Bathed in the soulful sounds that define the alt-folk genre he excels within, Perth Hills-born singer/ songwriter Michael Day has entered into stunning new territory with the release of his latest single, Psych Or The Priest. A musician since a young age, Day crafted his enveloping musical style after years spent listening to leaders of the indie genre, including the likes of Josh Pyke, Angus & Julia Stone, and The Lumineers. A reflective person by nature, Day translated this introspective focus into his music once again when he formed his current band in 2019. Backed by musical comrades Rhyan Lyndon-James, Ben Humphreys, and Dave Rajendram, Day’s sound is as folky as it is melancholic and ambient, with the sum of all these parts being illustrated in vibrant detail on latest single, Psych Or The Priest.
The track also comes paired with a powerful, ethereal, and visually breathtaking film clip which sees Day working with Harry James Blyth (Riley Pearce) to craft a visual which contextualises the message of Psych Or The Priest, and ultimately tells a story of triumph and catharsis. Filmed around the Mundaring Hills area, the clip also has a personal connection for Day, with the locations portrayed also part of where he spent time growing up. Michael Day answers some questions about the new single for Hi Fi Way.
How has the build-up been leading up to the release of the single Psych or The Priest?
Yeah, it’s been good, people seemed to pre-save the song and seemed interested which was really lovely! I cut up the music video and just leaked little pieces which I got a good response from.
Was the process of making your single as challenging as you thought?
I always find defining my ‘sound’ a bit challenging and so sometimes it feels like a chance in the studio. But this one just fell into place in the studio. I had an idea that I wanted it to have a similar vibe to Gregory Alan Isakov, which I feel like has been achieved. Finding the right synth things to play around with and adding the trumpet were two defining elements that I think really made the song.
Sonically, how would you describe your music?
I currently describe our sound as Indie Folk/Rock with some Roots. Psych or the Priest really hits the vibes I want to be releasing so hopefully there’s more of this.
Who would you consider to be the biggest influence on your music and why?
The Biggest influence on our latest track would be Gregory Alan Isakov and Angus and Julia Stone. This year they have been the biggest influences on how I think about writing my music. My current thoughts about my own music, that is influenced by these influences, are thinking about song structure, harmonies, drive, and overall feel of the music. I just love how Angus and Julia Stone and Gregory Alan Isakov compose music. I love the instrumentation, the space given to the music, and the unique sounds created.
Best piece of advice you have been given?
Be organised. Get on top of recording music and give yourself time to release the song, like three months once you have all your assets. Don’t forget about marketing. You’re in charge of getting radio, blogs and play listing sorted. If I want something to happen, I have to make it happen.
What is the Michael Day life story?
Wow, the life story? Well…It was a rainy summer day in the month of November, when my pregnant mother. Umm, I never wanted to play guitar or music until year six, I didn’t get into the guitar program, so I asked the principal and guitar teacher if I could be the additional student in the group and eventually they said yes. I then learnt classical guitar up until first year uni. Early on, maybe at the start of high school, I discovered Green Day and started trying to write songs. ‘Wake me up when September Ends’ and ‘Boulevard of Broken Dreams’ were a staple for me. At some point, I then discovered John Butler, who really gave me a drive to write songs after watching him play with long nails. It was the coolest because I also had long nails for classical.
From year ten I started singing in front of people, and decided I wanted to make some sort of career out of performing. However, I didn’t really have direction. I wanted to be a musician but didn’t know what I had to do, and ended up in the events and weddings space, earning money as a musician but not doing what I actually wanted. I ended up completing a teaching degree which I didn’t like, and tried to get a job because I thought that was the ‘right thing’ to do.
In 2019, after landing my first full time music teaching position, I realised I had to try to do music, so I quit. I sought out people in the industry to ask for advice. After working out that I should record the music I make, I had a meeting with Kate Branson who worked at WAM at the time, who gave me the best advice I had received regarding recording, releasing music and marketing. I’ve been trying to follow that advice ever since and thus I’m trying to record more and release more music.
I guess this is a part of my life story.
Are you looking to tour more broadly?
I’d love to tour more broadly. I think I’d like to release a debut EP before I go touring over east or other countries, but yes I’m currently developing plans in my brain to get over east in the near future.
What’s next for you?
I think the biggest need for us currently is to get more music out, so we’re writing and planning a bunch of recordings. So hopefully more music soon!
Interview by Rob Lyon