November 26th 2010
Article Originally Published in our awesome Aussie cousins Rave Magazine: http://www.ravemagazine.com.au/
ONE IN A MILLION
Interview with That One Guy By Lee Hutchison
MIKE SILVERMAN aka THAT ONE GUY is not only a do it yourself enthusiast but also somewhat of an enigma when it comes to his live shows. LEE HUTCHISON finds out how his new record tries to bottle that live energy.
Mike Silverman is one of a kind. His stage shows are that of legend for two reasons. Number one is the energy created by his shows that whip audiences into a loved-up, happy, positive mass leaving them high for days. The second is the site of a man playing the most convoluted looking instrument most of us have ever seen while also giving us a sound that you can’t help but boogie to. Better known as the Magic Pipe, his instrument was the result of frustration felt by Mike (a former jazz bassist) at the confines and limits of traditional bass instruments. After spending three years designing his new beast and an additional year building it from stainless steel tubes, the result resembles a harp with a single bass string running down the front section and a tenor string at the back. Now in it’s third incarnation, the pipe features on That One Guy’s latest album and will also be travelling with him to Australia for his upcoming tour.
“This is version 3.0 [laughs]. It’s the same design but more refined. Originally it was made from plumbing pipes and now it’s all pieces and components that I’ve mad machined. And actually the machinist worked on the Phoenix Mars Lander.” Packs A Wallop! is Mike’s third album and, other than having an aerospace machinist making improvements to his instrument of choice, I’m curious about how this album differs from his first two offerings.
“Every album I’d made so far has been songs that I’d played in shows and was very much used to playing. This album I made from scratch. I went in with not much of anything written or finished and did a lot of improvising…it was really fun, much more of a spontaneous, creative output…it opened me up a lot, showed me a new process to making records which I think I’m going to stick with. It felt more about the moment rather than slaving over an idea.”
Such a comment is not surprising coming from a man whose live shows hold such a fond place in people’s hearts. I ask Mike what it is about his shows that make them so memorable.
“I really love playing live and I think that’s what music’s supposed to be. It’s supposed to be an experience for everybody – for the performer, for the audience – and ultimately a record should just be a recorded example of what happens at a live show. But record making has become so advanced and high tech that records sound so good that they’ve eclipsed a lot of what artists can be capable of live. That’s not a bad thing, it’s just the way technology has taken us. But for me it’s always been a live show first and it’s always been a struggle for me to try and capture that energy onto a record…But with this new album it was much more about the process and less about archiving an idea.”