Episode 057: Meet Mitch King- Singer-Songwriter, Traveler, and Surfer
What is your life goal? Not the ones inspired by Disney but, in all honesty, how would you want your life to be? Sometimes, the determinant for our decisions is the expectations laid to us by others, instead of us doing what we love. Most of them mean well, and out of our love and respect for them, we tend to compromise. Our society too pressures us to fit into its mold. Between a high-paying job and passion, most people, because of the long list of commitments and obligations are left with little to no control of their decisions. At times, it seems that there is only one choice, and that is to survive. But, is this all there is to life?
If you love multi-genre music, surfing, and travel, you’ll love Mitch King. Mitch goes back to his memories as a young boy going on road trips with his family with music playing in the background. Little did he know that this was the window of his future. He loved music but never saw himself walking down that road until he saw Australian singer Kim Churchill perform. With his passion awakened and his dreams starting to take shape, he started his first steps towards his goal. At 15, he started busking on the weekends and set on his path to writing and playing songs. Today, he’s living life doing what he loves because at the end of the day, only the things that matter, matter when you’re on your deathbed.
This week, Mitch walks us into the life of a musician. Mitch relates how taking little steps towards your goal eventually lead you to where you want to be in life. If you see yourself walking the path of a musician, listen to Mitch’s advice on getting into creative mode, writing lyrics, adding a variety of musical instruments into your mix, and playing as a one-man-band. He also talks about how surfing can be a nice break and therapy after a busy schedule, energy-filled concert, or just dealing with the stresses of life. And for the highlights, Mitch shares with us his philosophy in life, that can resonate with everyone trying to figure out how to best live the only life we are given. Not everyone dares to paddle out and ride a wave because of whatever reasons. But those who do, know that joy comes from facing the very thing that many people fear. If you live life the way you surf waves, you’ll be in a much better place.
Listen to the episode here:
- 00:55 When We Didn’t Know About COVID-19
- 04:00 A Surfer Born from the Inland
- 10:56 Life Goal: Sustainable & Comfortable Life
- 19:07 What Not to do When You’re in Creation Mode
- 22:10 If You Want to be a Musician…
- 26:26 Enhance Your Music with Musical Instruments
- 32:33 It’s All About Surfing the Waves
- 41:27 2 Ears
Hi Oceanriders! I hope you’re well. This episode today is a conversation with Mitch King. The story behind this episode goes back to when COVID-19 wasn’t a thing, and when we could all travel safely and freely. And we even used to be able to make plans. Rewind 11 months back, and I was having the best surf trip ever in Byron Bay. One of the things I love most about Australia is there’s definitely a culture for music. And in particular, in Byron Bay. This magical place seems to attract the musicians I absolutely love. For those who’ve never been there, every evening, you get spoiled with the most amazing live concerts speckled in on the streets. On one evening, we got attracted to inexplicable energy on-site. Mitch King was playing in his one-man-band stuff, and he had managed to attract such a dense crowd that people were pouring off the pavement onto the street. Mitch was performing his debut hit Coming Back, and the audience was on fire.
“We sometimes take life seriously. And in the end, you realize, you don’t need to stress about every sort of thing. Live a life that’s relaxed and happy. That’s a cool way of looking at what matters when you come to the end of life.” -Mitch King
From that moment on, I just did my research and found out that Mitch was a surfer too. So I made a commitment to invite him to the podcast. Fast-forward a few months, and I was talking to his manager and exchanging questions and calendars. And it’s taken over nine months for this conversation to happen. So I’m very humbled that Mitch considered coming on the podcast, especially when you hear about his story and track record. So today’s conversation was held on either side of the planet- me in my office here in France, and Mitch in his van in Broken Head, just outside Byron Bay. This conversation is about being a musician, chipping away,y, and doing what you love. And I’m sure that like me, you’ll love Mitchell’s philosophy and the person he is.
I hope you enjoy this episode.
Take care, have fun, and enjoy the waves.
Listen to Mitch:
Connect with Mitch:
- 04:08 “Surfing gives a sense of freedom. It’s a place to unwind and let off a bit of steam.” -Mitch King
- 13:47 “If it’s a good thing that happens, cool. And if nothing happens, cool.” -Mitch King
- 18:17 “Recording is like a trust relationship;: you need to feel really comfortable with the producer.” -Mitch King
- 20:12 “When you’re in the creation mode, don’t take things too seriously.” -Mitch King
- 22:17 “The trickiest thing is the lyrics. When you want to have that passion to finish the song, it genuinely is sort of based on you caring about the subject of the song. So if you’re passionate about what you’re singing about, then you finish it more quickly.” -Mitch King
- 23:24 “If you want to be a musician who can keep writing, train yourself to be a writer where you don’t have to worry about the old stuff.” -Mitch King
- 33:28 “We sometimes take life seriously. And in the end, you realize, you don’t need to stress about every sort of thing. Live a life that’s relaxed and happy. That’s a cool way of looking at what matters when you come to the end of life.” -Mitch King
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This is The Oceanriders Podcast, conversations with creatives, entrepreneurs, thinkers and dreamers who also happen to be surfers. My name is Imi, I am host.
