Tag Archives: Mikey and Matty

Artist Feature: Mike Gervais

Mike Gervais is a guitarist, singer, and songwriter, and  lifelong resident of Seattle, Washington. As he witnesses a changing city climate, Mike writes image-based music that inspires feelings in the mind of the listener, preferring to position his creative output within the physical dimension of response. In the interview below, Mike describes the natural imagery behind one of his songs Aurora Borealis and some of his inspirations such as impressionism and Chuck Close. Working extensively with his brother Matt as “Mikey and Matty,” the two have begun a busy 2014 playing dozens of shows and writing new songs they look to record over the next few months.

Mike and Matt Gervais

I don’t want to change or rearrange anything. If I could be successful at songwriting at all, I’d hope that what I came up with put a picture in the listener’s mind. I’d prefer to be an impressionist or even a Chuck Close to being a Jackson Pollack. Even though I envy that type of work.

– Mike Gervais

Leading off with some basics, where are you from? And where are you at?

MG: I realized recently that I’ve experienced 21% of the entire history of Seattle as a life-long resident. Imagine the time elapsed since the Denny party first settled here- 163 years, as the price of your dinner date… My age is the tip. I suppose that I should consider this when lamenting the construction projects that seem to be replacing all of the old brick and 70’s architecture with steamy hot-yoga windows under impossibly expensive “mixed-income” apartments. I walk around mostly humming tunes and looking for plants coming up through the cement. Even though we’re so close to the mountains, it seems like it’s getting harder to feel that they’re so close. I think we could all use a good long walk up there.  

What does Reflection and Response mean to you?

MG: I think a reflection is a response. I’m mostly about the tangible, equal-opposite reaction type of response. If light waves are bouncing on a puddle in the road, I want my music to be that reflection. I’m only looking for images that convey feelings. I don’t consider myself worthy of interpreting and translating events and relationships- I don’t want to change or rearrange anything. If I could be successful at songwriting at all, I’d hope that what I came up with put a picture in the listener’s mind. I’d prefer to be an impressionist or even a Chuck Close to being a Jackson Pollack. Even though I envy that type of work.

How does your song Aurora Borealis fit in with that definition?

MG: I work exclusively with my brother, Matt Gervais. Most of our work fits somewhere into the imagery=feeling spectrum. This is the first time I’ve had an interview without him, so I chose to highlight a song I can speak to more personally, Aurora Borealis. I tried to tell this story exclusively through pictures, and I normally look to nature for the best ones. The tide goes out twice a day and these squishy, delicate animals are exposed to the seagulls and the sunshine. You could write a thousand songs about that. Or the chaos of Saturn missiles going off on a dock at dusk in summer. I love the grandiose and the hopeless.

What else have you been working on recently? What are you looking to work on next?

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