If you don’t know Michael Gagliano’s music and ‘Bang! The Sails Best of 2006 – 2020‘ is your first encounter with The Sails, then you get the surprise of a lifetime. I speak from experience.
It is not without reason that Mojo speaks about the best Power Pop band in the UK. This anthology contains sixteen songs and all sixteen are very good. Very, very good, I mean.
Sweet Sweet Music spoke to Michael, who also plays John Lennon in the Let It Be musical, about catchy memorable songs, timeless pop songs, and songs about love.
You get it.
What are you most proud of when you listen to Bang! The Sails Best of 2006 – 2020?
I’m proud of every song on this album. It’s a great collection of really good catchy memorable songs. In these modern days, great songs are rare, but on Bang!, every song is a winner. It’s a collection of timeless pop songs everyone will dig, regardless of genre niches.
You’ll read a lot of compliments that say things like “if Oasis covered Peter Shilton, then …” or “In a better world, Best Day was the biggest hit of the last 20 years.” Bittersweet?
To be honest, I can’t imagine a band like Oasis covering my music. They were a juggernaut of a band, traveling at 1000 miles an hour, crushing everything in its path. The Sails is more like a zippy sports car going down the back streets, going places a huge monster truck couldn’t go.
It’s not important to me if I’m overlooked or overshadowed by giants. I’ve only ever made music for me, not for accolades.
The Sails is you. Do you write and record on your own?
The Sails is my solo project. I write and record everything on my own but sometimes I have hired 2 drummer friends to play on the albums and playing live I will take one of the 2 guys on the road with some other session players to perform the songs live.
The meaning of success has changed over the years. What would success look like for the new record?
I’m just grateful to be alive and to be able to make music. Everything else is just a bonus. I don’t think about success in monetary form or fame. Currently, people from all over the world are listening to my music. In Stockholm and Venezuela, people buy my music. To me, that is a success.
I get letters and messages of gratitude saying how much they love what I do. That is worth more to me than cars or houses.
How great is the urge to stay creative? To keep writing songs and lyrics?
There is no urge to stay creative, it’s a natural process, it’s what I was born to do, it’s what I have always done, I don’t question it. It’s just always been there and it hopefully will always stay with me.
What’s the gig you will always remember? And why?
One show that sticks in my mind was the Isle of Wight festival in 2007, and being on the same stage as The Bees and Eddie Piller, two of my favorite acts. The audience was great that day.
Lyrics are too often taken for granted. What is the line of text or are the lines of text that you hope listeners will remember? And why?
Lyrics are just a part of the magic. I’m no Bob Dylan and I think it’s the whole wash of a song that touches people, not just the sentiment. Words are the most powerful weapon a human being has but I use mine for love and peace, like The Fabs did, as most of my songs are about love…man!
When was the last time you thought ‘I just wrote a hit!’?
What is a hit now? You can have millions of listeners streaming your music and only get peanuts. I don’t think in those terms. A hit to me is ‘do I like the song?’, not how many listens it gets or how many likes it receives online.
I’m not a fan of the internet, it’s made human beings far more insecure, especially sensitive and creative artists who are not getting fairly treated.
Is recording a record easier than getting it heard nowadays?
Making music is a natural thing to do for me. It’s been harder in lockdown as I only had a mic and a mac and a guitar.
Trying to make songs sound the best they can is tough with just headphones to use but that is how I recorded The Sails new album ‘Brighter Futures’ (out on cd July 2021on Kool Kat Musik but available to stream now here.)
Cassettes are back. Which 5 five songs would make your first mixtape?
6. Anything from The Small Faces
5. Anything from The Who
4. Anything from Marvin Gaye
3 Any track by The Kinks
2. Every single song by The Jam
1. Any song of The Beatles’ amazing catalog.
Recording music. What’s all the fun about?
I’m very lucky as I have been able to record at some of the best studios in the UK, like Rockfield in Wales and Chapel Studios in Lincolnshire, with great engineers but it’s always been me producing. I would like to work with a producer soon so I can just be the guy making the music and not have to worry about every other aspect.
I would like to produce for other artists too one day, so anyone interested in me producing them should shout me out.
Playing music in front of a crowd. What’s all the fun about?
It’s what being a musician is all about, playing and connecting, in the moment, with other humans.
You can’t control the way people ‘hear’ your music. But if you could make them aware of certain aspects, you think, set your songs apart. What would they be?
Song is king, nothing else matters. Most modern acts look good and sell to a predetermined demographic, but the songs aren’t there. We should return to a time where it is all about the song.
The new album Brighter Futures was written in lockdown with only me and limited gear. It’s about living with vast changes in the world caused by covid. The cover is me using lights and mirrors on a blank white wall to create the image of pushing thru tough times to brighter futures for us all. It’s a darker sounding, less 60s, record, more unique to me. I didn’t want it sounding like The Beatles etc, so I kept it very honest, stripped, and simple.