Kevin Micka is the one man multi-instrumental wizard Animal Hospital. The Boston based musician is currently on an extensive European tour and he headlines The Macbeth in London on 3rd November. I manage to steal a few moments of Kevin's time in France to ask him some questions:
SoundsXP: How does it differ being a solo artist rather than being part of a band? do you prefer it? ever get lonely?
I prefer it some ways in that it allows me a different type of creativity and flexibility. It all evolved out of those two things; wanting to tour more and have a different type of project that might force me to be more creative in my execution of ideas and performance. I don't really get too lonely, I see someone I know every couple of days on tour and driving doesn't bother me as it's good alone time for me sometimes. I do like the communal aspect of playing with friends and I think I prefer that in a less serious situation without the concerns of touring and organizing all the less fun aspects of playing music.
SoundsXP: You've released two albums this year which is very prolific of you! one on Barge Records and the other on Mutable Sound, how did they come about?
Memory on Barge took about 2 or 3 years and for the most part it was a work in progress the whole time. Good or Plenty, Streets and Avenues came when there were lulls in the work I was doing on Memory, so I could take a break and make some potentially less deliberate and serious music. I hope to find some kind of middle ground in the future. It is hard to tell which process is more beneficial.
SoundsXP: You're stuck in hospital for 6 months, it's nothing serious don't worry, what 5 albums would you take to listen to?
Hammerhead - Into the Vortex
Beach House - Devotion
Steve Reich - Music for 18 Musicians
Loscil - Plume
The Great Redneck Hope - Behold the Fuck Thunder
SoundsXP: Rolf Harris had a TV series called Animal Hospital, if you had a TV show what would it be about?
It would be heavily influenced by James Burke. Perhaps a history, electronics repair and live music show, maybe a bit a of a Jools Holland type show with and educational aspect to it.
SoundsXP: Apart from being a musician you're also an actor, producer and sound engineer. What's your favourite platform?
Ha ha! I 'acted' in a friend's film a few years back but that is about it on the acting front. Most of my regular platfroms in life involve music so I an pretty happy with that. Overall playing and creating music makes me the most content with life.
SoundsXP: You've toured over many continents. Do you enjoy the immense travelling or does it ever get tiresome?
Sometimes, I would say it wears me out mostly when it takes time away from writing and recording new music. That and flying, but other than that I like it very much. I don't really know how to travel any other way.
SoundsXP: The Jesus lizard can walk on water, do you have any unique atributes, other than playing loads of instruments at the same time on stage?
Hmmmm.... Yeah, I am still trying to decide on what to do to compete when I play with them(Jesus Lizard the band not the animal of the same name; Animal Hospital have an imminent support tour with the band). A friend suggested I take my dick out during the show.
SoundsXP: Your stage show relies heavily on electronics and effects pedals, what do you do when the technology goes wrong?
It is so ingrained in me at this point to worry about this and I also work as a repair technician. I usually have some back up plans for when things go wrong. Doing this for 5 years has also helped me to handle and process the unexpected quick enough to work with it on stage... sometimes at least. I also try to take as good care of my stuff as i can and bring extra cables.
SoundsXP: Are there any new bands you're fond of?
I am still living in a bubble. I need to work on that some more to get out of it. I keep looking further back than ahead at the moment in regards to what I listen to. Beach House and the Bower Birds are two of the only records I've I bought this year.