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An interview with Mike Gale: introducing solo album Finger Bone From Swan Wing

Mike Gale is a prolific songwriter and collaborator, with one solo album just realised and another on the way.

Written by Amelia Gregory

Mike Gale-Finger Bone From Swan Wing cover
I catch up with prolific musician, writer and seaside dweller Mike Gale, Co-pilgrim frontman and now solo artist, with one album out and another on the way.

Why did you decide to release a solo album, and what have been the challenges and distractions?
I’ve always written a lot of songs, about 3 or 4 a week, but I didn’t really record them unless it was time to do a Co-pilgrim album, so a lot of songs have been lost or forgotten about through the years. I started doing a duo called Pelotons just over a year ago with my friend Tina from Finland and needed a way to record songs to share with her which is when I bought a tascam 8 track recorder. I got to grips with it and have been recording everything I write since then. I was getting frustrated with the time it takes in between Co-pilgrim albums with all the promotion and build up etc and asked Darren from the label if I could just release a couple of low-key solo albums a year as well to keep me busy. I don’t really get distracted by anything, my days are mostly spent writing and recording.

Mike Gale
What are the inspirations behind your lyrics?
I have had it pointed out to me that I write about the ocean, birds and the weather quite a lot. I think that the influence of the ocean is the biggest for me. Wherever I’ve lived in the world, it has always been by the sea. I find the ocean endlessly mysterious and romantic.

In what way would you say your solo sound differs from that of Co-Pilgrim?
It’s probably a bit weirder than Co-pilgrim, probably due in part to my limited musicianship and production skills. It’s definitely more lo-fi sounding.

Who are your vocal idols and why?
My favourite voice of all time is that of a Brazilian singer called Elis Regina, her album with Tom Jobim is the one I always reach for to find some peace. She was incredible. I’ve never felt such an emotional connection while listening to a singer as I do with her, even though I can’t understand what she is singing.

Mike Gale-Another Planet Cover
Another Planet cover art by Friederike Ablang.

Who else made this solo album possible and will you do it again?
I’m always grateful to the help that Battle give me. I’m lucky. Yep, this is going to be a regular occurrence now, I’ve finished the new solo album ‘Another Planet‘ and it is the hands of the label now, hopefully it will be out in a month or so. After that, the new Co-pilgrim album is out in Sep/Oct followed by another solo album….repeat until people are sick of me and then repeat some more.

Where can we see you play live in the coming months?
I have a solo show at The Great Escape in Brighton next month, then Co-pilgrim at Wood Festival a couple of days later.

Finger Bone From Swan Wing by Mike Gale is out now on Battle Worldwide Recordings. Mike Gale contributed exclusive words to my 10th anniversary limited edition book That Which We Do Not Understand.


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