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THE ALAURA SHOW
Hey, it's Alaura Lovelight. And if you're enjoying "unlocking your world of creativity," make sure to check out my new show, "The Alaura Show" ... on Roku and Amazon Fire TV.
Tap into your most original thinking, organize your ideas, and create the opportunities to launch your creative work, unlocking your world of creativity with bestselling author and brand innovator, Mark Stinson.Mark (:
Welcome Back friends to our podcast, Unlocking Your World of creativity. And we're just so happy today to have guitarist Mike Daws, one of the world's finest and most creative, modern finger style guitarist. Mike. So glad to have you on the program.Mike Dawes (:
Hey, it's a pleasure to be here. Lovely, lovely to be.Mark (:
And we're stamping our creative passport in Bristol uk. And I had a chance to see you at the Egyptian Theater here in Boise with Justin Hayward. What a great collaboration that must have been for you over the years.Mike Dawes (:
Man, you know what? It's crazy. I just, a couple of days ago finished a UK tour with Justin. Uh, same kind of show, but we did it over here in, in England, actually. And, uh, I was saying to him, Man, it's, it's next year will be 10 years that I've been working with Justin, which is a such an honor because, you know, in this, in this creative pursuit of being a professional musician, there is such a thing. Uh, one of the hardest things to do is, is to keep the gig. You know what I mean? Like, yes. So many ways nowadays through social media and sort of networking, that one can kind of get their foot in the door. But to think that, you know, the guy that wrote nights and White sat in has kept me some random kid from Bristol around, uh, you know, as his kind of right hand man for almost 10 years is, is truly heartwarming. It definitely makes the parents proud.Mark (:
There you go. Cause they know the Moody Blues. They're great discography of,Mike Dawes (:
It's actually funny, when Justin first messaged me back in 2013, I didn't re, I recognize the name Moody Blues, but I didn't recognize the name. Just Haywood, just generation, you know, I didn't grow up with Justin Haywood as a name, and I, I almost initially dismissed it as just, uh, oh, someone wants me to play guitar for them. Cool, whatever. And, and then my, my uncle was like, Idiot.
Plug. Well, take us behind the curtain of that a little bit. Uh, our podcast, we love to explore these creative collaborations, and sometimes they're just by happenstance or somebody runs into somebody or knows somebody of course. But take us behind the scenes of how that call went and how that collaboration developed.Mike Dawes (:
Well, yeah, it was, it was really interesting. I was, I just graduated from university and like most music graduates didn't really have anything going for him, uh,
Maybe one time around. Yeah, exactly.Mike Dawes (:
Us. Oh my gosh, I'd never been to America before, you know, and tour. I mean, I, I'm a live guy. I love playing shows, but, uh, as we do nowadays with our smartphones, sometimes the first thing we do when we wake up, roll over and we, we open up our emails and we're still half asleep. And because I was still half asleep, I dismissed it. As I mentioned, I, I didn't really think it was a real thing, so I just sort of said, Ha uh, literally the word ha. And then, uh, David, Justin Haywood, or, or I, I believe I wikipediaed him cuz I didn't recognize the name initially. And I believe there was either a middle name or a, or a birth name was David, question mark, you know, not, not the polite response. And, you know, it's so silly, so silly. But I just, you know, and then haha Yes, super gracious email back.(:
Yeah, that's me. Yeah, yeah. Here's some songs I'd love for you to check them out. And then of course, uh, as I came to, I realized, oh wow, this is the, the gentleman who wrote some of the, the biggest and most iconic classic rock songs of the sixties, seventies and eighties and beyond. Not often people can have a career that spans so many decades. And what was interesting about that is I, I happens to be living relatively close to where he has a property, uh, near London, relatively close to Heathrow Airport, which obviously for a touring artist is very practical, uh, thing to do. Oh, right. I happened to be relatively close, I'll say about an hour away. Went up there and played him the parts that I've come up with. And then, and I played guitar a slightly unusual way, and I think he was very interested in that.(:
Well, the Moody Blues at the time had two drummers. You know, they had Gray Image, the late Great Graham, and then they had Goi Marshall who was a session drummer. So they're two drum kids. And I think Justin just wanted some peace and quiet on stage