Hi, oceanriders. I hope you’re well. This episode today is a conversation with Mitch King. The story behind this episode goes back to when COVID-19 wasn’t a thing, and when we could all travel safely and freely. We even rewind 11 months back, best surf trip ever in Byron Bay. One of the things I love most about Australia is there’s definitely a culture for music. In particular, in Byron Bay. This magical place seems to attract musicians I absolutely love. For those who’ve never been there ever, you get spoiled with most amazing live concerts speckled in the streets. And one evening, we got attracted to inexplicable energy on the sidewalk, which King was playing in his one man band. He managed to attract such a dense crowd that people were pouring off pavement on the street. Mitch was performing his debut hit, Coming Back, and the audience was on fire. From that moment on, I just did my research and found out that Mitch was a surfer too. So I made a commitment to invite him on the podcast. Fast forward for a few months, I was talking to his manager and exchanging questions and calendars. It’s taken over nine months for this conversation to happen so I’m very humbled that Mitch considered coming on foot from us, especially when you hear about a story of track record. So today’s conversation was held on either sides of the planet be aware of this, here in France, and Mitch is just outside. This conversation is about being musicians chipping away and doing what you love. I’m sure that light means the love, riches, philosophy and the person he is. So without further ado, please welcome, Mitch King.
Imi Barneaud: Hello, Mitch, and welcome to The Oceanriders Podcast. How are you today?
Mitch King: Pretty good. Thank you.
Imi Barneaud: It’s a pleasure to have you on the show. I must explain maybe a sort of a bit of a backstory about that. This is our second take on the interview. Yesterday, I made the sort of biggest mistake a podcaster can do, and I forgot to check that I had the record button pressed. So we interviewed, we did about 14 minutes of conversation without any recording so you’ve very patiently and very kindly set up a new schedule. Thank you for you being here and for being on the show. I guess before we start, you could introduce yourself to the listeners and tell us how you see yourself as an ocean rider.
Mitch King: Yeah, yeah, no worries. My name is Mitch King, and I’ve been sort of surfing probably since I’ve been 17. And surfing, for me, it’s just like a sense of freedom. It’s a place to unwind when I’m sort of in my world of music and stuff like that. So it’s a very nice place just to sort of let off a bit of steam.
Imi Barneaud: But that stick. Perhaps you could share with listeners your story, your journey, starting maybe with where you grew up.
Mitch King: Yeah. I grew up on a temporary mountain which is in the Gold Coast inland. I went to school up there. And then in year 10 and 12, my parents, they took my brother and I out of school and we were homeschooled and traveled half around Australia in a caravan and tents, and that was pretty cool. And then we went to Tasmania, and that was like really where I kind of got into the guitar. And I had time to play because I was doing the bare minimum sort of subjects kind of homeschooled and all this. And then after school, I sort of kind of lived around the mountains for a little bit. And when I was about 20, 21, I got myself a van and continued traveling around Australia. But this time, by myself playing shows, and tours and stuff like that. So I think that, yes, a little bit of an overview.
Imi Barneaud: Lovely. Of your personal story. I wondered if you had the most influence on your music when you grew up?
Mitch King: This definitely quite a few people like, I think the first moment was definitely, I’ve said that twice, when I’m traveling in the backseat of my parents car, we had this CD called the Continuum by John Mayer, and we’d listen to that. It was just such a fresh, just a really nice driving CD. So that really got me into John Mayer. And then after that, because John Mayer is such a wicked blues guitar player, that got me into other players like Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, and then I just went further down that rabbit hole. So what really got me into music was the guitar. I really love blues music. And then sort of what happened, I was going to a couple of festivals when I was young. I went to a festival called Woodford Folk Festival. There was this artist called Kim Churchill and he’s like a folky bluesy sort of artist, and kind of had the sound of this harmonica just echoing through, probably about maybe 1000 people. His energy as a performer had this really positive sort of, but really kind of grungy, bluesy folk kind of sound. And then the bait would drop, and that was his kick drum. It was the kind of kick drum that would hit you in the chest, and the bass was so big. I think, just feeling the energy from that performance, I just knew that I couldn’t help it, but I was so into it. So I kind of had to do it. But I didn’t know straight away, I’m gonna do that. It took a couple of years of me going, Oh, pick up a harmonica. I’ll do the kick drum. So my one man band sort of act is a little bit inspired from Kim Churchill.
Imi Barneaud: Well, that’s extraordinary. So what was the first thing you bought with your own money?
