On Wednesday, June 4th, Cowboy Mike of Just North Of Texas! had a chance to catch up with recording artist Mike Archer.
COWBOY MIKE of JNOT - We're here with recording artist Mike Archer. Just curious, what are your musical influences? Is there someone in particular that shapes your music?
MIKE ARCHER - Well, I always kinda liked singer-songwriter types. One that comes to mind out of Texas, I always liked Waylon Jennings a lot. From my home state, John Mellencamp, and a guy from years ago by the name of Jim Croce. People like that.
JNOT - Sure, I can see some of their influence in your music. Shoulda Coulda Woulda is a great album. That song, in particular, I'd put against anything we hear on the radio these days. When you set out to do a project, is there a type of music that you're drawn to? Is there a mindset that you take into the recording sessiomns?
MA - Maybe; well, if there is, it's completely natural. First of all, thanks for supporting the album Shoulda Coulda Woulda. Whenever I hear those songs, obviously my mindset for what we're doing in the studio is each one of them is competely different just in the whole process, so for me to try to describe it would probaby be impossible. I wish I had a better answer for that, it's just whatever hits you or wherever you're going that particular day, or whatever that song brings out of you. It's just what's there.
JNOT - Well, there is a lot of diversity on that album. It's wonderful. I was thinking, too, that "Thunderbird Night" is a catchy beat. I just love that song. What kind of things do you draw inspiration from when you're sitting down to write a song?
MA - Oh, gosh, I don't know! There's a number of things. Like someone actually said to me, "Hey, write a song about this," or "Write a song about that," and my mind goes there, but to just kinda sit down and come up with an idea, I'm not sure I do that well, just sit down, look up in the air, and try to find ideas...But "Thunderbird Night," that particular song, we ran out of money, but we were gonna try to shoot a music video with a country line dance. It actually reminds me of my grandfather. My grandfather always used to watch those country music video channels where they were dancing around. I mean, he was hard of hearing, so he would've had it cranked, so every time I hear that song I see that, so I kinda wanted to make a video of that, as a tribute to my late grandfather.
JNOT - I see from your website that you enjoy playing some of the smaller venues because of the interaction you're able to get with your fans. I've always kinda appreciated artists who take the time to reach out to their fans. Do you get a chance to play outside Kentucky or Indiana very often?
MA - All the time. I actually am a Disney entertainer, not sure if that's out there on the website or not, but I play for Disney on their cruise line. So I play the Carribean, all over Florida, around San Diego. I've been all over the Southern U.S., the islands, Central America, certainly Mexico, so yeah, I play all over the place. But I love the small venues because that is my strong point, is interacting with the crowd that's there. The one thing you probably don't know about me is that I'm a wealth of trivial information when it comes to music. Just abnormal, crazy stupid things! So, I use that as a means to interact with the audience. Like, for example, I mentioned Waylon Jennings. A lot of people don't know that he was a bass player for Buddy Holly. The truth about the matter is I know a lot about the things I'm interested in, but if I knew as much about mathematics or algebra as I do about music trivia, I could probably solve some of the world's economic problems!
JNOT - You've spent some time on cruise ships. I see from your website that you've been into a number of different ports. Cozumel, etc. Cozumel's great! Do you have a favorite port of call, or do you get to explore much in between shows?
MA - Oh yeah. Cozumel plays my music on the radio station. I've been there so much, that I kid you not, Mike, when I walk down the streets, there's a number of people that call out, "Hey, Archer! Hey, Archer!" stuff like that. But favorite ports? I'd have to say its a three-way tie. I really do. Cozumel, obviously. St. Thomas, I don't know if you're been there but it's absolutely incredible...
JNOT - Actually, that's where my wife and I went on our honeymoon.
MA - ....and the other would be St Maartin...
JNOT - Haven't been there yet.
MA - There's this beach. If you look it up on YouTube, it's called Airport Beach. There's actually a cove there, and the airport is right across the street from the beach, and the planes just come in all day long, and land overtop your head. That's beautiful enough, but what's very fun and when a plane takes off and goes the other way, the engines kick up that sand and people start to scatter when that sand gets blown around! I'm telling you, those three ports, I go there every chance I can.
