Like most people, Mike Byj is from Ontario and earned a degree in journalism from Mohawk College. He teaches guitar and other various instruments for a living, and while that is enough for most people, Mike Byj is not at all like, well, most people. His songs have a pop/rock root, but at times they feel almost uncategorizable. Accompanying the tracks on his SoundClick page is a variety of hilarious images that may or may not lend any depth to the lyrics.
And while I’d like to say I conduct interviews like most journalists looking for a band’s influence or favorite color, I decided that for a musician as unique as Mike Byj, there could only be so many questions about music, and not enough about the more pertinent questions that haunt our thoughts: waffles or pancakes?
ASHLEY JEAN: Listed on your Soundclick is an array of tracks, but one in particular caught my attention: “Average Joe.” I was intrigued by the paradox – a seemingly mundane dude, but yet, still unique. How do you feel that speaks to the “average geek” of today?
MIKE: oh, you know…
ASHLEY JEAN: Well, there is another track I was curious about. “Ego Away” – the picture really had me fooled into thinking it was a song about waffles. (Which I know it’s not, I swear I can read.) Do you think waffles have egos more-so than pancakes?
MIKE: Pancakes are pretty two-dimensional, and flat. Waffles come in all kinds of shapes, and there is depth on their surface to collect syrup. Based on those facts you could assume waffles have more personality but they both seem pretty lifeless to me.
ASHLEY JEAN: Speaking of breakfast food, if you had to pick a discontinued cereal to describe your sound, which one would it be and why? (Personally, I wish they’d bring back Sprinkle Spangles.)
MIKE: Rice Krispies is the only cereal I can think of that makes noise but odds are Special K does that too since it’s practically the same thing. Now that I’ve narrowed it down to two, i’ll say neither because both of those are still around. Let’s just say Bill and Ted cereal because I watched that movie like ten times.
ASHLEY JEAN: I noticed that you are a fan of The Big Bang Theory. If you had to assign each character to an instrument in your band, where would they all go?
MIKE: i wouldn’t want to play with the guys in that show because the audience would always be expecting us to say ‘Bazinga’ so that they could laugh at us. Bands prefer a crowd that stands perfectly still with their arms crossed at all times.
ASHLEY JEAN: A lot of your songs sound incredibly personal. Have you ever written a song that was completely fictitious for the sake of entertainment reasons?
MIKE: Yes that’s a perfect excuse for when someone wants to know exactly what I’m singing about… it’s all fiction! i like to mix the two. Take something you know about and then exaggerate it until it’s all make believe.
ASHLEY JEAN: Your song, “Evaluate You,” inspired me. I considered the ways in which we judge people and I wondered, which method of evaluation would you prefer people to use when assessing your music? Surveys? Tests?
MIKE: Scorecards are too vague. How do Olympic judges find a number to represent a gymnast’s performance? Essay questions would give me the most valuable feedback because they use words.
ASHLEY JEAN: And finally, the moment you’ve been waiting for, it’s mixtape time. Pick 5 songs that you would give to the fictional love of your life. These characters can be from any fandom: literature, television, movies, etc.
Am I choosing five characters or five songs? I like Ken Follet’s books but no one character is sticking out at the moment. My favorite song is “Bohemian Rhapsody“. i also like my cat but he’s real.