EMQ’s with CORNERS OF SANCTUARY
Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Philadelphia, PA based New Wave of Traditional American Heavy Metal band Corners Of Sanctuary. Huge thanks to guitarist Mick Michaels for taking part.
What is your name, what do you play, and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?
Hello! My name is Mick Michaels, I play guitar for the band Corners of Sanctuary. We are from Philadelphia and formed in 2011. Our music is rooted in that classic, traditional Heavy Metal sound…so much so that it has been classified as the New Wave of Traditional American Heavy Metal (NWoTAHM).
How did you come up with your band name?
“Corners of sanctuary” are places each of us can go to be who we really are…without judgment or ridicule. It’s a private, personal place. It can be real or imaginary, it doesn’t matter. Music for us is a “corner of sanctuary”. It’s a place where we can express our deepest emotions and be who we really are. There is freedom and empowerment with having the ability to just be. We hope that listeners can find our music as a small corner of sanctuary for themselves.
What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?
We are from Philadelphia in the United States. Music here is much the same as it is anywhere…rich and diversified. But with so many venues closing these last few years, there are fewer opportunities for bands to perform live. Unless you’re a cover or a tribute act, an all original band doesn’t draw as much as they used to, unfortunately.
What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single, Video)
We released an EP in March titled “For COS and Country.” The EP dropped right before we started our UK tour. Two videos were produced from that EP, both filmed while we were in the UK, ‘Victoria’ and ‘Sandstorm Salvation’. We also released a free digi pack download during the pandemic titled “Quarantined Lockdown” which included several demo versions of songs as well as a new track called ‘We Won’t Back Down (Do or Die)’ written during all the commotion. A video for the single was also released. We are working on a follow up digi pack called “The Second Wave” that will include acoustic versions of several of our songs. One track, ‘Metal Machine’, has already released and there is a video available for the song as well.
Who have been your greatest influences?
For me it has been my family. They have been a constant source of inspiration. In regards to other musicians, it has been guitar players like K.K. Downing and Glenn Tipton from Judas Priest, John Sykes, Ace Frehley, Jake E Lee, Criss Oliva to name just a few. My older brother plays guitar…I definitely was heavily influenced by him as well. Among other artists who have inspired me include Paul Stanley, Rob Halford, Barry Gibb, Neil Diamond, Cozy Powell, Les Binks…the list goes on and on…
What first got you into music?
As far back as I can remember I was drawn to music. My family connected to music as well. There was always some music playing…the Beatles, Motown, Doo Wop, Pop music on the radio…My grandfather and again, older brother both played guitar, so there was definitely a level of inspiration there that gravitated me to music.
If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?
Would love to work with Judas Priest or Paul Stanley… have always been a fan of Kiss and Paul’s 78 solo album is one of my favourite records.
If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?
Any festival would be great. We played a festival in Hagan, Germany and it was amazing. Just the energy from the people is intoxicating. Music is all about sharing, so we are happy to share it wherever and whenever we can.
What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?
Most of what we have received is either in the way of food or drink from a very kind fan. We are always grateful for that sort of gesture…definitely not necessary but always real appreciative. I guess the weirdest gift is always the “gift of gab” in some rare cases. It’s always cool to meet and greet with the people who come to the shows…it’s a great way to connect and talk about music and all. But there are always those occasions where someone wants to gift us with a conversation that is totally off the wall…even borderline incoherent…those are always the tough ones because you don’t want to be rude or anything but you also don’t want to engage in something that could potentially wind up spiraling out of control…so you do your best to smile and be appreciative…much like the penguins in the movie Madagascar…”smile and wave boys, just smile and wave”.
If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?
Be true to yourself and never let the words or actions of another cause you to lose who you are…you are always better than that.
If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?
Well if it winds up being anything like what the Lazarus Pit does, I will pass. But hypothetically speaking, bringing back Dio for one last tour would be amazing. Hopefully, since I was the one who brought him back, I would get a chance to accompany him on that tour.
What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?
Being able to create and then share that creation with others is really awesome. As an artist you get to see this idea turn into many different things and then it continues to evolve over time and become something else. It’s so cool…that’s music.
Hate is a strong word. I do dislike some of the politics and shady business practices that are rampant in the music industry. But then again, that is true for any industry. I do what I can to avoid that kind of negativity.
If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
Change often happens because it’s a response to something else…in most cases change is a tough pill to swallow, hence why the music industry stayed the same for so many years. A lot has changed in just the last five to 10 years that has impacted both sides of the industry…artists and execs. Today the artist has more control, and or freedom, but it comes with a price and that price is pure independence. Independence means you are on your own lock, stock and barrel…you have the choices, you have the gain but you also have all the risk. That greater independence has also divided artists amongst themselves. There is no goodwill or lending a helping hand like there once was, simply because it’s harder to get that piece of the pie because more and more people are working towards the same thing. Digital technology has offered artists a chance to participate on a level playing field in some regards. But the flip side is that the market is now oversaturated and music has become white noise…it’s here today and gone this afternoon…staying power has been eliminated because things move much quicker now. What may be needed now is a bridge between that level of independence and a level of impact.
Name one of your all-time favourite albums?
“Stained Class” by Judas Priest, Paul Stanley’s ’78 solo album, Kiss – “Rock And Roll Over”, Queensryche – “Rage for Order”, Savatage – “Streets” and “Hall of the Mountain King”, Judas Priest – “Screaming for Vengeance”, Accept – “Restless and Wild” and “Balls to the Wall”, Ratt – “Out of the Cellar” and “Invasion of Your Privacy”… and that list goes on and on as well…there are tons more.
What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?
I always liked how Heavy Metal sounded on a brand new cassette tape. There was just something about it that had this gritty punch…especially blaring through a 80’s boom box. It also didn’t hurt how easy they were to carry around…and they could take a beating.
What’s the best gig that you have played to date?
There have been several actually. When we opened for UDO…that was amazing for us…we played the Trocadero Theater in Philly to a packed house. There was a similar feeling when we opened up for Styryper and Grim Reaper. When we played the festival in Germany there was so much energy that it was almost surreal. Last fall we played the Whisky A Go-Go in L.A….the place was jammed packed and it just blew us away. We have been very fortunate.
If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?
Maybe a painter or a bus driver at Walt Disney World.
Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?
Including myself…my wife and two children and Paul Stanley…I would definitely want to share the experience with them. Besides I am not a great conversationalist but my wife is…so I would need the help talking with Paul.
What’s next for the band?
In addition to “The Second Wave” acoustic digi pack coming out, we are finishing up our new album, “Heroes Never Die”. We are planning for a release later this year…and we are working on scheduling shows for 2021, which looks to include heading back to the UK and beyond…if we are lucky, maybe a couple of dates in December right before the Holidays…go out on a high note.
What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?
Corners of Sanctuary’s Official Website: www.cornersofsanctuary.com
…or just Google search “Corners of Sanctuary,” you’ll find us on iTunes, Spotify, Google Music and everywhere else.
Jaffa Cakes! Are they a cake or a biscuit?
Do you have some to share? It doesn’t matter what they are called ‘cause they are good!
Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?
Thanks so much for talking with me. It’s greatly appreciated.
Want to thank all the fans for their support…you guys ROCK!
Take care everyone…be safe and COSnROLL\m/\m/
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