Mike Palframan showcases a variety of positive vibes on “Out The Door”

Mike Palframan 2
Mike Palframan

SA’s Mike Palframan might not be a big well-known name in the industry now, but his new album “Out The Door” should put his foot right in the door. Palframan has incredible writing ability and a voice that matches this talent. If you are into great local music be sure to check out his tunes. Potchefstroom Herald had a chat with Palframan about his new album and his vision for his music among other things:

Hi Mike, Wouter Pienaar here from Potchefstroom Herald. As I understand, you are quite a late bloomer in the music industry? Can you give a short background on who you are as a musician and how you got involved in music? Yup, rather a late starter on the guitar Wouter. Only picked up a guitar for the first time in June 2015, but have been singing since as long as I can remember. I come from a musical family where both my late Mom and younger sister played piano. We come from a very competitive sporting family and although we played all the sports under the sun, my brothers and I all sang in the choir at junior school too. I’ve come to realize that the guitar is my tool to unlock my music writing skills.

Congratulations on the release of your debut album “Out The Door”. How has the reception been to the album publicly and what is your personal connection to the album? 

So far it’s been very well received, but I guess many people who know me are somewhat surprised as they didn’t really see it coming. It literally all happened in 2017, from writing my 1st song in February to taking 11 of the 15  tracks I’d written at that stage to studio in July.  The song Out the Door was the very 1st  I wrote and the response I received from my guitar tutor was “Mike you don’t know what a gifting you have here!” He said to me that people who write for many years don’t come out with lyrics like that, so I was surprised and thought “I can do this”.  You’ll hear that the lyrics are all very different and no two tracks sound the same. I’m not one for listening to music that all sounds similar from track to track.

Out The Door focuses on a range of topics with positive theme and a lot of reminiscing throughout.  

I think there is enough negativity in the world, so I like to point people to hope. Most of the songs are uplifting – however in You Know the Kind, I have a little tongue in cheek dig at those people who sometimes rub us up the wrong way.  I’ve had a good friend say that she felt her very soul being uplifted after really listening to my lyrics. That inspires me to keep writing.

How do you get the inspiration for the musical styles and overall sound of the album?

I was fortunate to draw on some seasoned and experienced musicians; the likes of Joe van Linden, who I felt interpreted my music superbly in studio. The track Island Bye which I wrote in Barbados for example was crying out for the reggae beat and he nailed it! You Know the Kind and Old Man were the two tracks (in particular)  that I was particularly  thrilled at his interpretation. Stephen Hurter mixed the album so well and the session musicians on the album are pretty much world class in my opinion, especially Caleb Vaughan-Jones on cello.

The album to me, incorporates a lot of genuine emotions and feelings that listeners can relate to.

The album takes you on a journey which starts with varying personal emotions in Out the Door and the it looks back in Old Man where the man I wrote about is reflecting on opportunities missed. Then the album gets a funky reggae feel in Island Bye questioning life. Then the journey takes you on a search for hope, and speaks about what life can be. There’s definitely a song everyone can relate to in some way. There is a range of upbeat emotions and reminiscing. A lot of this comes from my deep in my soul, which I’ve pretty much had to bare without realising it.

“The Wolf” for instance harkens back to a “Cat Stevens” style?

I actually love the way I came up with the theme of that particular track…when I started writing the song, it wasn’t called the Wolf at all. I kinda’ stumbled upon on the theme and love how it turned out. It talks about the choices we have in life and how we need to carefully think about life.

Was keeping things simple lyrically and musically one of your aims for the album? 

Not intentionally, but I’m a simple guy who writes honest lyrics and I’m told that they are very deep and meaningful. I really do hope that people will connect with the words and see the positivity in them.

The first single “Those Times” made it into the semi-finals of the international song writing competition.  Yes, I was thrilled to hear the news and so humbled by the recognition, given that this was my first time of submission for this competition. There are some seriously good musicians that were in the mix.

Was it something you expected and what prompted you to enter the song?

I really wanted the folks in the international music industry to hear my songs, that’s why I entered. So hearing that I’d made it through to the semis was wonderful, especially given the caliber of the competition. I was surprised that Those Times made it. I thought one or two of the other tracks might go through…I think I should have entered Out the Door in the lyrics only section and think they missed something in You know the Kind.

Why do think “Those Times” did so well in the competition? Those Times was specifically entered in the Screenshot/Movies section under the Americana genre. It IS exactly that, a great song for the movies, with positive reminiscing vibes that everyone can relate to.  I can still see a movie closing to this track as the credits roll up.

Where do you get your inspiration for your lyrics and how would you describe the lyric writing process? I get my inspiration from so many places and I believe that no great idea or line that comes to mind should ever be wasted. The songwriting starts with an idea, then the words come together and then the chords flow from the words I write depending on the mood of the song. The words take more time to write than the chords. In my actual CD booklet, in addition to the lyrics for each song,  I have added narratives to two of the tracks, Island Bye and Old Man.

Any tips for upcoming musicians and lyricists? For those thinking about songwriting… give it a try, why not go for it.  Nothing ventured, nothing gained and if I hadn’t have tried, I wouldn’t have known. Mine only started after a challenge from an old varsity mate. Lyrics writing is a wonderful gifting to have. It’s easy to sing covers…but the world needs more originality.

What are your plans for the rest of the year? Any big shows/gigs planned? For now I continue writing songs (I’m up to 40 songs now) and I’ll keep on going whilst the ideas keep flowing. Who knows, perhaps another album soon enough? And I guess I’ll need to plan some live performances.

Mike Palframan’s album “Out The Door” is available here

 

  AUTHOR
Wouter Pienaar
Sport Journalist

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