Mitch King: Oh, that’s a very hard question to answer, I can’t even remember that. I think the first big purchase I ever did was a purchase of just a guitar, and that was about 12, 1300 bucks here in Australia. And then not long after, because that was an acoustic guitar, not long after, I said to my mom: “I want to buy this electric guitar.” And that’s 12, $1300. Another 12 or $1300, and I’m back 15 at this stage. So I kind of got into this little trend of buying these expensive guitars. At first, it was sort of like, you don’t want to spend all your money on guitars. But it’s funny. Now, if I ever want to buy a guitar, I was like, no, just get it. Get what you need, get whatever you need. It’s really changed.
Imi Barneaud: That’s fantastic. So how long have you been performing now full time? Or maybe also ask a question before that is, how did you stop performing in front of the public?
Mitch King: Yeah, so it started not too long. After I was playing the guitar, I was learning to play a few songs. And then I had a friend up the road, and he also played guitar. He was playing some songs and singing, and stuff like this. So we would jam together. One day, we decided we’re gonna go to the busy tourist town at Tamborine mountain, and we’re gonna go Boston together for fun. It was for fun. And then we would sort of get tips, donations and stuff like that. We were pretty shocked as to how much money we were making just sort of young 14, 15 years old. So we thought, well, we probably don’t need to get jobs. And then what happened is, as we were basking more, we kind of got better performance because we were in front of people. When you play in front of people, you have to be good to a certain standard. I mean, there’s a sense of pressure. And then I think what happened one day, I was getting a better singer just by trying to do some harmonies, and then we decided we’re gonna split up and go to the other side of the street, and then we made similar amount of money. Then that was the point where we go, Okay, I think we’re gonna have to go solo because we’re making a bit of money and stuff like this. I think going solo as a young person, I kind of just got used to it really quickly because we threw ourselves in the deep end together. By the time we separated in order to represent yourself, it hadn’t stopped. If you shift, it was initially. But we want to, and then that progressed to someone saying: “Oh, do you want to do a show at the brewery up the road at tambourine?” And then after that, that progressed to a lot of markets. I would sort of had these $5 CDs that I’d sell for five bucks each, and I’d sometimes sell over 100 at a market. So that was the opportunity to get out there as an artist.
Imi Barneaud: Yeah. Well, that’s so interesting. I must tell the listeners that when you perform this, you’re like a magnet. It’s amazing. We hear you singing in the beats of your drum, and we just hypnotized to listen to your music. It’s just incredible to see you perform in real life. I had the privilege to see you at Christmas time in Byron Bay, it was just amazing, it was incredible. So how long did it take you to go from, as you say, busking in front of grannies in temporary mountains, having a professional and living a fit full time?
Mitch King: Yeah. So it’s a little bit of a, what else, 14, 15, we were building up a bit of a thing going on where we probably earn 80 bucks for a few hours every day. And then as I went home schooled, I travelled around Australia and stopped asking for a couple of years. My parents were a little bit like, Oh, well, that’s a bit of a bummer. He was earning all this money, and this, and that. I could have passed on the road as a young little kid, but it just wasn’t really appropriate because we weren’t anywhere long enough. But what happened is, it was actually the opportunity for me to have so much extra free time being homeschooled. I would just learn as much as I could just not trying to do it, but only doing it was for fun. I was writing some songs that were kind of like subconsciously, channeled from somewhere, and it was gibberish. That didn’t make sense, it just kind of put these random words with these random music. And that was kind of like how my songs sort of started. As soon as I was learning songs, I was pretty much just making up songs as well. Yeah, well, it’s always progressing. The 25 million Pandora things are recent things, so it’s all just chipping away slowly. It’s been patient, I’m kind of in it for the long run just chipping away, doing what I love. I think my first goal was, I want to just make a comfortable living from my music. I was sort of doing that by the time I was about 19, 20. And then after that, I’m just still making comfortable living and doing music. So just to sustainably do it has been the goal. So yeah, maybe five years.
Imi Barneaud: That’s pretty quick, though. I was just wondering, what did it feel like to win the Tamworth Country Music Festival? The busking competition, what did you feel that day?
Mitch King: At the time? What did I feel? I was a little bit shocked. I was surprised and I was happy. It took kind of a few days to sink in because after that busking championship thing, I played on the closing concert in Tamworth, which is playing to another 5000 people. So it was a sense of luck on making it and making it as a musician, you know, and I had some really good wins for a few months. And then if there’s any musicians listening, now understand that you can go really, you feel like you’re on the top of the world with your achievements, or your music doing well. And then a few months later, you kind of go back down to like small gigs. As a musician, it’s very up and down like a roller coaster. I was stoked, I was so stoked. But I think at this day and age, I’m a little bit more cruzy about it, if it’s a good thing that happens? Cool. If nothing happens? Cool. Not trying to like to wear my heart on my sleeve all the time if I have great achievements or not, but it was a great feeling anyway, to answer that question.
Imi Barneaud: Lovely. So from that, what was the journey? Did you start doing gigs for celebrities, artists, other bands and music musicians?
