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Mike Dawes, Acoustic Guitarist
Episode 20424th October 2022 • Unlocking Your World of Creativity • Mark Stinson
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Mike Dawes is hailed as one of the world’s finest modern acoustic guitar players. He was voted ‘Best Acoustic Guitarist in the World’ by Total Guitar Magazine & MusicRadar twice consecutively, in both the 2017 & 2018 readers polls with three additional 2nd place rankings. 

 

His solo music, littered with virtuoso nuances and micro-techniques, has seen him tour almost every continent on the planet. He has recorded with multiple Grammy award-wining and Rock n Roll Hall of Fame inducted artists, featured on international film and TV (including Better Call Saul and Sky TV’s Guitar Star) and achieved over 100 million music video hits online for his solo covers of songs including Somebody That I Used To KnowSlow Dancing in a Burning RoomJump & One as well as his originals The ImpossibleBoogie Shred & more.

 

Additionally, Mike tours as lead guitar player for Justin Hayward, performing The Moody Blues classics throughout the world. He has also teamed up with grammy-nominated Periphery vocalist Spencer Sotelo and ex Sunrise Avenue multi-platinum producer Jukka Backlund to form Nik Mystery, a Las Vegas popwave trio. Other collaborators include PliniFinkAlestorm & Dr. John. Popular YouTube personality Rick Beato has praised Mike’s work as among the top in the genre.

 

September 2022 saw the release of ‘Accomplice Series, Vol. 3‘ – a sublime duo EP with the legendary Tommy Emmanuel recorded live in a Los Angeles studio with analogue equipment. The EP features 5 cover songs from 5 diverse artists. ‘This is so insanely mental and such a massive honour, wow’ – Matty Healy, The 1975.

Tickets for upcoming tour dates at https://mikedawes.co.uk/tour/



Mark Stinson

Copyright 2022 Mark Stinson

Music tracks are copyrighted by the artists and used for editorial review purposes.

Mentioned in this episode:

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.

Transcripts

Announcer (:

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 (:

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.

Mark (:

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, , you know, Um, and, uh, you just, I, I got an email, it landed in my inbox. It, I think the exact words were something like, Hi, my name's Justin Haywood. I'm, I'm, I'm putting together a small band to do a US tour. Now that, those are the key words that kind of peaked my interest. A meaning one relatively,

Mark (:

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 . Uh, so I was able to kind of do a little bit of percussion on the guitar to kind of fill in some of those necessary parts of the show, whilst keeping it a relatively quiet and intimate show. So he also said he liked me because I was tall. Uh, I'm about the same height as Justin, about six four and the longtime session keyboard player, Judy Reagans, he's not 6 0 4. And he didn't wanna look like a giant on stage, I think. So, uh, so that works in my benefit. And I think we went to rehearsals in general in the north of Italy with his producer Alberta, and really worked hard on building this first show, uh, this first kind of, what's it gonna be?

(:

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, records nowadays.

Mark (:

Yeah, yeah. The extravagant level may be a little, uh, down the extravagant level is like

Mike 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 band made gaps, aren't you?

Mike Dawes (:

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, , but I don't, I grow my fingernails to a certain length. So it's almost like having five guitar picks, you know? And the consequence of that is you're able to play these polyphonic textures. And also the acoustic guitar is, is a big hollow wooden box, much like a cahan or a percussion instrument. So I do play it like a percussion instrument as well. So there are those elements there that certainly helps. But I think what's happened over the years with Justin's show and this set on this UK tour, which is different to the one that you saw in America, but we're gonna bring this show to the US in January.

(:

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, perhaps

Mark (:

There's a, there's a rock and roll look

Mike 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 know, I mean, when, when you cover a song, you know, the melodies there, the Harmon is there, it's almost a, a almost more of a scientific approach than a purely creative approach because, you know, your framework is there and your, your task completing, you're analyzing and you are, you are interpreting. But there is a creative element there. And quite honestly, one of the things I learned early on is if you're gonna do a cover, you have to love the song. And you also have to be prepared to hate the song at the end of the process. , because you have dissected that thing,

Mark (:

You're gonna hear it a lot, .

Mike Dawes (:

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 (:

. Yeah, exactly. Exactly. A similar thing happened when I, I did a cover of, uh, a Van Halen song as a tribute to Eddie Van Halen when he passed away. I was very, very conscious. Eddie Van Haen was like my hero, right? And this was during, during lockdown over here as well. I wanted more than anything to do a van hailing cover for a very long time, But it was actually my girlfriend at the time that encouraged me to, to do that. Uh, but I was worried it would come across as cress, you know? So I tried, I made sure it went out and there was no, no money involved. I, I gave it all the away for free, you know, there was no advertising or anything like that. But Wolfgang Van Halen and he, Eddie's son, actually, actually reached out and said how much he enjoyed it. You know what I mean? So moments like that are what make it all worth it, You know, diving into to a cover is a very potentially heartbreaking thing if you do something that people don't enjoy, you know? But, um, that's certainly a huge, a huge, uh, reward from it. Yeah. Because there isn't really any kind of financial incentive to do, to do a cover, because obviously there's no royalties really . Cause they're going, you know? But yeah, it,