JNOT - You've had a couple of albums out now. Do you have any plans to record again soon, and if so, what can we expect from your next project?
MA - Well, we're thinking about it. We're trying to make Shoulda Coulda Woulda work a little better in the States. It's really frustrating. I say frustrating, and I wanna thank you for playing my music, and having me on. But it's weird that my music does so well in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Japan...Japan! Who would think? I just have so much trouble getting airplay here in the United States. It's so frustrating trying to break through. I really believe if I would get some major airplay..I mean, don't think I don't appreciate the independent radio stations that are playing it, but I really think we could do a lot better. That's why I'm taking some time off this summer. To perform a little bit here, on land, and try to work harder on getting my music some more airplay. I just really believe it's as good as the stuff being played. It's kinda a long-winded answer, but I really just wanna work on this and try to get this going before I worry about the next album.
JNOT - How often are you on cruises?
MA - Well, you negotiate your contract, so you go out for however many months at a time. My last contract was two months. So the house where I am right now here in Danville, Kentucky, it's been almost a year now, and I'll bet of that year, I've been here, like, two months total. So you go back, you're here for a while, then go back out. I really haven't made the certain effort to get out and play my music live as much as I would've liked. Believe me: I love the ship life and I was hoping it would've done better for me in getting my music out there. So this summer I'll be around here playing festivals, small venues, whatever the case may be, I'll come to your home and play, I dont care!
JNOT - One of the things I'm most impressed about you is your willingness to give credit to your family. It's clear that they've had a big impact on your music. Are they involved in the actual recording process when you do go in?
MA - No, not much, other than moral support, and I certainly don't want them there when I'm recording. As you know, we make mistakes, and I don't like people seeing me make mistakes, especially people I'm close to. I try to keep as few people as possible in the studio when I do record.
JNOT - You've opened for some really good acts. Your website mentions Joe Diffie, B.J. Thomas, Billy Joe Royal to name a few. All of them have had great success in the industry at one point or another. Did they impart anything to you, that you woud incorporate into your music, either for your recordings or for your live shows?
MA - Billy Joe Royal, I knewof him because my parents listened to him. I knew his song "Down In The Boondocks." He had a couple hits. He had a song I didn't know he did called "I Knew You When." I liked that song when I was a kid, I just didn't know it was Billy Joe Royal. But anyway, the point is, Billy Joe Royal was very, very generous with his time. Very, very generous with his advice. He's just a good man, gave a lot of good advice. One of which I tell a lot of young people who ask me: The only real justification of your music is if people continue to hire you. That's all you need. If somebody says "Your voice stinks," well, that's their opinion, but hey, I keep getting hired, so I must not be that bad! And that was great advice, I thought.
JNOT - Where do you see yourself down the line? Are there any artists that you say to yourself: "Gee, I'd like to work with this person, him or her?" Or do you prefer just the solo thing?
MA - I'm a huge admirer of Zac Brown, for one. I'm a huge admirer of Jimmy Buffett. And I know he's a big star. Well, so's Zac Brown, for that matter. As far as just on the grass roots level, there's a girl nearby to where I live, in Lexington, Kentucky, and her name is Laura Bell Bundy. She's fantastic. Because she's here, you get to hear a lot about her career and I'd certainly like to perform with her someday if she ever deemed me worthy of performing at that level.
JNOT - And then, finally, it looks like you've had some great experiences with the Disney company, working with their cruises and that. Is recording with them a consideration down the road? They've influenced the recording careers of a number of artists. (John Denver comes to mind, for one.)
MA - Are you kidding? Of course I'd consider it. I'd have to get them to consider taking on my story. My story starts with being an athelete growing up, not even knowing how to play guitar until 27 years old, then a few short years later, being a Disney entertainer. I think that would be a great story. If I could get their marketing department to get behind that! They could make all MY dreams come true. So, would I consider it? Of couse, I gotta get THEM to consider helping me and pushing me forward.
JNOT - Well, Mike, I appreciate you taking time out of your busy schedule to talk with us, and you are our featured artist here for the month of June on the station, so we'll playing cuts off both of these albums. We appreciate your time, thank you so much!
MA - Great! Thank you so much for the listeners out there. I certainly appreciate your time, and their time listening to me!