Mitch King: Yeah. I’ve done quite a few support shows. In the last two years, I’ve supported a girl called Tones and I, and she’s funny. Have you heard of her?
Imi Barneaud: I think yes. That rings a bell actually. Yeah.
Mitch King: Yeah, She was a girl from Byron who was kind of pretty much, you could say a nobody to a superstar over a period of a year
Imi Barneaud: Dance monkey. Is that —
Mitch King: Exactly. Yeah, yeah. I know her so I supported her barn when she sort of blew up. And that wasn’t actually a huge concert, but it looks good on a resume that I’ve supported Tones and I. Then I’ve also done the support for this guy called Roger Hodgson, who’s the lead guy from Supertramp. He did a tour in Australia so I supported him for three or four shows. And then more recently, it would have been about 10, 11 months ago, supported the band America who did the songs Horse With No Name and stuff like that. I did those shows which were really cool. And one night, I was a little bit, I don’t know, sort of potting or whatever, doing my own little thing. And then at the very last minute, I’ve asked the band: “Do you guys know where my match is?” I’ve asked the band: “Do you know where my merchandise is?” And they’ve said, one of the guys knew where it was. And then they said: “Hey, Mitch, we didn’t know you’re sticking around to the end of the show.” And I said: “Of course, that’s what I’m here for. I love your music.” And they said: “Well, would you like to play on the encore for us for the rest of the tour?’’ The encore was the song Horse With No Name. So I was playing slide guitar with those guys.
Imi Barneaud: Oh, my god.
Mitch King: Yeah. He said: “It’s two chords. C minor and D.” That’s what he said. So that was pretty cool.
Imi Barneaud: Yeah, absolutely.
Mitch King: So it’s been all cafe gigs, a little markets to playing Horse With No Name with America. It’s everything you do as a musician.
Imi Barneaud: That’s incredible. And it’s amazing that you actually get to keep a clear head in all that emotion and excitement, to be able to sit down and write your songs and continue, as you say, chipping. Chipping at the, I don’t know what the expression is in English, chipping away.
Mitch King: Chipping away.
Imi Barneaud: Yeah, it’s fantastic. So maybe moving on, how do you actually produce your music?
Mitch King: Yeah. So in the first kind of CD’s I did, I went with just a company, or just a bunch of people who record, and mix, and master it all. So that was the first process. And then I think it turned out quite good. Then the second that I did called Southerly Change, I recorded that with a fellow in Byron Bay. We did that, and that was a pretty cool experience. After that, I’ve recorded a few songs with one of my really good mates. He sort of like recorded it. He was actually, I asked him: “Can you do the demo?” And that was the song called, Burning. And the demo sounded so good that we said: “Well, there’s no point in taking this to anyone else.” Like, can we just finish the demo with you? And then that led into a relationship where he did the next song. He did this song called, Believe, and they both turned out pretty cool. And then after that, I went with a fellow in Australia called Marco Pitts to record a bunch of songs. And he’s recorded in excess, a lot of in excess in AC/DC. I just did one song with him. And then after that, I went with another fellow in Byron Bay, and long story short, I’ve gone back to my good man. I don’t know, I think recording is like a relationship. It’s almost like a male/female trust relationship that you got to feel really comfortable with the producer. But in terms of getting demos and songs, I record a lot of the stuff myself as well. But in terms of getting it professionally done, I kind of jot down all my ideas on my software, and then take it to the producer and go, yeah, this is approximately what I’m sort of looking for.
Imi Barneaud: That’s really interesting. Yeah. So during the COVID 19 lockdown, did you sort of go retreat to the country and write a bunch of songs? How did you manage that period?
Mitch King: Yes, I retreat. I did retreat to the country. There’s a place called Stanthorpe here in Queensland, and since the whole COVID, I wouldn’t say nothing has really even changed that much because it’s a very quiet little town in the middle of nowhere. You would not even know that there’s really a pandemic going on. There is a bit of slack, there’s social distancing and this sort of stuff. But otherwise, it’s pretty normal up at Stanthorpe. So I was in a shed for the whole year until just recently. And in that shed, I had my studio set up and I got producer, his name’s Blake Malone, and he came to the shed. We spent two weeks and we’d have fires, and we enjoyed the days a little bit and then we’d sort of, we had this weed shift where we’d kind of start working around 3:00 PM and then finish working around 5:00 AM in the morning, or 4:30. So we’re up, and we’ll be drinking red wine and stuff like this because we’re in the creation mode. And it’s a really weird thing when you’re in the creation mode for a couple of weeks, strike, I don’t know, bitter wine, loosen up sort of, just don’t take things too seriously. You just sort of be airy. And you kind of like, oh, here’s a riff here. So we just had two weeks of just exploring ideas. That was really good. We recorded a whole EP in the country.
Imi Barneaud: That’s lovely. And when’s the EP coming out?
