written by Marko Jakob
Pix666: First of all thanks for your time. How are you and where are you at the moment and how do you deal with this special situation?
Mike: Thanks for taking the time for the interview! We’re all good, I’m in Sweden currently and I’m spending my time working on some new music for another project (Light Field Reverie), gaming, and watching stuff. The rest of the time I’m working from home, but it’s basically all we can do during this whole weird situation.
Emilio: We’re all good and safe. It’s a tough time right now with the virus and all that but we’re hanging in and staying busy with other things!
Pix666: You are all from different countries. How and where did you meet each other and how did it happen that you decided to form a band together?
Emilio: I got a message from a mutual friend we had telling me about Mike’s other band, Lysithea. I really liked what I had heard and decided to message him and we began speaking that way. After some months talking and whatnot, we decided to start something of our own together and Sojourner was born. Fun fact, we initially started as a melodic doom band but quickly scrapped it when we realized we didn’t want to do that at all.
Mike: That was more or less how it was born, then we added Chloe and Mike Wilson later, as I had known both of them for years. Riccardo and Scotty joined a year or two after that, and that basically brings us to the lineup now!
Pix666: How do you work together as a band and has it become even more difficult in the current time, because you couldn’t travel for many months?
Mike: My studio is the home base of the band basically, I put all of the music together there so as long as we have the internet we can work the same as always! All music is written by myself and Chloe, so we just share ideas back and forth and I complete it all at my studio. Emilio, Riccardo, and Wilson all send their files back to me and I engineer those so it’s a straightforward process that can basically function no matter what the global situation is, so we’re lucky in that respect.
Pix666: In May you released your latest album „Premonitions“. After releasing a new record, a musician cannot wait to play the songs live. How do you feel now that you might need to wait for some time to play the new album live?
Mike: Definitely disappointed, but the time will come and it will be amazing when we finally get to play these songs live.
Emilio: It really sucks, to be honest. We had a lot planned and many that wanted to see us but unfortunately, it isn’t possible. I highly doubt we’ll be playing at all this year so our festival in France was the last chance to see us live until 2021. We are definitely itching to get back onstage and rock the fuck out!
Pix666: In March the video clip for the song ‘The Deluge’ was released. A great, atmospheric song with a video clip showing a breathtaking landscape. Where did you shoot this video and how long does it take to shoot it?
Mike: We shot it over three days in the Scottish Highlands, particularly around Lochnagar and the Cairgorms area. It was beautiful and a really special time, we all loved it and it was right off the back of our UK tour, so we couldn’t have asked for a better time and a better outcome. We’re very proud of that.
Pix666: What are the main advantages for you as a band resulting from the contract with the record label ‘Napalm Records’?
Mike: Defintely the marketing aspect, they get us in front of a lot more people than we could have otherwise. Musically, artistically, and visually they don’t affect the record or band at all; they just afford us the freedom we require and help us get it out to as many markets as possible. Markus, our product manager, is an absolute legend!
Emilio: It allows us to reach a wider audience and really get our music out there. Avantgarde Music did really well for us but this was the next logical step for where we wanted to take this band. Napalm has been amazing to us and we’ve developed a really tight relationship the label. For example, I speak a lot outside of the business side of things with our product manager, Markus. We’re huge gamers and constantly discuss gaming haha. It makes it really fun and natural to work with people when you connect on a personal level, too.
Pix666: How are the other guys from the band, how are your friends and families? How do you stay in touch with them, what kind of technics do you use?
Emilio: Everyone is pretty much with their family if possible. My family all live in Spain so I communicate with them via WhatsApp or Skype or whatever it may be. My entire family has remained safe during these times so that’s a really good thing, of course. When you can’t be around the people you love in times like this it can be worrying.
Mike: Everyone else from the band is safe and well, and all of our families are okay. I am very, very close with my family so I Skype them every week and we text each other every day. I wish I was closer to them, not just in times like these, but generally as well. I miss them a lot, and I can’t wait to return to New Zealand one day! In terms of the members of the band staying in touch, we all keep in touch fairly regularly on band chats. Emilio, Scotty, and I talk a lot outside of band and have other projects together, and the whole band generally just chats a fair bit.
Pix666: What kind of things are you doing now, for which you usually don’t have so much time? Are there specific things like video games or going for walks?
Mike: Definitely lots of music, I’ve got an album for my other project due at the end of July, so I’ve been working really hard on that. Otherwise I’ve just been playing a LOT of games, which I hadn’t had this much time for in a long time. I’ve been trying to keep up walking and fitness, but I need to work harder on that.
Emilio: Exactly those two haha! The quarantine has made me eat a bit more so I exercise to not let it turn into too much weight gain! Also, I love to game so A LOT of that is happening as well. Not much else going on, to be honest.
Pix666: What do you think will be the long-term consequences of this crisis for the economy, the music business and also the way people deal with each other?
Mike: It’s hard to see at the moment, but no doubt there’ll be a lot of economic fallout from this…and the music business is already taking a huge, huge hit with some shady deals starting to show up like this Live Nation stuff lately. I think people will return to dealing with each other normally again in the future, particularly after a vaccine is available, but right now there’s a lot of fear and that’s understandable. Hopefully we return to a world that is open like it used to be, but I don’t know if anyone can tell how it will play out just yet.
Pix666: Do you have any other news about Sojourner that you would like to share with the fans?
Mike: We’re working on some ideas to make up for the lack of shows, but Premonitions definitely took a hit because of it as a whole. I’m starting to work on initial ideas for the fourth album, which is still a couple of years away, but I want us to hit hard with that one and really bounce back from this darker time where maybe our release got lost in the static a bit. We still couldn’t be more thankfully for the amazing response from fans though, so we’ve got some cool stuff up our sleeves to get out there to people.
Emilio: We are working on booking and rebooking cancelled shows with our booking agency so be on the lookout for news in the coming months. Also, we are looking to maybe put out a cover some time in the near future to give some extra to all those that have supported Sojourner!
Pix666: Thanks for the interesting answers. Stay healthy!
live photos © by Gavin McLaughlin Photography, full band photo © by Sojourner