Hello and welcome! My name is Mikey Holland, and I play with a group called Mean Creek. We are about to release our new record, Youth Companion, on Old Flame Records. This is my first time writing for Modern Drummer, and I couldn’t be any more honored. With that said, let’s hope I don’t screw up!
I grew up in small city outside of Boston, Massachusetts, called Lawrence. There wasn’t much to do or much to belong to growing up during the time I did, other than getting involved in drugs or gangs. It’s pretty easy [to get caught up in those things], and I’m glad to say I steered away from them. Some of my best buds were not so lucky. What we did have, though, was a small music scene. People are poor, people are frustrated, and people are as eager to leave as can be. What an excellent combination! And so began the change that would lead me to where I am today.
After years of searching, I’ve found some of the most inspiring and gifted musicians and friends I’ve ever been around. Mean Creek is a band and so much more. They’re my support system, my best friends, and my life’s work all in one. Nothing ties that statement together more than our new record. It’s about you, us, and everything in between. It’s about friends, self-discovery, and fear. It’s the single greatest achievement in my fifteen years of playing music. It’s beyond important to me; it’s a part of me.
In a sense, I guess I’m a very unorthodox drummer. I’m ambidextrous and somehow fell into playing drums lefty. I’m also a songwriter and write all my drums parts to songs the way a guitar player would. It doesn’t make much sense, but that’s the beauty of finding your own style and sound. Lessons probably would have helped, but I dove in headfirst and played until I couldn’t anymore.
On Youth Companion, I really opened up my mind and absorbed so much music while we were writing. I really wanted to challenge myself and also write some really different things. Some records from bands that really grabbed me for dynamic rhythms were Joy Division, Portishead, the War on Drugs, and a lot of old ’60s instrumental surf and psychedelic acts.
There were also some rules I set for myself going into the recording: no editing drums together, and no more than three takes per song. Five of the tracks on the record are first takes and the rest follow my rule. I wanted the drums to seem alive, like someone was really focused and playing with heart. There’s not much more to say than the proof is in the pudding. Our album comes out October 16, and we will be touring with Counting Crows throughout the fall. We take great pride in being down-to-Earth folks, so come say “hello.” I will probably give you free stuff if I’ve had a few beers. Ha.
Hope to hear some feedback from y’all. The last thing I will say is, play with your heart and soul, and remember it’s only rock ’n’ roll but it’s the single most important thing in the world. Listen to the Replacements too. Feel free to get in touch.