Mitch King: Well, it’s gonna be sort of drip fed. Because that’s what music business is like, in a way. This day and age, you released a single on Spotify. And then two months later, you release another single on Spotify. And you just keep teasing everyone, and then you hope that maybe some playlists or something’s gonna bite, and then that’ll really give you some more. So we’re gonna run with three singles, and then drop the EP sometime next year, but the first thing will be coming out in January next year.
Imi Barneaud: What about two years? Because that’s your latest release. When was that written?
Mitch King: That one was written about four, maybe three years ago, approximately. It went to a couple of different versions. I think three different versions till I found this version, and I often do that. I’ll write some lyrics, I write some chords and then I’ll be like, that’s cool. But it’s not that cool. Even now that I’ve released two E’s, I’ve had that much, I’m bored of it. I don’t even think it’s a great song anymore because I’ve written so long ago that the inspiration is gone, which is a really weird one. I think a lot of musicians can relate to that. They’ve heard the song so much, I just don’t really need to hear it again, ever.
Imi Barneaud: So what actually serves you, how does this inspirational songwriting process work in your case?
Mitch King: Yeah. I think the guitar, the music that comes easiest. I’ll have thousands of, thousands of musical ideas. But the trickiest thing is the lyrics. Because I think, when you want to have that sort of passion to kind of finish the song, it is genuinely based on you caring about the subject of the song. So if you’re passionate about what you’re singing about, then you finish it more, that’s my experience. But then on the other hand, you do write songs where you kind of write in 20 minutes, and it just sort of all came out of nowhere, and then you’ve kind of got most of the song. And then there’s other songs that take three years to write. It’s all a bit weird, but I think it’s worth just recording it all. And having like a database of heaps of recordings. On one of my phones that, unfortunately, died and lost all the data, which is a bit of a shame, but it’s okay. There would have been about 600 recordings on it. And there would have been tons of notes, but I don’t know, the phone just died. And yeah, so that’s all right though.
Imi Barneaud: So philosophical about it. That’s amazing.
Mitch King: Well, my sort of thought was, if you want to be a musician who can keep writing, I think you can. Try and train yourself to be a writer where you don’t have to really worry about the old stuff, you can kind of keep bringing in new stuff. That’s my way of looking at it.
Imi Barneaud: Yeah. It’s a bit like the journaling but for writing songs, and then an idea might come out or whatever.
Mitch King: Yeah, exactly. It also can be a little bit sort of daunting when you’ve got so much recordings, so much information. You’re like, I don’t know what to do now. There’s so much. I’ve kind of, and even on my new phone now, there’s like a ton of recordings that I don’t even listen to.
Imi Barneaud: Maybe we could sort of dwell upon the amazing sort of milestone that you reached a few weeks ago, which was hitting 25 million downloads on Pandora. Yesterday, when we had this discussion, you were very modest about it. I couldn’t believe it actually. But what did you actually feel when you hit that 25 million mark?
Mitch King: I don’t think I felt a whole lot because I already knew that. In the past, there may have been 20,000, 21, 22. So I was a little bit normalized by the fact that the streams were at that level, so I don’t know. You just kind of, instantly, the first time I found out about my Pandora streams, I think there might have been 15, 16 million plays, the first time I knew about it all. Because here in Australia, Pandora is not a huge thing. We’re kind of like not up to date with Pandora stream, so I didn’t really know. And the first time I sort of didn’t even really believe it, I was like, Oh, okay. And then it just sort of sunk in a bit more. So that’s kind of how my brain works sometimes, the information takes a bit of time to sink in. And then I was like, ah, that’s awesome. And yeah, the streams are really good because that kind of helps fund my music as well. It gives me a lot of freedom where I do not have to get a job. I can just continue to write music because people are listening to it. So I’m really, really happy, blessed and grateful that that is occurring. So yeah, when the 25 million thing happened, I suppose that it was just like, I should probably share the information for some reason, let people know.
Imi Barneaud: It’s lovely. It’s lovely. So what’s your favorite instrument to play at the moment?
Mitch King: Well, it’s always been the guitar. It’s just kind of like my musical voice. And then the other bits are sort of like come after in a way, most of the time.
Imi Barneaud: Yeah. Because you were saying that you started to learn the saxophone, like you’re picking up instruments as you go. Are there any other instruments that you would want to learn, or you want to learn to play to add to music?
Mitch King: Yeah. Well, in regards to the saxophone, I’m not a saxophone player really. I’m just someone who could probably record a few notes and play a few notes here and there, in my recordings more for atmosphere. So it’s kind of cool to have a few instruments where you can play to use it as an effect in your recordings. But in terms of instruments that I’ve liked professionally, it’s the guitar and harmonica. I play didgeridoo quite decently as well. And then I’ve got the one man band with the kick drum, the tambourine, all the pedals that I do in the one man band thing. Sometimes I can play a couple of piano chords, but I wouldn’t really say that much of a player in any other department besides the guitar harmonica, didgeridoo.
Imi Barneaud: Right, right.
