Gimme Your Answers: An Interview w/ Mike Donovan

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Mike Donovan
Photo by John Dwyer

Mike Donovan (formally known for being in garage rock band Sic Alps) released his solo debut WOT back in September. With a massive North American tour under his belt, A Music Blog, Yea? caught up with Mike to talk about touring with Ty Segall, the album, and more.

AMBY: Hello Mike, cheers for speaking with AMBY today. What have you been up to lately?

Mike Donovan: We just finished a couple weeks of touring on the west coast.  The band is Eric Park (who I made the new record with), William Keihn (who did the record cover) and myself. It was our first foray into tour zone and I think we passed the test.

AMBY: Your album WOT is out today! What is the significance behind the album’s title?

Mike Donovan: I remember seeing a photo of Rachel Whiteread’s “House”- this “conceptual” sculpture of a house cast in cement…in the photo of it I saw, someone had spray painted “wot for” on it and for some reason that question always stuck with me visually- an open ended question without a question mark.

AMBY: You’ll be touring North America with Ty Segall. What are you most looking forward to?

Mike Donovan: We toured with Ty during this recent west coast tour.  It was really so rad to see him performing his new record every night (plus the hits at the end of the set.)  The band was put together special for this tour- the “Sleeper Band”, an acoustic setup that really let Ty’s vocals take the lead which of course sounded amazing- especially with the back-up vocals of secret weapon Sean Paul Presley.

AMBY: What are the best and worst parts of touring for you?

Mike Donovan: Playing the set is of course the best part, it’s wot you’re waiting for all day.  The worst part? Maybe the inevitable punchline known as “load out”?

AMBY: Which Mike Donovan lyric is your favourite?

Mike Donovan: “wot’s the case with my cityscape? / it’s overrun by the norm / for all these straights it’s like a fantasy / is it just a facebook dorm?”  We would crack up whenever that would playback in the studio. But it’s funny cause it’s true- SF is Disneyland now.

AMBY: What did you listen to growing up, and what have you been listening to lately?

Mike Donovan: I still listen to the stuff I loved as a kid- Beatles, Kinks, Stones…lately I’ve been listening to a lot of mellow, heavy jams from the past like F.J. McMahon, Mark Fry, Georges Brassens, Sibylle Baier.

AMBY: If you could invite any three people to record an album with, who would you pick?

Mike Donovan: Ty Segall, Barrett Avner, Eric Bauer.

AMBY: What would the fortune teller predict about Mike Donovan down the road?

Mike Donovan: Sleep.

AMBY: What’s the best song of the year?

Mike Donovan: “Don’t Touch” by Sun Foot.

AMBY: And lastly, what’s something about Mike Donovan that nobody knows yet?

Mike Donovan: That I’m a quite secretive.

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Thank you Mike Donovan, for giving us your answers!

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Alicia Atout | @AliciaAtout

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