You know, it was all very new, Which songs are that we gonna do, How are we gonna translate it into a four piece? Which was at the time, myself, Justin, and two keyboard players. And, uh, I think I was, I was noodling on the couch, I was just working on some solo stuff and I looked up and everyone was just staring at me like, uh, as if like, you know, they were just like, What? And then I think there, and then he kind of said, Hey, you should open the shows as well. You know, So since that point, very honored that it's become a long term thing where not only do I get to play question, I know you're out there somewhere, you know, all these, the story in your eyes is one of my favorites to play, Yes. Rocking tune. But I get to open the, the shows with my own music and, and, and, and gain fans in the process. So it, it really is a dream gig.Music (:
(Music)Mike Dawes (:
I'm very grateful to Justin. He introduced me to America. He introduced me to tour buses. He introduced me to the occasional extravagance, you know, which only the classic rock star can do. Uh, musicians nowadays aren't selling, you know, a hundred million records,
Yeah, yeah. The extravagant level may be a little, uh, down the extravagant level is likeMike Dawes (:
Cool. I, I had a panini today. Nice. But yes, so, so very grateful indeed. It's a relationship that's very much like at this point. Like he's, if he's like an uncle, you know what I mean, We are a family on the road. And this most recent tour as well in the uk, we had a few different crew members. And uh, you know, we keep just like refining our bubble, refining our, our team, you know, and various people come and go, especially crew members cuz they get other gigs, you know, like, oh, sorry, I, I can't do this gig cuz I'm out with prints, you know, or, or whatever. Right. But, you know, it gets refined and it's become like a family. It really is. And, and I think for those of you who see the show, I think that comes across right?Mark (:
Yeah, I definitely think it does. And it's, it's so interesting you're describing, you know, from the opening your distinctive style all the way into the Moody Blues classic song list. I loved, in one interview you said, great that you can have bass, melody, harmony, and percussion all in you. So you're filling in a lot of those
Well that's, that's certainly the plan and the idea. And I think that certainly helps. I mean, the style that I play, for those of you that are listening that don't know, it's, it's sort of, you know, most guitar players play with the guitar pick and they kind of attack the strings with this guitar pick. I've got one in my hand right now, actually,
We're gonna do a handful of shows over in the, in like the Florida area because we're doing a cruise festival as well. But we're gonna do another tour in the US next year as well. This show has a couple of new song, He has a brand new single out, which we've done this beautiful arrangement of the, like, we're all just so proud of the backing. Vocal harm is just outstanding. But anyway, the, the progression of the show as a Knights Entertainment has gone from Stick Mike out and play some songs, Stick Justin span out and play some songs into this from start to finish flow where we know what to expect to each other. So in my solo show, I build in actually a lot of explanation and a lot of talking about what's going on with the instrument and the style and the effects.(:
And then those effects are Pepper in later in Justin set to mimic things like certain synthesizers on Forever, Autumn and, you know, War the World Sounds and old vintage Metron sounds. And I like to think that now it, it becomes this whole thing where like a standup comedian who will refer back to a joke he's set up at the start of the show, you know, there's, there's a lot of referring back to things that have previously been demonstrated. And I love that. I, I love Show Craft and Justin is a master of that. And we have this beautiful thing now where he starts his set completely solo and then we kind of take everyone through this journey and then he comes back for a second encore and closes the show completely solo with this just beautiful kind of book ending and all this. I love it. I, I I, I really adore the show. I think this, the show we just did in the UK is my favorite one. Yeah,Mark (:
That's a great, uh, arc, as you said, cuz you've set up the style. Well, why don't we go there for a second. I mean, to say that it's finger style sort of short changes the description of what you do, there's a lot more magic to it than that. Uh, what is the Mike D's brand of finger style? You know, you talk about layers, you talk about how you develop this style. How would you describe it and and how is it different from a lot of those others out there?Mike Dawes (:
