On Friday August 17th, Michal Menert brought one of the largest crowds out of all of the artists at the first annual Arise Music Festival in Loveland, Colorado. A couple hours before the show, the BandWagon had the opportunity to sit down with Michal Menert and talk about his music and his story of becoming a successful artist.
BandWagon: how long have you been making music as a career?
Michal Menert: I was living on and off of music since I was probably 19 you know. I was maybe working a part time job, doing shows, and tours, but I was not making any money at all. I’d make like maybe 500 bucks off a show on tour and then your van would break down every three stops and you loose all you made. So it was a very up and down kind of thing. It’s weird because I’m 31 now and it’s been the last three years I’d say that I’ve been consistently successful. There were times when I could live off of music for like a year or two, but then other activities would have to pay the bills cause you couldn’t have a professional job and tour. It’s crazy cause I still feel like man, any day now it could come crumbling down and I could be delivering pizzas again. I mean I made my first solo album in my mom’s basement when I was on house arrest, and it was a very tough time for my life. It was a very humbling experience and I made a great album out of that but in a way it made me always want to be comfortable where I’m at, to be constantly pushing what you can do or what you want to do to be successful.
BW: Did you have a moment when you realized your music was really taking off?
MM: I guess having toured in Oakland for like a year and a half and seeing people not getting my stuff, or not knowing my songs until like the third time I came around. Then people became a lot more receptive to what I was doing, and I was playing the same songs I was playing before. So seeing people finally getting it, and finally giving my album a chance, I realized I had created a ripple and finally done something good with myself. A lot of my life was doing things that weren’t good, failing out of college, being homeless, getting arrested, you know. Looking back it’s like man… that really just wasn’t a great affect on the people around me. Its great to have the opportunity with music to do something people like.
BW: How has this impacted you now that you have moved past that stage in your life?
MM: Yeah, you know I think that the death of my father has made me think about not being as good as this person or that person, its no longer like, ‘oh I’ll just have this conversation later with this person or that person to clear this up.’ For me now, that is difficult to hear cause you never know if you’ll ever get to have a conversation that person again. It’s made me want to live up to my full potential to show people what I can really do, that I’m not a bad person, you know like let me show you what I can do that I think is pretty, let me show you what I can do with emotions. I’m now looking at this like wow I really have a legitimate career here. I mean I’d be making this music if I was still in my mom’s basement you know, I mean I like music a lot, and it’s just with me more than anything else in my life. You can just connect so personally with the songs it can take you to places, almost like a fantasy or dream, you know, that’s just so abstract, it can just really create a picture you know what I mean.
BW: What’s your creative process for making a track?
MM: I just love working with little samples and loops and chopping them up and playing them together to see what fits. I just play around I guess and plug stuff in, and I get lucky pretty easy, just looking for samples with similar tempos and sounds that go well together.
BW: What would you want to say to your fans that constantly hearing your music, what would you want them to take from your lifestyle?
MM: I would just say find joy in the little things you know, like a good cooked meal, and people around you. I guess with my life style of being on the road a lot has really brought me to appreciate being home and having someone you love. Home becomes a different thing when you’re gone all the time. I mean when you go through your life dreaming of going all these places and seeing all these things, but when your gone all the time, sometimes you just want to come home and sleep in your own bed, or go to the park you know. So just being able to appreciate the little things in life and being in the moment, because there’s so much detail and so much to see.
Talking with Michal Menert was a great experience and his set at Arise Music festival on Friday night was unforgettable. Michal Menert will be continuing his tour through the U.S. in anticipation of his show headlining the Fillmore Auditorium on November 16th in Denver, Colorado. You can check out his music for free online here at soundcloud.com.
Photos by: Rachel Waltman