Mitch King: Yeah.
Imi Barneaud: I was wondering, when I saw you perform, I was quite surprised because you were barefoot. And then in your videos, you’re barefoot. In your concerts, you’re barefoot. I was just wondering if that was a sort of stay grounded? Or is there a technical reason for being barefoot in performing?
Mitch King: Yeah. Well, a lot of people have said that in their thinking that, like an earthy sort of hippie kind of person. I probably am anyway. But for me, even when I supported America or played on the big shows, I always went barefoot. That is because all the pedals have these different knobs on which is like add a bit more reverb, add a bit of delay to your sound. So kind of manually controlling everything that I play with my toes. Any guitar too has a pedal board, would totally understand that having your toes is like an asset. So yeah, having the shoes, I just couldn’t do as much with the sonic sound.
Imi Barneaud: Yeah, yeah.
Mitch King: So yeah, that’s what it’s all about.
Imi Barneaud: Okay, okay. Well, that’s really good info actually. Do you find yourself in a trance or in a different state when you perform? Do you go into a sort of high concentration mode? Or do you feel something in particular when you’re performing?
Mitch King: Definitely. Especially when you’re in the zone, that’s the key. When you’re in the zone, you’re kind of very concentrated. But at the same time, it’s effortless. And then there’s also, I think that you’re putting everything on the line. You’re all in, and you’re performing with that kind of intention, I suppose that you’re all in. You’re just delivering everything you’ve got. And when it comes to speaking in public, you’re just trying to be as much as yourself as possible, and just trying to be in the moment as much as possible as well is really good. I always kind of drink a little bit of coffee before I go on stage just to perk me up a little bit, because I can be pretty chilled a lot of the time so it kind of gives me a little bit of an edge. But if you have too much coffee, then you actually like to play everything [inaudible] faster. So it’s a really fine line or thing, just a little bit of a coffee. And if you’re a little bit super nervous, maybe you can have a small little sip of a little bit of red wine or something small. I only would have just a tiny bit of anything because, I don’t know, when you’re doing a one man band sort of thing in your kick drum tambourine, you’re using all your limbs, and your toes, and your mouth, and you kind of need to be on the ball. And if the show gets derailed or something bad happens, there’s no one to lean back on, so you’ll stick out. You’ll make a big mistake and you won’t be able to hide behind anyone.
Imi Barneaud: Actually, you also have this kind of conversation with the audience that’s really, really interesting. Does that sort of come up naturally? Or is that something that you’ve had to sort of cultivate?
Mitch King: It’s something that you get more comfortable with, and even still like, all play shows and go, I probably didn’t talk the best tonight. And then I’ll be honest, on fire for a few shows and I was, I think the more shows you do, the more of a groove you get in. You just get used to talking to people, you get used to being around people, and you’re not so worried about being the center of attention. Because I think that at the end of the day, as a musician, we’ll say it is he kind of got to be the highest of the party. And yeah, it does take practice, but it’s pretty fun. It’s pretty fun.
Imi Barneaud: Interesting. I was just wondering, that step zone that you’re in when you’re performing, does that feeling resemble when you’re surfing at all? Could you compare them?
Mitch King: It’s actually very different I think. Actually, this is a cool one. Because when you’re performing, I think what happens is, let’s say 100 people’s watching, you’re getting all this energy, but it’s not really your energy. So after a show, you leave the show feeling like you’ve had four coffees. And it’s really hard because you’re actually pinging with all this energy. But I think it’s not your energy, this is a in depth way of looking at it. And I think something like surfing is a way to brand yourself. It’s a way to wash off all of that stuff and chill out. It’s a way of winding and kind of returning back to your normal state, which I think is a very important thing to do as a musician, especially when you’re touring show, after show, after show, running on that sort of high, I suppose, which is after the performance, pinging on everyone’s energy. So surfing is a really kind of good hand in hand tool. Even putting your feet on the grass, or spending a bit of time in the sun where possible, just to sort of ground yourself as well. So that’s what that thing is for me.
Imi Barneaud: Right, right. Yeah. How long have you been a surfer? When did you pick it up?
Mitch King: So I’m from Mt. tambourine, which is 45 minutes from Snapper Rocks, which is the second busiest break in the world. So I generally don’t surf there, but there’s a lot of kinds of spots within about an hour and a half. And as soon as I got my license, I started kind of bodybuilding. I think maybe bodybuilding from 17 to 18. And then after that, I’ve got a surfboard, and I’ve been surfing probably nearly nine years now. So yeah, I’m 27. I’ve been surfing ever since. But I always knew as a young kid that I wish I could surf. I wanted to surf all the time, but I could never get to surf. That was the problem. Soon as I got lost, I was straight to the surf.
Imi Barneaud: Who inspired you? Did you go surfing with a buddy? Or was this a solo process?