Mark (:

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 ? Yes. Uh, something that I've learned. So I've been to professional musician for, I, I would say a professional touring musician for 10 years, right? So 2013 to now give or take 10 years. I know we have the lost years in there as well, right? What happens in that length of time is the infrastructure around how one promotes themselves changes rapidly with new technology, new social media platforms, new algorithms, and you have to stay on top of that. You can't be complacent with that. And it, if that is harder than writing the most complex piece of music and performing it on stage in front of people, that's, it's so much harder for me to do that because I'm at the age now where I've seen it change enough that there are people who are just by virtue are being 10 years younger than me, are gonna be better at that because they've grown up with that new thing.

(:

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 having

Mark (:

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. mm-hmm. . So, uh, that's, that's kind of how that's being navigated. Uh, I will say that in my experience, the people that have the most success in those kind of avenues are people I know who live in LA still. You'd think that with the internet it's so much more global. Yes. And it is, you know, I have a friend who lives in, you know, a nowhere town in England who does movie trailers for some of the biggest movies in the world, but most people that do it are still the guy in LA or the girl in LA who can go down to the studio. You know? So a location is still a thing in music, it's less of a thing, especially since the pandemic. But for the film and TV stuff that, that, that is a big part of it.

Mark (:

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 and

Mike Dawes (:

. Exactly. Exactly. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. But yeah, that's, that's something that, uh, for anyone getting into those kind of fields, I hate to it, it is a cliche to talk about networking, but it really is something that I've also experienced is because I'm British, we are not very o overtly self-promotion. You know, like we, the further east you go, the the more kind of stoic and less putting yourself on your sleeve, you are as, as, as a personality. Once you hit Scandinavia, those guys never self promote. Mm-hmm. They have the best musicians in the world and you'll never know it, cuz they'll never tell you. And then enough, they'll never have a bio telling people how interesting their music is or whatever. Yeah. Um, but in America, the culture is very much American dream. It's make something of yourself, it's shake my hand, it's, there's my, here's my business card. You know, So I've found that I've accidentally got brought onto projects without actually trying to network my way into it. So by being present, things just kind of happen. And it kind of, um, it dawned on me that just by being in that area with those people who have that mindset is benefiting me. Whether I'm trying to get something out of it or not. Now you could call that coincidence or good fortune, which is totally fine, but being around people who are in that scene and are hustling is very important. For

Mark (:

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. , let's not forget that you should spend most of your time working on your craft , you know? Um, I like to think of the, the music conception to release process as like a semi circle shape, where the first sort of half is the creative process and then the second half is that, okay, well how do we take that first half and distribute it effectively? But, but this only works if that first half the creative protest is world class. You know, that's the foundation of everything. You know, it's like the, you know, the best podcast in the world will only get somewhere if it is like, awesome. That's it. Uh, you can't fake it and get people's attention. You're only, you can trick people into clicking, but you can't trick people into staying, you know? Yeah.

Mark (:

Very good

Mike 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 (:

. Well, and you talked about the grind of the touring. And again, if there's ever a cliche story, it's the grind of the tour, but however, looking across the venues and the cities and the places you'll be, is there ever a nice balance between, you know, well, gosh, I'm all over Italy, I'm all over the west coast of the us. I'm all over Europe. Is there any creative inspiration that could be gained from that? Or is it literally the bus in the hotel and the venue? I mean, give us some sense of where that glimpse of creative inspiration could come from, from being in these various places.

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. , that's, there's probably been about 270 days this year. And 207 of those have been actively on stage somewhere playing. The rest of them have been traveling to somewhere. You know, because of the way tours are structured, typically there's not a lot of free time to sit and write. But part of that is because I take a lot of time to write my compositions and arrangements, cuz they're almost one man banned things that need to be really honed in on a technical level. So I'll bottle up the inspiration from places and, uh, and when I have a week, it usually takes me a week to write a tune and I have to be at home.

(:

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. . So it would be very inconvenient for me to try and get the Guitar Tech to come and open the trailer and then we unload a load of stuff.

(:

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. , uh, which is a different thing. Maybe I'll do a show where the first half is solo and the second half is full band. But, uh, in terms of sort of strategy and that side of the creativity I mentioned, I've done 207 gigs between January and September. That's about as much quantity as one can do. So in terms of moving forward, what I would like to do is maybe get work the, the marketing aspect to the point where I can do less shows for a higher guarantee. Mm-hmm. , I'm working a bit more with management and strategy to kind of really try and do the best show I can in certain territories and then go back and maybe do two nights in the same venue or something like that, or one night.

(:

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 care

Mark (:

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.