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Interview with Michael Simic aka Mikelangelo

Michael Simic. Photo by Asha Kidd

The Songs of Simic

Brunswick Picture House  |  5pm  |  Sunday

How does having a baby affect men? For Michael Simic who had his first child with his wife at 49, there was a mixture of emotions, and an incredible flood of creativity. Most know Michael as Mikelangelo – who fronts The Deep Sea Gentlemen. But taking six months off afforded him downtime to connect with more personal songwriting. The songs were penned in a caravan out the back of the converted church where he and his small family live in Majors Creek. 

‘I have a very fluid relationship with making music’ says Michael. ‘I do best when I follow my intuition. Having a baby really worked in with that, although I didn’t expect I’d be writing more songs than ever! I would go out to the caravan in the garden and just write. I had no idea what it was going to be about. I would just open myself to the possibility and see what comes. I believe that songs are just floating around, and that by trusting in the process, they come through. The initial art of the process is letting go of all the barriers that stand in the way of you doing that!’

It’s clear that Michael has a love of nature, and a talent for articulating those quiet unspoken moments.

‘I have written so many songs! About one hundred of them. It has taken about 6 months of gigging to get through them and I slowly started road testing the different bodies of work. I have been trialing songs in different places. It felt right to work under my own name for this. While I love working as Mikelangelo, it’s with the Black Sea Gentlemen, and these songs are very different. Mikelangelo is a persona, but this is me, what I do on my own is quite different to what happens with the band.’

For his upcoming shows, Michael will be joined by Dave Evans on piano and accordion.

‘What I like about Dave is that he is able to go anywhere and play anything. We have this unspoken understanding of where we are going. For this show in Brunswick Heads at the Picture House it is nice to understand my own journey, and my transition into fatherhood, and the changes that have happened in me. It’s a wild ride, the full palette – it’s beautiful, and so dreamy at times, and surreal at others.’

It seems this softening, or creative opening, that happens with childbirth is usually a woman’s narrative – it’s quite refreshing to hear how this happens for a man. Michael believes that things are changing for men, and that these conversations are becoming more common.

‘I think, clearly, we are at an interesting time of change – it feels like men opening to more gentleness in their communication and expressing vulnerability – I think it can only be a good thing. The world of women and men has been vast, but we have been shoe-horned into roles, or into being different, and sometimes the sameness is overlooked. I was watching a show on Netflix called Babies and researchers were saying that if a man becomes a primary carer – he exhibits all the same [behaviours] as a mother, and the baby has the same bonding – we kind of undervalue ourselves as men if we think we can’t be part of it.’

Michael believes, although his work has evolved, it still has the same vulnerability it had as a teenager.

‘Sometimes it’s about going deeper, into beautiful wells, or underground places. There are beautiful analogies you can use – digging deeper with the difficulties and traumas I’ve had in my life, our choice to ignore, and confront, and make peace through music, for me, has been part a personal diary and the internal world. Once you share it with people, it becomes a generous thing. I tell stories in the show, but I never tell people what the songs mean, it’s up to them to find what they mean to them. Songs have this versatile and intriguing resilience!’

Michael Simic presents his beautifully crafted songs at the Brunswick Picture House, on Sunday, at 5pm. Tickets from brunswickpicturehouse.com

 


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