Interviewed by: Anders Sandvall
Thanks to Jacob Hansen at Target Records for get this interview done
Thanks to Target Records for the promo pictures of Mike Tramp
Promo pictures taken by: Dinesen
COBBLESTONE STREET is the name of the new Mike Tramp album which was released earlier this year. The album is very personal and because of that I thought it was time to have a talk with Mike Tramp. The album contains only Mike Tramp and an acoustic guitar which is a bit different from what Mr. Tramp usually delivers. If you’re curious about the album and on Mr. Tramp check out the interview.
Hi Mike, really kind of you to take the time doing this interview. Maybe we could start off with talking about your brand new album COBBLESTONE STREET.
No problem, my pleasure to do it.
How long did it take to write all the songs to the new album? Are all of the songs newly written or have you incorporated any older songs?
It doesn’t take me very long to write a song, any song, because the way I write is more about following something that is natural to me rather than trying to create something that is not natural. I never sit down to write a song, it really just happens when i sit and play guitar and suddenly I play something that makes me want to sing, and then before I know it, Bang! a song is born. The songs on Cobblestone street comes from all the way back when i recorded Capricorn, to just a month before I recorded Cobblestone street.
I think that the lyrics feel personal and honest. Could you tell us what the songs are about?
Ever since I started doing albums as Mike Tramp, I have been writing about me and how I feel, so to say it in a simple way the songs are about my life and how I see life and live life dealing with good and bad things in life.
I understand that you wanted to do this album for a long time, how come it felt that now is the right time to release it?
I really don’t have that answer, but I am sort of happy that i waited, because i feel I was able to let go of everything and just follow my heart and who I am.
What have you been up to in between the release of this album and the previous one STAND YOUR GROUND from 2011?
A lot of searching about what it is I want to do, and also coming to the realization that there really ain’t no future for me trying to break a new band.
Was it given from the start that COBBLESTONE STREET was going to be acoustic?
YES! But that being said, when I went into the studio to record. I really just came to record some new songs, cause I needed to hear some new music, but at the end of day one when i had recorded the first three songs on the album, I knew that this is what was going to continue with and then kept going and 4 days later the album was done and born.
Where does the title COBBLESTONE STREET come from and does the title mean anything special to you (besides the fact that you grew up there)?
The title comes from the song, and it is a song I wrote in 1995 as i was done with Freak of nature and started writing for myself. Here I was sitting in the USA all alone thinking of my childhood memories and the place where i grew up.
Were there any songs that didn’t made it on to the album?
NO, every song was recorded in the order they are on the album and I knew that when I got to “Once” it was me being done with what i wanted to do with this album, I was completed.
On the limited digipack version of the CD, there are two bonus tracks featured. Could you tell us a bit about what those songs are about?
A month later, I was in the studio and decided to try some old songs out in the spirit of Cobblestone street, for a short time I was going to record 10 classic songs and make it a double album, but I scraped the idea and as I didn’t want to loose focus on how personal Cobblestone street is.
The following can be read in the bio that came with the album:“Tramp says he feels that COBBLESTONE STREET is like a movie, a movie about his own life in great details. Once it ends you will know who Mike Tramp is” is that something you feel is a valid description of your work on the album?
Yes I do, as i am the one saying it. But to maybe to clarify it even more. To me it was like i was living my life all over again and what I had gone through good or bad.
You had a release party for the album in Copenhagen in April, how was that and did you play live?
It was just something to do, and I had my boys from the rock’n’roll circuz play with me that night.
Have you read what the critics have to say about the album? Do you care about what media and critics have to say about your work?
I have seen many reviews and comments from both fans and critics around the world and I am pleased to say it is almost unanimous about what people say and how they feel about it, and of course that means the world to me, but more because they all see it for what it is and not for what it is not. They see it as what Mike Tramp is, when he is just Mike Tramp.
Are there any plans on shooting a video to any of the songs?
NO, but maybe down the line I will do something myself. These days it’s hard to get the record company to do anything but print your album.
What do you think that fans of White Lion and Freak of Nature think of the music on COBBLESTONE STREET?
Those who have followed Mike Tramp since those bands, will love it, because the reason why have stuck with me, is because of what I stand for and all that is on Cobblestone street.
You have got an amazing voice that seems to sound better and better for every years that passes how is that possible? What are your secret?
I don’t have a secret, except for that I write and sing songs that works for my voice and not songs that don’t. I can’t sing like I did in 1984-89 and I am not interested. I am simply just the Mike Tramp that is alive in 2013…
Are you happy with the outcome of the album or do you feel you should have done anything different now that you look back on it?
