An Interview With Mike Palframan
Mike Palframan Releases Out The Door
Mike Palframan has always had music in his blood. He learned the play guitar by singing along to the music of his teenage heroes. He then discovered his talent and passion for songwriting after being prompted by a friend to write his own material. Since then he has been prolific in his craft.
Mike is a singer-songwriter with an eclectic folk-rock style, inspired lyrics and organic melodies. This is music that crosses generations and his lyrics tackles life’s modern-day complexities. His songs are varied with influences from Rock and Reggae to the Blues. This is a style and quality of music we haven’t heard for a long time.
Mike recently released his debut album, Out The Door. I caught up with him to talk about his new project.
You only started writing your own music not too long ago, but already wrote 35 songs last year alone! What made you decide to take the plunge into music?
Thanks, yup 2017 certainly was a whirlwind year for me. I’ve always loved music and writing, but I’ve been in the corporate world since varsity. I’d learnt to play the guitar a few years back and I tried my hand at writing a song, Out The Door, the title track of my album. It was such a satisfying experience, the feedback was so positive and the writing came so easily, that I felt I couldn’t stop. Literally before I knew it, I’d written the lyrics to 35 songs in 10 months. Friends and family encouraged me to record an album.
Wow, that’s incredible! So, where do you come from and when did you realise you had musical talent?
Well, I live in Port Elizabeth / Nelson Mandela Bay and have since varsity days, but I grew up in King William’s Town.
I come from a musical family and have always loved singing and writing and my kids are musical too. So, I guess the music had to come out of me at some time? I think I’d never really considered to take my music further until friends and family who’d heard my songs, and been impressed, particularly by the lyrics, encouraged me to record an album.
Writing so many new songs, you must have a lot of stories to tell. Who or what inspires your lyrics?
Those who know me would say I am generally NOT a man of few words, so there are always stories to tell. I get inspired by such varied sources and am a firm believer that no line or idea should be wasted, so I like to make notes. I love being with people and get energized by people I’m with, so I get my inspiration from the people I meet and the places I go and you’ll see that throughout my album; my songs deal with life, emotions and human experience. I try to build hope and inspiration into the songs I write because I think it’s a hard world out there.
Congratulations on your debut album! Just had a listen, and it’s really brilliant work. How did you decide which songs to add to the album, and is there a specific theme running through the 11 tracks?
Thanks for that! I’m glad you enjoyed it, I’ll soon be asking which was your favourite! The songs I included were my favorites amongst the first songs I’d written. My harshest critics live in my house, being my 2 teenage kids. My kids love music, so I take their feedback to heart and together we built the tracklist.
Specific theme… this is definitely a study on human nature and if you listen to the songs from start to end, the album starts by dealing with emotions in Out The Door… choices in The Wolf, then a somewhat more sad message in Old Man (about wasted opportunity), to a more-up-beat reggae feel song in Island Bye….from searching, questioning life… to celebrating and giving hope in the final track, Guiding Lights…and so much in between. There is one track, which is the second last track called You Know The Kind, which is a tongue-in-cheek song about ribbing those people that give us a hard time. We all know one or two of those people. We had such fun making it!
Was this album a long-time dream? How was it to work on your first album and who worked with you on it?
At the start of 2017 I had not so much as written a song, so there were no long-term thoughts on an album. The album really only started in 2017 which is when I started my songwriting. So, it was a busy and exciting year. It was amazing to go into the studio and work with fantastic musicians like guitarists Jo Van Der Linden, Duncan Ebedes and Stephen Hurter, drummer Lloyd Martin, cellist Caleb Vaughan-Jones and the like. I have a lot of respect for these guys. The mastering was done by Rogan Kelsey. Such a good experience working with these guys!
That’s fantastic! So, does the title “Out The Door” have a specific deeper meaning?
I guess the deeper meaning is about opening the door on my music and songwriting and getting my music out the door of my home, for others to share and enjoy. It’s titled after the very first song I wrote called Out the Door, which some may think is about a struggling personal relationship, fortunately not though. It really is a song that developed from my opening line: “Happiness lies between the sheets at night” and from there it deals with a whole range of emotions.
Your song “Those Times” also made it through to the semi-finals in the International Songwriting Competition! That’s amazing! Tell me how that happened and what the experience was like?
Wow. What a wonderful surprise. Can you believe that that song almost didn’t make it to the album? In the original line up we had another song on the album. We entered Those Times into a category of the competition called Screen Shot as we always felt that this song reminded us of a movie soundtrack. How awesome to get some recognition on my first album! I’m very humbled by this.
It is really a fantastic thing! So, when do you think you will take the road and do a country-wide tour?
That’s a question we’ve been asked a lot recently and one I can’t answer right now. For now I’m really loving the songwriting and am so busy putting more of my songs to music. That in addition to my corporate career is keeping me quite busy for now, but I guess the odd performance is not too far off.