This Mike Krol article was written by Steven Loftin, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Hazel Webster.
In a world where people love things that are instantaneous and now, so-to-speak, it’s a wonder Mike Krol hasn’t lit up everyone’s mind with his short, sharp and full of attitude garage/punk-esque rawness that is easily digested in a bus ride or short walk. Krol, who originates from Milwaukee, Wisconsin but is now based in L.A, is someone who you probably haven’t heard of but you definitely should have. A master of taking what The Ramones did with their raw punk and making it relatable to a modern age. He’s a proprietor of stories and thoughts that we all have but can’t convey, much less through a well-oiled system of tongue-in-cheek musical-professionalism. I was fortunate enough to meet up with Krol before his gig at The Eagle Inn in Salford, Manchester, on the 28th October, where we sat in his van and conversed for well into an hour. In this time I discovered that not only is his discography almost perfectly designed, from cover to song (even the milliseconds between songs), but that he’s also doing things his way and doesn’t give a fuck about trying to impress you.
Before he took to the stage, we met inside the venue/pub, which was already loud, so we decided to take up residence in his van. Rock and roll. As you can imagine, in an hour we covered a lot of topics, including his family (his sister is currently in Germany doing her PostDoc in Neuroscience), and food, (thinking they’d be eating a lot more British food instead of many late-night Dominoes). From talking to Krol you get the sense he has no hidden agenda, he is as he is, someone who is more than happy to talk and share, which is a rare thing to find in life let alone the music industry.
When we get onto music, both his and others, you can tell passion is something that fuels his fire and keeps him marching to the sound of his own drum. When talking about The Ramones, who are “…one of my all time favourite bands ever…”, and who are also reputably known for their use of short and sweet songs. This is a direct influence upon his sound – his entire discography clocks in at just under one hour, that’s three albums, one hour. In terms of set lists, it makes things kind of easier, “we pretty much play everything, we just leave out a couple…I like playing songs in chunks like that though”, in reference to the system of playing side A of ‘Turkey’, then the first two songs of side A and B from ‘I Hate Jazz’, the first two songs of side A and B from ‘Trust Fund’ and then finally side B of ‘Turkey’. Great news for fans, all killer, no filler.
He also likes to keep things DIY, even when recording in a studio, as he did for his newest release. “When I started the first records, my friend Eliot, who plays guitar for me, recorded them and tracked them, then I took the tracks and mixed them myself in Garageband…I couldn’t get the sound the way I wanted so I used the most primitive software I could find”. When it came to mixing ‘Turkey’, everything was done on the fly via tape machine, scrapping any illusion of perfectionism (any mistakes made were left), to quote Krol; “whatever happened was the mix”. In regards to his reasoning for doing this; “I feel like setting parameters up for yourself will always give you a better product”. It’s this approach to recording, along with being an unlikely perfectionist when it comes to the things that me or you potentially wouldn’t notice, such as track sequencing, that makes Krol a creative’s creator – “One of my favourite things with making music is coming up with the order and sequencing…I think I spend more time figuring out how many milliseconds should be between tracks or how much dead space before the next song…more than mixing a song sometimes”.
As I mentioned previously, Krol is a person who has a lot to say and it’s definitely worth listening to. In the next part of the interview we talk about his non-musical influences, the cop imagery and the future.