the day, what do you hope your fans take away from your music?
I hope they see themselves in it- I hope it encourages them to be compassionate with themselves and others.
Where can our readers connect with you?
Instagram might be the best way, my handle is @mikelegere1, http://www.facebook.com/mikelegeremusic, or they can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
All Photography Provided By Auteur Research