Well, okay, so it's worth saying that a lot of the techniques I'm using are obviously, you know, borrowed and changed and chopped from so many inspiring players. I mean, when I first started I was listening to a lot of players like Michael Hedges, the Light. Great, um, a good friend of mine, Andy McKee, and actually Tommy Emmanuel, who's, who's really, in my opinion, the, the greatest guitar player that's, that's ever lived. I mean, I've had the great opportunity to only a few days ago release a brand new record with Tommy as a duo record, which is insane. I'm just some kid from Bristol and I get to do a record with Tommy Emmanuel. So we are actually doing a bunch of shows in the US coming up, like you said, starting in Boise on the 6th of December, uh, at the Egyptian theater. We, we'll be doing our show. So I, I learned from those guys growing up. But I think trying to be as objective as possible, zooming out from my own brain, I think the thing that makes me a little bit different is perhaps the influence of rock music. And, you know, I mean, you can tell I'm a little bit, little bit scruffy for those who are seeing any video, perhapsMark (:
There's a, there's a rock and roll lookMike Dawes (:
With a flannel shirt on. That's good. Go. But what that comes with is a certain amount of an injection of energy and, you know, rock chord progressions and harmonies that I think is less present in traditional acoustic guitar instrumentalists who may have more of a country or bluegrass, uh, route. And, and with that comes the, the Britishness as well, which is objectively a little bit silly, a little bit goofy, not taking oneself too seriously. So I think as a show, that's what would set it apart on a technical level. It's like a sch morga sport, as you say, of influences and techniques from some of the greatest musicians out there, which I can't ever hope to imitate. But what I would do is, is take little ideas and, and combine it with an honest form of expression, which is just being a goofy rock fan from England.Mark (:
Incorporate that. You also, you also try to teach this method, though. Can it be packaged, can it be bottled? Can it be transferred in terms of lessons and education?Mike Dawes (:
I do my best and it can, of course, I used to actually used to be a guitar teacher full time before I started touring back in 2013. And I actually made a guitar course, a couple, several guitar courses actually. The people can actually get online to learn the style. And this, these are not just arbitrary, Hey, do this with your hand and you can do this technique. It's, it's, it's a course, you know what I mean? Like, like, uh, designs to take you from A to D and then a course that'll take you from, you know, E to J you know, through a process, um, cutting out a lot of trial and error. And, uh, yeah, one of them's called the Master Course, which is actually all, all encompassing. And that's actually, uh, available as a gift box that I put out on my website.(:
But I, I, I'm doing a series of smaller courses, uh, that are engineered towards sort of beginners through a company called TrueFire. It's, it's all on a, on on my website. But that being said, the absolute best way to learn is to be in the room with, with someone, you know. Right. And pre covid, I would actually have fans come to the shows backstage and we'd do an hour guitar lesson before the show or something. But I think since the pandemic, it's been harder to arrange that kind of thing. Uh, unfortunately in the summer, myself and two of the other members of, uh, of the just in Haywood team, not just in, but some of the others, uh, I won't put their names in it just in case they don't want it to be known, but, uh, we all got, you know, the plague as it were.(:
And unfortunately we had to cancel about six shows because we weren't allowed in the venues. Uh, the consequence of that, of course, for someone like Justin is, is a lot of expense, you know, And, uh, so these little things like teaching on the road, uh, it's still, we're still in this kind of risk mitigation phase, but, but, uh, anyone interested in learning the, the kind of style through a, an actual course, um, then definitely check out the website. Cause there's a bunch of stuff there. There's a bunch of stuff there for free as well. You know, do my best to try and share it.Mark (:
Absolutely. Since you've gained some attention, starting with a couple of covers, somebody that I used to know and this Metallica song one, but you also have these original compositions, and of course with Justin and Tommy, you're covering a whole gamut of generations of music. How do you feel about putting your own fingerprint on some of these other classic songs that maybe someone else has made, but you have put your own interpretation above and beyond stood on the shoulders in some cases of those songs?Mike Dawes (:
Well, I mean, as a, as a instrumental guitar player, I'm constantly standing on the shoulders of all the work that other people have done.
