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March 2021
Feature

Another Michael: Big pop energy

Philadelphia-based, Run For Cover upstarts Another Michael spill the beans on their debut album, 'New Music and Big Pop'.
Published: 4:08 pm, February 17, 2021
Another Michael: Big pop energy

Philadelphia-based, Run For Cover-signed upstarts Another Michael are a charming prospect, making bright, endlessly endearing guitar-pop tunes full of colourful hooks, intimate tales of heartbreak and swathes of joy. Vocalist/guitarist Michael Doherty, bassist Nick Sebastiano, and guitarist/keyboardist Alenni Davis introduce their band, and their debut album, 'New Music and Big Pop'.

How did you lot meet and decide to form a band?
Michael:
We met around the end of 2014 through playing in bands with mutual friends around Albany. Nick and Alenni were students at the College of Saint Rose, and I was working at an instrument rental shop and focusing on playing the drums. We hit it off quick, bonded a lot over the venn diagram of our musical experiences, over board games, late-night food and driving around town. Also, the city's local music scene was really taking off in a way I'd never seen before, and there were all these house show spaces bringing in more diverse and exciting touring bands. All these things combined inspired me to really reshape the way I approach songwriting and band arrangement and led to focusing on creating a live band first and studio project second. I've been so lucky to have them, along with many other close pals, be interested in seeing this project through to the point of making it a part of our everyday life.

Do you all still live together?
Alenni:
When we first moved to Philly, we all lived together in the same house for three years, but we, unfortunately, had to part ways amidst COVID and other lifestyle changes. It was really awesome while it lasted and we made a ton of music and memories together in that space. Mike and Nick live together with our friend Noah, and I live with my senior rescue dachshund Wormy about a 10 minute walk away, so we're still able to meet, practice, and record together relatively frequently.

Who's the best housemate out of you lot?
Nick:
There are probably several arguments to be made that the answer isn't one of us. We each contribute to the dysfunction of a household in our own way (haha), and that includes our close friend Jacob who played guitar on this record. Maybe the answer is our roommate / resident audio engineer Scoops, or our longtime friend and Scoops' longtime partner, Leah. Or heck, maybe it is our beloved Wormy. He at least always cleans his dishes.

What've been the highlights of your time together in the band so far?
Alenni:
Where to begin! I feel like every tour we've been on has been a highlight, and we're very grateful to have had the opportunity to play alongside some of our favourite musicians. We played SXSW in 2019, which was a blast and made a lot of friends that we've kept in touch with since. One of my favourite shows we've ever played was on Halloween in 2019 - we opened a sold-out show with Prince Daddy and the Hyena and Beach Bunny at Thalia Hall in Chicago. It was amazing seeing hundreds of people moshing in costume. This album, 'New Music and Big Pop', is also a huge highlight for us! We're really proud of what we've created and are eager for people to hear it.

"We are working on a few things; surviving a pandemic in the political hellscape of America being the main one" 
Nick Sebastiano

If Another Michael had a mission statement, what would it be?
Michael:
We'd like to provide an artistic landscape that flows with the present for better or worse, and to try and assess music through our most authentic lenses.

Have you always been on the same page about the kind of music you want to make? How did that develop?
Nick:
We have not always been on the same page! I think that's something we embrace, along with our very different musical backgrounds. We still aren't totally on the same page about what kind of music we want to make as a whole - and I don't know that we want to be. For us, the type of music we want to make kind of changes from song to song, release to release. We're in a place where we approach every idea that Michael brings to us in an open-ended fashion. Maybe we all have our own individual visions of where we see a song (or even an album as a whole) going, but the process is ultimately fluid. As more pieces start to stick together, the preconceived visions shift and get closer. And as things progress, the answers all become much clearer, and our ideas all start working together to accomplish the same goals. And at that point, it's like, 'well well well, would you look at that'. We finally all have the same vision. How did that happen? So like, by the time something is finished, it feels correct to all of us.
But the challenge is allowing our ideas about the kind of music we make to be fluid. It wouldn't work if we were all stuck on our preconceived notions. It requires a lot of trust and patience. And I think that is something that we are all on the same page about.

What was the process of putting together your debut album like? Has the pandemic got in the way much?
Alenni:
The album itself was thankfully recorded pre-pandemic, but working out what to do in terms of releasing and promoting a debut album during a pandemic has been a long series of hurdles. Thankfully we've been up for the challenge! We're trying our best to get creative with music video ideas and other content we can create during these times, though we have come up with a lot of music video concepts that we immediately realised were impossible, but maybe we'll come back to them when they are possible.

What are your hopes for the album?
Michael:
All the shows and smaller releases of the last few years have been a slow burn towards fully realising a record like this, so I'm excited for people to enjoy our band in a longer playing format. Though the current listening trends point towards focusing on what makes good songs stick out (TikTok, playlists, etc.), I think albums are an opportunity to really introduce casual listeners to a band, give them a chance to really check out the musical world they exist in through a complete package.

What else are you lot working on at the moment?
Nick:
We are working on a few things; surviving a pandemic in the political hellscape of America being the main one. But we have some new music in progress that we are excited about and that we hope the world can hear not long after they've had their fill of New Music and Big Pop. At the time of answering this question, it's hard to determine when we ourselves or anyone else will be on stage again, but we do have some announced plans for touring in the UK and Europe that we hope will hold up! We're hoping to make some more digital content available soon as well.

Do you have any predictions for the rest of 2021?
Alenni:
I don't so much have predictions as much as dreams because I now know to not expect anything. So, I will say I have dreams of as many people as possible to be vaccinated for COVID-19 and for industries like music and art and theatre and all jobs requiring face-to-face contact to return in full bloom. We can't wait to get back on stage and perform our songs.

Taken from the March issue of Upset. Another Michael's debut album 'New Music and Big Pop' is out 19th February.

March 2021
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March 2021

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