Tuesday 7 March 2023

An Interview With Experimental Musician And Creative Artist: Mike Vest

Today I'm interviewing Mike Vest who is one of the busiest and hard working musicians within the UK Psych, Experimental and Hard Rock scenes. 

Mike has released his own solo material and has worked and is currently  working with artists such as Fred Laird, Charlie Butler, Dave Sneddon and the legendary Junzo Suzuki, Mitsuru Tabata and Tomoyuki Aoki over the last 18 months alone. 

Mike is perhaps best known for his work with bands such as BLOWN OUT, DRUNK IN HELL, BONG, 11PARANOIAS, HAIKAI NO KU, LUSH WORKER, OZO...

Mike also shares his plans for future releases. 

Read on for a great interview. 

Hi Mike. Thanks for doing this interview. How are things with you today. We're here to talk about the multiple albums and musical projects you've released or been part of over the last 12 months. Can you give a breakdown how many albums you've been part of that were released last year.

Yeah fine, just endlessly mixing, recording and painting at the moment. Working on a new Artifacts & Uranium album with Mitsuru Tabata as a guest member, the 2nd Tomoyuki Trio album, ‘groundwork’ all done, rough bass lines and drums tracks are all lined up and are with Aoki now, so he is currently writing his parts.

Half way through a new Neutraliser album with Charlie Butler.

Some other new projects as well, struggling a bit with the guitars on one, but will come to me eventually.

Just have to wait for that spark of creativity.

So…last year. did two Artifacts & Uranium LPs, our debut & Panscosmology that came out on Echodelick Records (US) and Weird Beard (UK).

3rd Mienakunaru album ’Strato Arcology’ out on Echodelick Records and Riot Season.

Debut Neutraliser tape came out on Echodelick and Weird Beard. Lush worker split with Fiorella 16 LP, bunch of tapes too.

It seems you've been busy over the last few years or since COVID lockdown appeared. Did you ever expect to be that busy with your musical outputs.

I’ve been busy with music heavy and ‘serious’ since I was 25 to be honest. I played about 30-40 gigs a year for ages and ages don’t seem like a lot, but there is only 52 weeks in a year.

I think collectively over the years I have done maybe close to 80 LP's, tapes, and CD's, maybe.

Yeah, guess I did. Been pretty constant for years really. I'm as busy as I want to be.

Were all these projects recorded quickly over a period of time. Or do you just like keeping yourself busy.

Nah, its a steady process really. Its like spinning lots of plates. Just keep dipping into each project, as overdubs start coming in from other members.

So I'll be working on maybe 3-4 things at once. But it just depends how you do it really. its all about building a foundation.

Everything lined up, then its just a case of dropping tracks into projects.

Artifacts & Uranium is mixed by Fred Laird, such a good mixer and instrumentalist.

I like being busy, creating music and art from scratch and I hate being broke….

You play a mixture of different styles on these albums. Noise, Drone, Psych, Metal, Experimental, Krautrock and Doom. Plus a whole load of other styles as well. Which style of music do you like creating the most for and your least favourite style of music

The style of music i have always made involves improvisation, repetition, Heaviness on a landscape of psych, punk, noise, doom and drone rock bands.

Just like doing rock music really. Trios etc. I don’t think about a style when I’m playing or mixing. Ska is the worst for me, i guess.

How did the project Neutralizer with Charlie Butler came about. As that's a kick-ass project that maybe my favourite. Know Charlie from his work with Cody Noon and Mothertrucker.

Got in touch with Charlie in 2021 I think maybe. He was a promoter in Reading, now resides in Scotland. Liked his tapes and his recording method/quality.

Great drummer, currently, working on another album for tape, hopefully be working on a LP soon too.

Going back to a more rocked out trio vibe for the LP I think.

‘Capsule Bowed Space’ is out on Cruel Nature Records.

Perhaps the most exciting and interesting project I listened to was Mienakunaru. A Psych/Space Rock/Drone extravaganza featuring Dave Sneddon and the legendary Junzo Suzuki. How did that project come about.