You're gonna hear it a lot,
Exactly. But, you know, you mentioned the stuff with Tommy. This, this EP that we just put out, it's called a Accomplice Volume three. It's five songs. And we only recorded this EP because, well, we actually had two canceled shows on the tour earlier this year. And Tommy said, you know, these shows were canceled because there was an amicon spike in the area. And he said, Man, we're gonna record a record together. And literally the next day we're in the studio. And it was that quick. Every song was like one take. And you can hear that on the record we play, Well, you know, I'm not saying that, but it, with we played together, you can hear the synergy. It's not like I played. And then he played on top as a separate take. We're in the room together looking at each other, dynamically flowing with each other. And I've never done a record like that before. Really, really thrilled all analog equipment. I felt like I was in the seventies making this record. You know, it's beautiful. But, um, the song choice is very diverse. We have niana, you know, we have sting, you know, put them in a room together, you know. Yeah. You know, we have John Mayer, we have the, the somebody that I used to know. We do a version,(:
There's actually one song on there by an English pop band called the 1975. Well, very, very popular with the kids, and I happen to be a huge fan of them. But, you know, um, when, when we released that last week that the singer actually reposted it and, and said how honest he was that we did the cover and stuff, which is the biggest compliment you can ever get as a musician if you are covering someone's work. And then the actual composer takes time outta their day to kind of share that they are enjoying it. It's almost like a sigh of relief. The worst thing to do is to do something and think that they didn't like it. That would be horrible. You know,Mark (:
That's another phone call,Mike Dawes (:
That's, that's terrific. You know, Mike, uh, you've been talking about, especially with Covid having to do workarounds and makeups and, uh, you know, what are we gonna do on our newfound day off? But, you know, these aren't the only contingency plans I'm sure you've had to make over your career. You know, there's potholes, you know, things that you have to go around. What are some of those things that, when you think about really the persistence, the resilience, the creativity in working around some of these things that pop up?Mike Dawes (:
That's a very good question. What is it Bruce Lee be like water
You know, take TikTok for example, just, just to throw it out there. I'm rubbish with that. I don't even have a TikTok yet, which is so stupid. I should do, I'm going to do do that. You know? But kids who have grown up with it will crush it on there and, and be generating entire careers from the promotion they're getting on those platforms. So that's something that's constantly needing to be navigated. And, and the way that I've been attempting to do that, you know, one can never say that they're succeeding or not, but the way I'm attempting to improve at that is I surround myself with, with younger players through an app called Discord on computer, On computer, Sorry, I sounded like my mum on computer. On the computer, Yes. So we have this, uh, this chat room where we're all on video chat during our working day.(:
You know, when I'm off the road, I'm in my studio here and it'll pop for friends from all around the world, The Netherlands, Denmark, wherever. And they're doing the same thing I'm doing playing acoustic guitar, instrumentally. And they'll be sharing things like, Oh, hey, I just had great success posting this video in this format at this time of day, you know, whatever it is. So, so I'm able to keep kind of up to date with what to do and that, uh, in that sense, without necessarily being a slave to my phone, because as a touring guy, I'm on stage so much in traveling so much I don't wanna be a slave to, to those tech companies. You know? It, I'm not very good at that. So that's something certainly that requires navigation for anyone in, in any creative field nowadays. And including yourself, you know, you, you must be havingMark (:
Navigate. Absolutely. Oh, all of of those. Well, and like you said, it's not only the, uh, promotional platform, but I mean, literally the distribution, you know, you're not, you're not in the Target or Walmart anymore. I mean, this is absent. Well, and, uh, you've been in film and TV soundtracks, that's a whole different line of, uh, music distribution and licensing, isn't it?Mike Dawes (:
That that's purely who, you know, and I hate to hate to hate to say it to anyone who's really looking to get into that thing. But, um, my encounters with that very few and far between, I'd like to do more of it. And the reason for that is at age 33, relationships are more important to me. And when you're on the road at the time, you, it's hard to sustain those. So by, if you replace touring with being at home, you need something to supplement that. And, and, and working on composition projects is, is a good way to subsidize that. But the, the film and TV stuff that I've done has have been from someone knowing me and they bring me in for a co-write or a right. And then it ends up through their network getting placed on a TV show. I'm working on a video game, a soundtrack, very loose.(:
I, I, I'm sort of, uh, assisting with an element of somebody else's video game soundtrack. You know, it's not something that's come to me, something that went to someone else, and they know me, right? Mm-hmm.
You're saying because of the location and the ecosystem built around the movie TV business, you're dinner,Mike Dawes (:
You're out for dinner and having drinks with someone that say, Oh, I've got this project. You know, that's not gonna happen in Bristol. There's like three musicians,Mark (:
Right? So you can run into each other at the pub andMike Dawes (:
Sure. Well, it's interesting to maybe to help our listeners, you use that word networking and Yes, we overuse it sometimes or we picture this networking group where we're all handing out business cards and talking. Right, right, right, right. But, but you're just talking about being present, you know, be in the place and have the open mind to say, somebody may be coming up to you or you may come up to somebody and make that connection. I think for our creative listeners, that would be helpful.Mike Dawes (:
Yeah. But the, the number one thing above all, which a lot of people when they start talking about networking and hustling and all of this, the thing that, that they don't talk about so often is, above all, you have to be the guy. You have to be competent. You have to be like one of the best at that thing, you know? Mm-hmm.