You can always go back and redo something, cause once you have played the songs live you get even closer and more free to sing them. But that is artistic nitpicking and it makes no difference. The album is perfect.
Many artists thinks that their latest album are their best one yet, do you feel the same way about COBBLESTONE STREET?
Yes, but more in a way that I feel it is who I am. But at the same time, Mike Tramp on Pride is Mike Tramp 1987 and Mike Tramp on Gathering of Freaks is Mike Tramp 1994.
Studio & production
Where was the album recorded and how long took it?
In Medley studio, Copenhagen, and the album took a week including mixing.
You recorded it together with Soren Andersen how was it to work with him and what are his strongest feature as producer?
When Soren and I are in the studio together there ain’t no title of who is what and who does what. we are just two people that really works well together and rarely disagree with anything. I trust him 100%.
How was it to sit in the studio with only a guitar and record?
It was great, but at the same time it was exactly what Soren told me to do. He said this is how you write your songs, now go record them that way.
Is it Andersen that plays the rest of the instruments on the album?
Soren plays a lot of stuff on the album, we don’t keep a list, who ever is closest to the instrument or get an idea just follows through with it.
What separates this recording experience to all the other times you been in studios?
No one else was there, and I didn’t think i was recording an album and I had no record deal when I recorded it, I was just free.
Who did the mastering/mix?
Everything is done by Soren and I.
The album was recorded during the summer of 2012 why took it so long to release it?
After the album was done I went out and toured by myself across Europe for almost 3 months, and it just made more sense to release when we did.
Label & management
You’re signed to Target Records how come you chose to ink a deal with them?
These days record deals are something different than when White Lion was signed. You just make a deal for an album and there isn’t anything else to it.
Are happy with the work the label have put into the album and in you as an artist so far?
It is fine, it is a different business today, and to me it’s more about me going out and touring than anything.
I know that Target Records released the album in Europe but what about the rest of the world, is the album released world wide?
It’s released in North America by Cleopatra…
Is it possible to download COBBLESTONE STREET legally anywhere?
Well of course on iTunes……
Are you currently working with any management or booking agency?
I have some people around the world, but i ma not signed to anyone, I take it as it comes.
You have got a really nice website, who runs it?
I just want a simple place the fans can be updated on. My friend Calle does the work, I give the order.
Do you think it’s important to be active on the various social networks that’s currently available?
Yes to a certain degree once your product is done the natural way. I am a classic artist, i do things the old fashion way and it ain’t going to change. I don’t like the new world or what the future is bringing. When it doesn’t work for me, I’ll just pull back into my cave and sit by the fire and play and sing.
Have you been out on any tour since the release of the album?
Since Cobblestone street was recorded i have played 200 shows in Europe and the USA.
I know that you did about 40 shows in Europe last year and you did everything on your own, how was that?
Very fulfilling, I love being by myself cause I never let myself down.
I have to ask you if Mike Tramp & The Rock n Roll Circuz is active? And what about Tramp’s White Lion? Is that active today?
I am not saying I wouldn’t do another Circuz album just to play work and play with the band for great feeling that is. But there isn’t any future in it, and there is no Tramp’s White Lion or any White Lion.
Do you have any contact with any of the former original members in White Lion today?
Besides James Lomenzo, I have zero contact.
What do you feel when you look back on the time after White Lion and when you launched Freak Of Nature at the beginning of the 90’s?
Great times while it lasted.
Do you have any shows or festival gigs booked so far? I know that you’re going to do something together with Stryper and Trixter in the US can you tell us about that?
I am back in the USA March 2014.
You’re going to play in Denmark this upcoming fall, are you going to visit the rest of Europe as well?
Besides two shows in Sweden and one in Germany, it’s all in Denmark.
What can the audience expect from a show with Mike Tramp unplugged?
Unplugged is a word MTV created. I am Mike Tramp with a voice and a guitar, singing the songs the way the were written.
Do you think that you’re going to continue to do unplugged shows in the future?
I going on being Mike Tramp.
Are you currently working on any new material and when do you think we can find the next Mike Tramp album in stores?
Something new will be available in 2014
Is the next album going to be acoustical or are you going to have a full band again?
It’s going to be a Mike Tramp album
Could you give the readers three reasons why they should buy COBBLESTONE STREET?
It’s a real album, from a real artist
Well, that was all for me for this time. Once again thanks a lot for taking the time to make this interview possible. I wish you all the best in the future. Finally do you have any words of wisdom to share with the readers and fans?
I think i have said plenty, the rest can be found in my songs and at my live shows…
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