By Brooke Magalis
Mike Frazier: a new solo artist who is anything but new to the scene a true Virginia son, Winchester native, who touches on his roots, love, and loss on his debut EP. Mike started young. He was part of the wildly successful poppunk band, Random Holiday. He’s no stranger to touring or couchsurfing. Everything he’s done in his career adds up to an impressive portfolio for someone so young.
Mike strays the tiniest bit away from his poppunk roots on his latest, and only, solo EP. Virginia Son certainly has a bit of that poppunk flavor, but Mike introduces something interesting we didn’t hear in Random Holiday’s records: an acoustic guitar that sounds as if it was influenced by Johnny Cash. The combination creates an interesting sound that is different enough to establish Mike as a solo artist while maintaining some of what we know and love about him as a musician.
Mike says of the new record:
Virginia Son encompasses two decades of growing up in the Shenandoah Valley. To put it simply, it’s about the landscapes open and beautiful sights contrasting the closedminded intolerance. Since it’s inception, Virginia’s soil was tainted with dehumanization. Although progress has been made, and now Virginia is holding true to her word and finally is a state for all lovers, she is still in a retrograde of backwards teaching. Virginia Son was birthed from her to bring forth change.
Lucky for us, Mike will be touring just as much as ever. You can check out his tour dates below.
You can check out his new music video for “War On Love” here:
I was wondering what would happen after Random Holiday split. What made you decide to go solo instead of starting another band? You spent a lot of your life in that bandhow different is it working alone?
Mike: Well, to be completely honest… I couldn’t come up with a good enough band name so I just stuck with using my name, as lame as that is, haha. I knew even though RH was breaking up, all I wanted to do was to keep writing music. I lucked out because although I wrote the songs on the record, I had a handful of the most talented musicians I know to help me make it all happen. So even though I’m solo and I guess I am a “singer/songwriter,” I’m still surrounding myself with a band, and still have the full band vibe, which is super fun.
Let me just get this out of the way first: I adore your new single, “Bones.” It’s got a different vibe from some of the other projects you’ve worked on. Where is this sound coming from? Is it something you gravitate toward, or is it a conscious decision?
Mike: Well, first off, thank you so much. I really appreciate it, and the response I’ve been getting on it has been amazing. I’m definitely really appreciative of that, and, yeah, it’s definitely a different vibe. I had been writing so many songs trying to pick the best five or so for the record, and in the process I changed the sound I was going for a couple times. It sort of just happened. I drew inspiration for all the songs from the rock and punk bands that are closest to my heart, like The Clash and Against Me! I didn’t just wake up and say “Well today I’m gonna write a folk punksong, sick.” I just happened to start writing songs that fit more with what I wanted to say lyrically. I totally gravitate towards this sound though. I’m digging more into my roots than ever.
What is your songwriting process these days? Do you write all the parts in your songs, or do you jam with other musicians? What goes into recording?
Mike: Basically I wrote the music and then the lyrics, and then I took them up to New Jersey and demoed them out with my good pal, Bryan Little, at Blue Steel Recording Studio, and I got with a couple awesome musicians from various bands up in that area who recorded all the other parts around the rhythm guitar and vocals. Then I took them to the studio I recorded in Baltimore at Valencia Studio with Will Beasley. When we recorded there, I had friends from all over come in and session different instruments for me. Big thanks to Kyle and Ben from Dogwood Tales, Joey and Bryan from Hiding Out/The Chambrays, and of course Christian Zawacki from Distress Call. It was a super cool experience, for sure one I want to do on the next record.
Do we have a tour to look forward to?
Mike: Plenty of tours! July 16th21st with Good Luck Spaceman, July 22ndAug 2nd with Dogwood Tales, and September and November I’ll also be out with some sick bands.
Pop Punk is an incredibly familybased genreshows are put on by friends, you tour with friends, you write music with friends, you crash on friends’ couches. For all intents and purposes, the Pop Punk community is your family. How has this shaped you as a person? How has it shaped your music?
Mike: Being in a DIY touring band is really the best way to see how amazing humanity and the world around you can be. The hospitality, kindness, and help I experienced while touring with RH was really something special. The amount of people who let us sleep in their homes, fed us, booked shows, and hung out was far too many to even try and count. It’s such a tightknit community. Everyone knows everyone which is so rad because that way you’re never alone. There are always people to help. Those experiences are definitely what made me into the person and musician I am today.
Finally, I’d like to do something I do in all of my interviews: a little rapid fire.
In the studio or on tour? Both rule
Favorite food on the road? Taco Bus or any local taqueria
Favorite place to write music? Bedroom
Favorite instrument to play? Kazoo
Favorite jam-with-your-windows-rolled-down band? The Dangerous Summer or CCR
Here are Mike’s upcoming tour dates:
July 16th New Brunswick NJ @ Court Tavern
July 17th Frederick MD @ All Saints Church
July 19th Philadelphia PA @ The Fire
July 20th Poughkeepsie NY @ My Place Pizza
July 21st Washington DC @ The Electric Maid
July 22nd Lynchburg VA @ Firehouse
4 July 23rd Va Beach @ Hook UP July
24th Raleigh NC @ TBA July
25th Charleston SC @ King Dusko
July 26th Orlando Fl @ Uncle Lou’s July
27th Tampa FL @ TBD July
29th Gadsden AL @ Andy’s Music
July 30th Atlanta GA @ TBD
July 31st Greensboro NC @ TBD
Aug 1st Hagerstown MD @ RCM
Aug 2nd Winchester VA @ Bright Box Theater
His latest song, the title track on Virginia Son can be streamed here: