Mikey Sabatella
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Mikey Sabatella

South Pasadena, California, United States | SELF

South Pasadena, California, United States | SELF
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If you were to mix guitar playing & music by Jason Mraz, Jack Johnson, & John Mayer then mixed it together with a raspy type of voice like Bruce Springsteen and Eddie Vedder; you would get Mikey Sabatella.

His album “A Life In The Day” mixes some great music with his distinctive and original voice. The first song on the album is “I’m A Sinner” and personally my favorite songs on the record. Extremely well put together; I could actually see this being on a soundtrack for a great movie or television show.

His music and guitar playing are peaceful but has the rebel edge in many of his lyrics like songs

“I’m A Sinner” and “The High Road”. Although he does have that rebel attitude in many lyrics, he also has some other great lyrics of love and life in general. “Breathe Again” and “Goodbye & Soo Long” are fantastic showings of how he can write different types of lyrics instead of staying with the same thing for all of his songs.

Mikey Sabatella is a great musician and song writer. If this album is any showing of how his live performance is, I cannot wait to see him live.

Written by:

Eric Vellone

- Muen Magazine


The following is an email interview with Mikey Sabatella conducted by Wendy Ford.

What made you want to go solo after being in a band for so long? How long were you in a band?

For me, going solo happened by accident. I was writing a lot in 2009 and had been showing demos to good friends whose opinions I valued and respected. Several of those good friends convinced me to create a record with the demos and turn them into a solo album. Then I just started recording. I've always loved to write poetry and putting them to music was just the next step. Becoming solo was not intentional but I've grown a lot since the beginning of this process.

I sang and played guitar for Limitpoint from 1999 - 2007 and The Spencer Outfit from 2007 - 2008. I loved playing with those bands.

Is it harder being a solo artist? Do you feel more vulnerable since it is all your lyrics, music, and emotions?

Being a solo artist isn't hard if you keep one thought in mind, that all of the music and experiences you create are for you. Love what you do, love what you write and it's easy. I wrote most of the music when I was in bands, so the transition to being a solo artist was easy. However, it's still hard to get used to seeing my name on flyers and records. It's hard to hide when your life is out there for people to hear.

How have you grown musically since your band days?

This question is hard to answer unless you really know me, but I will say that who I am today is attributed to a lot of mistakes I have made in the past. Many of which I am not proud of and many that I am more than proud of. I don't take anything for granted, I don't live with regrets, I just live and learn. To me, that represents growth.

When did you know that music was something you wanted to do? Was there one specific event that happened that made you want to express yourself through music?

I realized that I wanted to play music when my cousin Brian and I first started messing around with it. I was 18, he was 15 and there was nothing in the world we wanted to do but play, write, and record music. One of the first shows we ever played was with Fenix Tx at The Loft in Pasadena, CA. I remember being so nervous to play in front of 900 people that I almost couldn't do it. However, we did it and it was incredible. The feeling of expressing me to a large group and connecting with people never left my system, I guess. I live for it.

Which of your songs is your favorite? Why?

‘Starting Over’ off of my solo record is one of my favorites. It's just something that I think everyone has experienced. The feeling like no matter where we go, we always deal with troubles and have to take it upon ourselves to just leave all of the bullshit behind and start from scratch.

What musicians influence your music the most?

I love certain musicians for their contribution to my life. Artists like Billie Joe from Green Day, Eddie Vedder from Pearl Jam, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash… these are all musicians I grew up listening to. You know when you hear a song and it takes you back to a moment that completely changed you? That’s what these musicians have done for me.

If you had to pick an album that could sum up who you are as a person, which would it be?

Eddie Vedder - Into The Wild Soundtrack. It's a record that embodies a traveler, someone whose home is the road. I love that record.

Why "Mikey"? Why not "Michael"?

When I was younger I worked for a market called Wild Oats in Pasadena. There were too many Mike's. They offered to call me Michael #2, or something… I wasn't having it. They said…”Well, how about Mikey?” and it stuck. I've been Mikey for a long time now. It's funny, people sometimes ask me, “As you get older, don't you feel like you want a grown up name?” What does that mean, exactly? Our names determine our age? In that case I will be Mikey until the day I die. And yes, “Mikey likes it”" I've heard way too often!

Aside from music, do you have any other talents?

I'm Italian and I've always heard talking is one of my biggest talents. I've been known to talk most people in or out of many decisions. I guess it just comes with my nationality. [Laughs] Cooking is another; creating my own style. My Bomblette’s" and Godzilla-dilla’s" rule! Ask around, and yes those terms are copyrighted! I am also a graphic designer. I've been creating merchandise (shirts, stickers, etc), CD artwork, websites and posters for over 10 years now. It's something I've always loved. Artwork and expressing me through graphics have been my passion as long as I can remember. [Mikey's work can be found here: www.ILMDesigns.com]

Do you think your transition will still attract the fans from your previous bands?

My newer music has opened me up to a broader audience. I've had emails written from fans ages 15 to 65. I truly believe that if your music connects with people, it doesn't matter what genre you are. Unless you're a death metal band, in that case I think one of the main requirements to being a fan is levitating. [Laughs]

What is next for you now that you’ve released your debut full length as a solo artist?

I plan to play as many shows as possible. I have a great band of very talented musicians that I love playing with. I have been writing demos for the next record and plan to release at least one if not two albums a year. I also will be touring in parts of Texas in September as well as Las Vegas in October. Right now, things are good. Real good.

- Decoy Music


No stranger to the music world, Mikey Sabatella is a surprisingly unknown songwriter from California who has been playing and traveling for over a decade. His music crosses the lines of Dustin Kensrue with Andrew Bird and any number of alt. rock bands, but keeps it solidly acoustic throughout. Having been around the block for so long as a member of the early 2000's pop punk band Limitpoint, it is also a surprise that A Life In The Day is Sabatella’s solo debut. It’s filled with super catchy rock and folk-influenced tunes and it reeks of enthusiasm and authenticity.

The most impressive part of his debut is the emotional depth. The music itself easily covers folk, alt-country, punk, rock, and alt. rock without breaking a sweat. “I’m a Sinner” carries the folk and alt-country vibe, but also shows his perfection of conveying musical emotion. The song has a well-crafted crescendo throughout that lets the song grow and boil into a solid guitar solo- and then it simmers back down. Even more impressive is how seamless this is done in under the three-minute mark.

Songs also hit on a lot of easily relatable subjects that can be discerned pretty simply through the song titles and a few key lyrics in the chorus. While nothing out of the ordinary subject wise, the execution level is well-played thoughout and doesn’t feel monotonous like so many other acts.

One of the most notable production qualities on A Life In The Day is the use of panning. While it is common practice to double track guitars and then pan one to the left ear and the other to the right, Sabatella’s use of this is different: the guitars don’t match up. Turning on “Talk Of The Town,” there is a noticeable rhythmic difference between the right ear’s guitar strums and the left’s. There is something perfect in its imperfection. This use of panning continues nicely throughout with short lines being placed in the left and then the right ear as the chorus melody continues in the center of the mix.

With such little exposure on his back for this record, it’s been glossed over in this year’s releases. Still young in his career as a solo artist, A Life In The Day is a solid debut that is sure to carry him into the future with the bar set high. Luckily, there is not need to fear a lack of authenticity if he keeps this up. –MATTHEW COLWELL

- REVOLT


Have you ever seen that movie “She’s All That” with Freddie Prinze Jr.? You know the one where Jessica Alba is a major nerd, but Prinze dates her on a bet and ends up totally falling for her? [Emperor's note: Jeff bitched about me not catching that this was Rachel someone. Fun fact: I don't watch chick flicks. It wasn't Jessica Alba, it was a different hot chick. It doesn't matter.] That’s kind of what writing this article/interview was like (minus the hot nerd girl, and douchebag Prinze…). Before starting this I had never heard of Mikey Sabatella. I did this as a favor for a friend, and didn’t really know what to expect. I was thinking, “Another solo artist? Great… Dashboard Confessional 2.0”. But I will say I was pleasantly surprised at the album I was given. It was a very well written, soulful, folky album that was smooth on the ears, but still stayed at the forefront of my mind. In the end, I wasn’t just doing this as a favor… I wanted to write this.

After reading his bio, I had noticed a little piece of my past as well. Mikey was in a pop–punk band called “Limitpoint” which I had seen open for the almighty No Motiv back in 02 or 03. I remember I had actually bought their CD and enjoyed it, up until my car got broken into and had all my music taken. It’s funny though, the small world we live in… whether it be musically, or running into a friend of a friend, who once banged your ex girlfriend, we all seem to find ourselves intertwining in one way or another. It was also great to see that Mikey had progressed both musically and emotionally with his solo act.

“A Life In The Day” (Mikey’s solo album) is an album full of heart, passion and ingenuity. It dares to break out of the realm of cookie cutter solo acts who are just whining for their girlfriend to come back. It’s more than Dustin from Thrice, or Chuck from Hot Water Music stepping out of the reigns of their band to “try something new”… it’s real, heartfelt and passionate.

It opens with “I’m A Sinner”, which is a smooth track that speaks of life experience and goes through the motions of a acoustic track, to a full band folk song, and back again. The mood definitely progresses throughout the album. You can definitely feel the passion and the intensity in his vocals on “Talk Of The Town”, a song very reminiscent of Gaslight Anthem with it’s slide guitar and swirling melody. My favorite track on the album is by far “’Til The Time Runs Out” which is just a nice soothing track with lyrics like “Baby, just hold on, ‘til the time of day runs out” that almost anyone can relate to. Overall this is a powerful disc, which could cause a various range of emotions. This is definitely a gem, and I cannot wait to hear what is in store next for Mikey. [This disc gets a 8/10]

*head to www.mikeysabatella.bandcamp.com to check it out and buy it if you like it*

I had the opportunity to shoot the shit with Mikey via email. I asked some pretty deep and serious questions about life, and the world in general… Don’t worry folks, there’s the typical Racket nonsense as well…

So, a sound like yours is a rarity these days… with all the regurgitated crap full of breakdowns, tight jeans and bad haircuts, you stand out with a pure sound. What’s your take on the music scene these days, and how do you plan on stepping out beyond the rubble to spread your music to the masses?
I plan to be me. Honest, true, someone who isn’t afraid to be himself. I write honestly about my everyday experiences. For me, music has never been about the fame, the fashion or the glory of it all… it has been a simple formula: family, friends and connection, relating to an audience of one or many. I’ve never looked down upon other musicians for doing what they do. Some express themselves in other ways whether it be their looks or their “persona”. I guess for me it easier to write about things I feel in a first instinct approach and it doesn’t include wearing a mask.

Talk to me about the transition from “Limitpoint” to your solo act. Both are different sounds. Was it a hard transition, or did the solo project come more natural?
Limitpoint has been and will always be a time in my life that taught me everything I needed to know about the music world. The friends I made along the way and over 8 years of playing music in the band were amazing. It was always a “team effort”. My new music is a culmination of what I’ve learned in those years. I’ve always written more “toned down” music when writing for Limitpoint before everyone added their parts; now that I’m releasing music as a solo musician it’s just natural.

I’m a genie, name your wish… you get three.
This is a great question.
1) Unlimited plane tickets, I’d love to travel the world as much I could. Culture is one thing you can’t buy and being that I’ve experienced other countries I’d like to do that as much as possible.
2) Make money obsolete. It ruins everything.
3) I’d like to time travel, visit the 50s and the 1870s. Why not? They seem like better times.

Name two things about the opposite sex that automatically turns you off.
1) a bad attitude
2) being superficial
Men and women could both be guilty for these…you asked me about women ;)

Beavis or Butthead and what deep-seeded psychological flaw do you think your choice reveals?
Butthead. Ignorance is bliss. To be honest…I never really watched that show. Now family guy? That’s a show!

[SIDENOTE – Family Guy is way cooler… - Jeff] [Emperor's Note: Shut the hell up. B&B& Family Guy both rule.]

Leatherface is in your kitchen. Will you fight to victory, or hide from him?
Fight till the death.

What CD or CDs are you totally obsessed with right now?
This changes week to week. A brief synopsis? The Black keys – Brother, Eddie Vedder – Into The Wild Soundtrack, Queens Of The Stone Age – Songs for the Deaf. Propagandhi and Green Day have always been favorites as well.

[SIDE NOTE – Propagandhi’s “How To Clean Everything” is one of my top 5 records EVER… Well played Mikey]

So, walk me through a typical day in the life of Mikey Sabatella.
Starts off with Starbucks, I’m sure most agree it’s the breakfast of champions. I like to read quotes, one that I’m really into right now “to avoid criticism do nothing, say nothing, be nothing”. Great one. I’ve worked as a graphic designer for the past 10 years and love what I do, at night I take my dog out for a walk, write some music and hang with my girlfriend Robyn. Right now life is good, real good.

Do you think the social media sites (Myspace, Facebook, Twitter) have helped bands, hurt them, or haven’t made any impact at all?
From about 2001 to 2008 I toured the nation over 20 times in Limitpoint and my last band The Spencer Outfit, in those years Myspace ruled everything when it came to promotion and connecting with fans online. I definitely think, for us, it helped bring fans closer and alert then to “what’s going on” with us. These days Twitter and Facebook are the new fads. They help get the word out and I feel like, if used correctly, they can only help. I do think, however, that people can get “burnt out” on online forums like these if they’re abused. Show alerts and everyday updates can get old. I think if used in moderation they are amazing tools.
What’s your take on downloading music and the impact it has on the music industry.
I believe in getting your music heard any way possible. It’s obvious that downloading music has affected the industry in a negative way for music stores like Tower, Blockbuster Music and more. It seems that most majors have felt negative effects in sales as well. I come from the indie and D.I.Y. mindset. Always have. I feel for most artists, getting you music to the listener is key and these days it’s become easier and easier.

You’re infected… the rest of your family has the cure. One must die for you to obtain it, who dies?
I would do anything for my family. I die, my family lives.

