Mike Pace and the Child Actors – “Smooth Sailing” (Q&A)


‘I’ve always been “too heavy for the pop crowd, too pop for the heavy crowd,” that sort of thing.’, says Mike Pace.

I really like those ‘in between’ records. Check it out!





Real Gone wrote a great review. Detailed and written with so much care. What’s it like for you to read such reviews?

I appreciate a thoughtful, well-written review as much as the next person, as I’m not above reading criticism of my work.  Sometimes it provides momentary validation and a slight ego boost (when it’s positive) and it’s satisfying when someone else “gets” what’s you’re trying to do, or interprets it in a meaningful way.  Ultimately it’s one person’s opinion about a very subjective art form, so I try not to get hung up on reviews one way or the other.

There is a layer of ‘chaos’ on top of these beautiful melodies. Does that make sense? Makes me like the record a lot! And couldn’t that be the definition of good music anyway :-)?
Yeah!  I’ve always been interested in well-constructed music, and lately, that’s taken the form of denser songs that have a lot going on, but hopefully not at the expense of the song itself!  I think it’s also a result of the older, messier DIY punk in me meeting the newer, more progressive-rock inclined version of me.  Trying to come up with new and interesting ways to present melodies sometimes leads me to mash a bunch of things together, and occasionally they wind up sounding pretty good!

The music industry has changed a lot (or so they say). What did it bring you? And what not?

It’s now easier than ever to make a record outside the trappings of the old “record label/expensive studio” paradigm.  I was fortunate enough to have a very fulfilling experience year ago playing in a band on a big label and making records the “traditional way.”  While I miss spending time in studios, I love making records with like-minded individuals on our own time, in our houses and without the constraints of expectations and budgets.  That’s just a more realistic way to work these days.  The flipside to the democratization of music is that there’s just so much of it out there, and while getting records out there isn’t a problem, getting people’s attention (especially if you’re not touring regularly, like me) is always a challenge.


Do you feel part of a community, the power pop community?

Not really.  I’ve always been “too heavy for the pop crowd, too pop for the heavy crowd,” that sort of thing.  In my band days, there was a kinship with other bands we toured or people in the scene since we were always out and about.  Now that’s I’m a married dad with a job who’s making music in my basement (essentially), there’s a lot less camaraderie.  I will say that folks in the power-pop community have been very receptive about Smooth Sailing, which is really nice to hear.  You guys are a supportive group!

Every family birthday, same story. Again, you have to explain what kind of band you are in. What’s the story this time for aunt Jenny and uncle Clive?

Usually, the answer is some variation on “it’s a rock n’ roll band” or “it’s alternative rock.”  The question that inevitably follows is always, “covers or originals?” which is just the worst.

The meaning of ‘success’ has changed over the years. When will the new record be a success?

Recalibrating your expectations when you’re making music on your own terms is a must.  To me, the new record’s already a success because I’ve been able to make the album I wanted to make the way I wanted to make it. Everything that follows is gravy!

What would change if Disney would call and tell you they are going to use your song in their next movie?

First, I’d want to double-check and make sure no one over at the Mouse House had lost their mind.  Second, I’d go buy some Disney stock because it’s about to go through the roof, baby!  Most likely nothing would really change, but maybe it would pay for a trip to Disney World.

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