Very goodMike Dawes (:
Thing. So that, that's more of a, a long term kind of thing. Like if, if you wanna be a professional musician, you have to be great. You know, you have to have to really work on your craft. Mm-hmm.Mark (:
Mike Dawes (:
Yeah, well, obviously it is an immense privilege to be able to seal these places. And I think right now, you know, I think I just did my 207th show this year, and we are talking in late September right now. Mm-hmm.
I have to be in my house. That'll be one week of solidly creating a piece that I will try and make it my best thing ever. You know, because not only is it writing, it's actually learning to play it. And, and that's the hard part. That's what takes time. I'll usually do like a section of, of music a day, and I mean full day like 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM or even 9:00 AM to three in the morning, just playing and refining and then going back and changing this. And because of that, because it takes that long for me, uh, I can't really do it on a day off on tour. And some tours, like when I'm with Justin, I don't even have access to my guitar necessarily on the days off because they get locked away in a trailer. Mm-hmm.
You know, Justin, Mike can have a little tingle in his guitar. I think one of my greatest loves, other than playing music is visiting places. I love traveling. I love it. I feel like it makes your perception of your life go longer. Cause there's so much varied input and I like to be present in the moment for that. So that's why my albums take so long to make. I'll be on tour for like 10 months of the year gaining, you know, know financial security and creative ideas, but then I'll execute those ideas, uh, in the downtime.Mark (:
Yes. Well, beautiful. Well, listener, my guest is Mike Dos and he's mentioned a few times all the, uh, resources and information you can get on his website. It's mike dos.co.uk. And, uh, Mike, I like to kind of ask guests to look ahead a bit. You know, we're in the moment. Yes. You've got, certainly you've got a nice tour lined up. But even a year or two out, you know, five years out, looking on the horizon, what, what do you see for yourself? What are you thinking about and how are you expanding your craft and your creativity?Mike Dawes (:
Well, I definitely want to expand. I mean, I, I love talking to you about creativity because that's the word of the day really, isn't it? I mean, there's only so much you can do on one instrument, and I really try and eek all of that out. And my next album, which is nearly finished, has a bit more collaboration than normal, you know, And I think that after that, you know, I mean, this EP I just did with Tommy Emmanuel is the first record I've done where every track is a duo. You know, it is not just me solo. And that really kind of lit a fuse creatively. So my next album will be out next year, but then moving forward from that creatively, I might expand more into the electric guitar. I might expand more so that I'm doing way more collaborations. I might do an entire collaboration full length, musically.(:
I wanna explore more of that because that opens the possibility to take a touring band on the road, you know? Mm-hmm.
But for a high guarantee, that means there's more time for creativity, less time on the road, more time to spend with my girlfriend, you know, as I'm in my early thirties, you know, and hopefully that will allow for a more diverse output and a break in the routine, because routine is the death of creativity in many ways. And the, the, the pandemic was a, it was an unwelcome break, but it was a break from the touring machine. But, but now myself, like other musicians, this year we've hit it maybe a bit too hard on the, on the back swing, you know? So I think the future will be allowing myself more time to experiment more with the actual creative output and, and really diversified what a Mike Do's album sounds like, you know? That's right. And, and move forward like that. Well,Mark (:
Sounds fantastic. Looking forward to hearing some of that new music and a new album and who knows all the things that you've just described in terms of new collaborations and new tours. Mike enjoyed talking with you so much. Listeners, we've talked with Mike dos about the craft, and we've really focused on, you know, you've got to be great at your craft. But then this next part, the marketing, the execution, the follow through, and most of all, he's talked about the resilience and, you know, sort of the fortitude of working around these problems and finding ways to solve it. Looking forward to the future. Mike, thanks for being a guest on our show.Mike Dawes (:
Hey, thanks so much for having me and, uh, take careMark (:
Yes. And seeing you in Boise real soon. And listeners, I hope you'll come back and we'll see you real soon for our next episode where we'll talk to another creative practitioner about how they get inspired, how they organize ideas, and most of all, how they gain the confidence and the connections to launch their workout into the world. So until next time, I'm Mark Stinson and we're unlocking your world of creativity,Mark (:
See you soon.Announcer (:
Unlocking your world of creativity with bestselling author and brand innovator, Mark Stinson. This program was produced by PSB Media creators in leadership stories unlocking your world of creativity and the peace room love.