Mitch King: Well, I’ve always been pretty happy just to go surf by myself. But there were definitely quite a few buddies that would have as well, we’ll go down together and would tag one car and go surf. Even today, I surfed with a lot of buddies. But really, at the end of the day, I’m there to surf the waves. So it’s one of those things you can just totally do by yourself. YBut sometimes, it’s nice to bring a bunch of buddies because, like here in Australia, there’s a lot of breaks that there can be no one on as well. You’ve always got that shocky feeling like, oh, shit. It’s a shock, see?
Imi Barneaud: And if you had a magic one, is there anywhere else than Byron Bay that you’d like to be right now?
Mitch King: Well, in terms of surf, I’m actually pretty happy here in Australia. There’s a lot of good surf. There’s a lot of space and stuff like that. I think it’s pretty, it’s not a bad place to be with COVID either. Unfortunately, I can’t head South because there’s a bubble where I live now, we can’t really cross borders too much. And there’s a spot [inaudible], and that’s one of my favorite surfs. That’s actually my favorite surf spot ever, really. But unfortunately, it’s just out of the border, lacking where I can travel about, maybe it’s 100 kilometers too far away. So yeah, when the boat is over, I’ll be definitely going to [inaudible].
Imi Barneaud: Fantastic. So just a reminder because listeners haven’t slipped, that is the view that I have, but we’re actually having this conversation from your van. I wonder what you could tell us about your van life? What’s it like?
Mitch King: Well, I’ve been in the van, again, for about eight days. It’s kind of cool, but I think someone who’s done it a lot of their life, I’m kind of getting a bit ready for a house again. But there’s definitely a lot of process as well. You can really just pull up where you can go surf all the good beaches. I surfed this morning, it was about four foot and it was just really nice. And yeah, there’s a lot of good stuff around, you can just drive to, and it’s pretty good country to live in a van. And it’s freedom. I would definitely say, overall, it’s pretty wicked to be honest, actually.
Imi Barneaud: Could you describe your van to the listeners? What kind of equipment you’ve got inside and things like that?
Mitch King: Yeah. So it’s a full chancer. It’s one that you can stand up on the inside. There’s all this ply that sort of has been stained, and it looks really cool. And then I’ve got this marine carpet, which is a really dark blue, nice kind of carpet. And there’s a fan on the top, you can walk around, and I’ve got a fridge. I’ve got batteries and an inverter, which kind of converts your 12 volt car battery power to 240 volt. Well, we run on 240 volt here in Australia, but just normal household power. And yeah, it’s a pretty chilled out little setup.
Imi Barneaud: Did you give your van a name?
Mitch King: I did. So the name is Bert Senior.
Imi Barneaud: What’s the story behind that?
Mitch King: Well, the reason why it’s Bert Senior is because I had another van which was like another little camper, and that one was called Bert. And then when I saw this van and I thought, I had no other name. I just said it looks like Bert as well, and I just don’t have another name that’s better, that’s why I just said Bert Senior because it’s a bigger van.
Imi Barneaud: That’s brilliant. What kind of songs have been inspired by your bohemian lifestyle?
Mitch King: Probably most of everything I’ve written. Yeah, pretty much the bulk of everything I’ve read has been sort of written in this kind of lifestyle.
Imi Barneaud: Yeah. It definitely transpires into your music as well, you can feel that when you listen to your music. I guess we’re sort of getting to the end of this lovely conversation. Mitch, it’s been a real pleasure and an honor to talk to you. I just wondered if there are any mantras that you live by?
Mitch King: When you say mantra, what do you mean?
Imi Barneaud: I don’t know, maybe some sayings or philosophy in life, or something that, for me for example, it’s you know what you know, you know what you don’t know, but you don’t know what you don’t know, that’s something that I live by. Have any sayings or whatever?
Mitch King: I don’t have any sayings that I genuinely live by. But I definitely have like a lot of ideas in terms of maybe living life. I sort of think that when you come to your deathbed, you know what’s important. And I think we can all definitely take sometimes life pretty seriously. And I think maybe at the end, you just sort of realized, why did I take it all so seriously. So I think when you’re sweating the small stuff, you don’t need to stress about every sort of thing. So I think that’s a concept to try and just sort of live a life that’s relaxed and happy. I think that’s a really cool way of looking at what matters when you come to the end of life. So for me, it’s definitely family. It’s contributing to society. I try to contribute with my music as well, I try to contribute in a way that adds value to people’s lives. And then otherwise, where I’m at is, I just sort of want to have a little house, a nice garden, living independently and just enjoy life.
Imi Barneaud: Lovely.
Mitch King: So that is appropriate what I live by.
Imi Barneaud: That’s fantastic.
Mitch King: All working towards, working towards.
Imi Barneaud: Yeah, absolutely beautiful. So before we leave, I was just wondering what your plans are for the next few months. You’re talking about your EP that’s coming out in January, are there any other things on the calendar there?