[SIDE NOTE: This is the response I had hoped for… This was a test…. And Mikey passed.] [Emperor's note. He passed...barely. You know what he got? F+]

If you were to be any flavor of Pop-Tart to be consumed by Lady Gaga, which flavor would you be? Explain…
Gaga berry. No explanation needed.

You have the ability to rid the planet of one band/group; who’s on the chopping block?
Whoever created that monstrous song “I’m Too Sexy”, it’s safe to say no one really liked that song. Am I wrong? Seriously though, who am I to say a band shouldn’t express their music the way they want to. I have my own opinions, as my good friends know, but I will say this…I’d rather concentrate on an artist’s accomplishments. I think some musicians, who die, become more famous for the wrong reasons. I tend to concentrate on the living, the ones still creating an iconic career. In my opinion a great example and influence for me…Eddie Vedder. He still creates amazing, heartfelt music…for me being influential isn’t always synonymous with death.

[SIDENOTE: Right Said Fred’s “Too Sexy” was anthem of a lifetime. I get ready in front of the mirror singing that and flexing daily.]

If you could hang out with anyone (dead or alive) who would it be and what would you do?
I’ve heard of recording sessions with artists like Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and others having taken place all at one time at sun studios. I would love to have sat in on that session and just listened. There’s something about the late 50s/early 60s that just seemed crucial for music and seem to be the ultimate in “new ideas” or at least music that had never been done. I’d love to experience that feeling. Imagine a world of music you’ve never heard? That seems incredible.

Ok… lastly. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I will be playing, listening to and experiencing music. It’s what helps me breathe. I will always write. I also see myself writing for other artists, producing records for artists I believe in. A quote I’ve recently stumbled upon that sums it all up for me? “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones that you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain.

After reading his answers and having a brief conversation with Mikey via Facebook, I can honestly say this is one righteous, solid dude. His outlook is incredible, and overall he just seems to be very humble, and thankful for every opportunity granted. I had cracked a joke that I was going to destroy his record in the review and no one would ever want to listen to it after they read the review. His response was simply “That’s fine. I do this for me and I write what I feel at that given moment. I like what I’m doing and that’s all that matters. If other want to listen with me, then rad…”. To me that was the selling point on his character. Criticism and negativity would not allow him to falter from his path. Kudos, Mikey.

- RACKET MAGAZINE


Discography

"A Life In The Day" 2010 - www.itunes.com/mikeysabatella

Photos

Bio

Mikey Sabatella began his music career in his hometown of South Pasadena, CA in 1998. At this time, Mikey began writing and recording music with his cousin Brian Shaw. After countless live performances and demo recordings, Brian and Mikey found a solid line-up of dedicated musicians and began touring the US. From 2001-2007 Limitpoint had completed 23 National Tours, including tours with bands like Save Ferris and Something Corporate. In 2002 they were featured on the Warped Tour, Californopia's Ford Focus Tour, recorded three records, and worked with several sponsors including OBEY, Chipotle, Miller High Life and Amp Energy Drinks. Not only did Limitpoint have radio play throughout the US on college radio and on KROQ in Los Angeles, they were featured on MTV's Dew Circuit Breakout. In 2007 Limitpoint decided to "begin again" by creating a new harder sound and changed the band's name to The Spencer Outfit. The new band's first tour brought them to Japan on Japan's start up label Nutcase Entertainment. The Spencer Outfit continued touring throughout the US on three tours before beginning their hiatus in 2008.

In 2009 Mikey Sabatella began again, this time solo. Mikey started writing music that he felt was instinctual and very natural; both being reasons why he loved creating lyrics and music since day one. Mikey finds his strongest influences come from musicians like Eddie Vedder, Link Wray, Ben Harper and Andrew Bird. "One of the most important aspects about being a performing musician is personal relationships with new friends, old friends, family, feeling something from the music, and connecting to an audience." Mikey says. "Once the music started coming out, it wouldn't stop. Lyrics would just flow out onto paper and I wouldn't re-think them…I would just let them be. When I listen back I feel like it's the first time I've heard them. First instincts always make the most sense in a writer".

"A Life In The Day" is the debut solo album from Mikey Sabatella, released May 7th, 2010. It was very important to Mikey to include good friends to help create the album with him.
Jon Safley - produced, engineered and performed on the album
Don Swanson - vocal engineer
Nick Rucker- mixing and mastering

Mikey plans to record a new acoustic EP in August 2010 as well as writing his second solo record in fall 2010. Mikey is currently a featured artist on the Sparks Digital Playlist with his song "I'm A Sinner" playing on college radio and in kiosks across the nation until December 2010.

www.mikeysabatella.com
www.itunes.com/mikeysabatella
www.listn.to/mikeysabatella
www.twitter.com/mikeysabatella
www.youtube.com/mikeysabatella
www.vimeo.com/channels/mikeysabatella