We did 3 LP's over a year and some change. The most recent is ‘Strato Arcology’ out on Riot Season and Echodelick Records.

Basically, before the pandemic I was working on some albums remotely anyway and also sending guitar tracks down to London, would always prefer to record overdubs and such, at home rather than in a studio.

Felt I played better at home and time wasn’t an issue.

In the past Junzo had made a record with Snakes Don’t Belong In Alaska. So I wondered if he was up for more collaborations, and he was.

Drummer, Dave Sneddon and I always wanted to start a band with him in some way. So this opportunity presented itself and we got to work.

Recorded bass lines with drums, send a basic framework of tracks to Junzo and in one take he would record guitars.

The 3 albums we did in a short period of time are really really good and pretty mind blowing really.

It was a honour for me to work with him. I hope I will again.

How is Junzo Suzuki doing after his unfortunate accident in Feb 2022. Have you heard from him lately

Yeah, Junzo is now out of the hospital and is in recovery, which is I think is a lot more restful and comfortable. So he is just resting.

I've been speaking to Mitsuru Tabata about his recovery. I don’t think he has access to social media too much. So I’m just letting him rest.

I think this type of recovery just takes time and its a step by step process. I keep checking in.

It was rather awesome of you to help arrange a Compliation to pay for Junzo's rehabilitation. Plus releasing and re-mastering some of Mienakunaru's earlier releases.

Yeah, the compilation was handled by Ned @ WasIstDas i just send him tracks, that I had made with Junzo.

Mitsuru made a BandCamp page for him too, as Junzo is unable to access his own page, which has all his music on and all the Mienakunaru albums.

So I sent all the masters and remixed all three albums. Sent them all to Mitsuru.

Plus ‘Strato Aroclogy’ came out when he was in hospital. Made sure that Mitsuru got all his LPS up for sale, as Junzo couldn’t manage it.

I just made sure they had all the music and lps arrived safe to Mitsuru rather than Junzo.

I know Junzo would want to say thanks to everyone who picked up his compilation and music from his new page.

Really has helped him.


Does it become a struggle for you when writing new music. As you have so many creative outputs to release new music for.

Sometimes it can be, but its normally is a sign that I need to do something else for a bit, which is where painting pictures comes in. So, I’m doing all my artwork and layouts hence forth.However Nick from Artifacts & Uranium is working on the cover for our 4th LP.

I've been selling prints and now I’m going to start selling the actual paintings.

Also, offering a cheap service for artwork for bands. I always found it tricky to make artwork and layouts for releases.

So I know from back in the day how tricky that was, so I’m offering to paint a specific picture for their album, using colours that they request and provide it on an LP layout.

Then they can add text and all the rest as they wish. Just means they have a hi-res picture and a good coloured landscape for them to add all the credits.

Then give them the original painting.

I've heard you have a substantial collection of upcoming projects being released in 2023. Can you give us a brief rundown what to expect

Yeah, new Artifacts & Uranium LP coming out soon on Riot Season & Echodelick Records ‘Gateless Gate’

Kinda a mix of post punk drumming, viola drones, two tracks a side.

The first of two MODOKI LPs, which is a trio with Mitsuru Tabata & Dave Sneddon ‘Atom Sphere’ is our debut and will be out on Riot Season and Echodelick soon. 

2nd MODOKI LP will be out later in the year on Riot Season ‘Luna To Phobos’

And….debut from the TOMOYUKI TRIO ‘Mars’ LP.

Working with Aoki Tomoyuki from Up-Tight and Dave Sneddon.

Truly is a honour to be working with Mitsuru and Aoki.

New Neutraliser Tape and LP and some other stuff in the works.

Do you have words of wisdom to fans of your music (such as myself) and budding new artists currently out there.

Do as much as you can yourself, learn how to mix and produce.

Know your worth, learn how to crack software, eat fruit, veg and drink water.

Listen to your mixes in saunas. Don’t use Spotify.


Words by Steve Howe and Mike Vest

Thanks to Mike for doing this interview.