Mitch King: Since the COVID, there’s a lot less on the calendar. So I’ll be releasing some music in January, and there’ll be a couple of singles. Then we’re kind of going to plan to do some touring, maybe April onwards. In Australia at the moment, it’s very up and down. One week, it’s looking all good. And then another week, it’s not not looking so good. So it’s a bit up and down at the moment. And that’s a little bit hard to make any plans until the world returns a little bit more normal as a musician. I’m just trying to enjoy my time, keep healthy and all that kind of stuff.
Imi Barneaud: Are you still performing in Byron Bay? Is the time spent lucratively? Or are you just chilling out in Byron Bay right now?
Mitch King: Pretty much chilling out. There’s been a lot of purposelessness going on. The surf hasn’t been pumping here every day so that’s kind of, yeah, it’s not the best season for surfing at the moment. And yeah, I think I’m just trying to just work out what I’m gonna do. I’m writing more music, I want to do some more. I actually want to start doing some meditation music as well.
Imi Barneaud: Wow, lovely.
Mitch King: Just kind of have a little few projects within the music and workout, all the things I can do at home and stuff like that. I’ve been happy with it all, but it’s just a little bit of a shift that’s all.
Imi Barneaud: Yeah, yeah, that’s absolutely. So how do we get hold of you, and how can we listen to your music?
Mitch King: Yeah. So if you type Mitch King on Google, or Spotify, or Pandora, or Instagram, or Facebook, anything really, you should find me.
Imi Barneaud: Okay. And before we park, I’m going to put on your latest single, which could you tell us a bit about the story? About how you wrote this.
Mitch King: Yeah, so that was a song written about three years ago. There was this moment in time when I was a passenger in my friend’s car, and I was kind of riding the wave of, like, everything’s happening with my music. I was kind of buzzing off my achievements at the time, and just talking about music all the time. I suppose the conversation was about my musical time, and I think she felt a little bit unempowered and just kind of hearing about my stuff all the time. She said that to me, and I felt like gaga. I can relate to what you’re saying, ao the song is about listening. It’s kind of a song of acknowledging what she said to me. The chorus is like, it’s a common saying that you’ve got two ears, and you’ve got one mouth. So listen twice as much as you talk. One would think it’s quite a bit, a little bit about that concept and stuff.
Imi Barneaud: Lovely, lovely. Well, we’ll be putting this on at the end. Thank you ever so much for sharing it with us on The Oceanriders Podcast. I guess we’re parking the bus now. I just wanted to know how you feel?
Mitch King: Did you say parking the bus?
Imi Barneaud: Yes. Is that to say?
Mitch King: Yeah, what does that mean? The bus?
Imi Barneaud: Parking the bus for me would mean, we’re getting to the end of the conversation, I guess. And yeah, before we parted, I just wanted to know how you feel.
Mitch King: I feel pretty good. It’s raining here, and I don’t know if you can hear this lightning. This lightning rod here now so you can hear the thunder, and yeah, I’m feeling pretty good.
Imi Barneaud: Yeah, that’s good. That’s good. Well, thank you ever so much, Mitch, for being my guest today. It’s been a real pleasure to have you on The Oceanriders Podcast. I just really wish you all the success that you deserve, and hope to hear about you in the near future.
Mitch King: Thank you. Thanks very much for having me. I appreciate that, and I enjoyed talking with you.
Imi Barneaud: So let’s listen to your latest release, Two Ears.
Mitch King: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lD99nGsW9us
Imi Barneaud: That was a lovely conversation man, I really hope you enjoyed it. I certainly did, and I’d like to thank Mitch and his manager for letting use his latest track to this, on the podcast. You can find matches music all over the music platforms, and his videos are available on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and you can also look at some photos and videos on my website, theoceanriderspodcast.com and on medium.com.
The Oceanriders Podcast is a nonprofit operation. I actually produce these episodes in my spare time and on my own funds, and I’d be so stoked if you can help me grow. Number one, review and subscribe to my podcast on Apple podcasts and on Spotify. Number two, don’t hesitate, share this podcast with the friends and family, and use social media to spread the word. And connect with me on Instagram at The Oceanriders Podcast. On Facebook at The Oceanriders Podcast. And on Twitter at Imi Podcast. You can even come and join me for a chat when you like. Write to me at email@example.com. And last but not the least, you can help me by getting some Oceanriders merch. In fact, I have a great time in my spare time creating t-shirts, sweatshirts and other cool goodies that you can find on my merch shop which is called theoceanridersshop.com. Go ahead and check it out. You could even use the discount code BETHECHANGE20. that’s BETHECHANGE20 all in one word, and you’ll get a 20% discount at the checkout. In fact, all these actions will help me pay for my awesome editor, Leng Inque, and for my hosting fees. That said, all that housekeeping out of the way, I would like to thank you for listening to my podcast, and Mitch, for being an awesome guest today. That said, everybody take care, have fun and enjoy the waves. Till next episode, take care. Have fun and enjoy waves. Ciao.