BLUES BYTES – MITCH SANTIAGO
After a string of singles what was it like to get your Later In Life EP out and being able to showcase a bit more of yourself?
It’s been really nice to put an EP out. I’ve actually done two before, but obviously I was much younger, and they didn’t end up being released. So it’s nice actually having an EP out that I feel pretty proud of. I feel like I have a bit more of an idea of what I’m doing and what I’m going for now. So when it came time to do this one, I knew what I wanted from it. It feels good to have it out in the world.
It just sort of came naturally; all the songs came in their own time. They all got written pretty much in the same order they got released. It just all felt very organic, nothing about it felt forced, which was really nice.
2022 kind of set you up to go out on a bit of a higher platform for doing the EP out this year. One of the first things that happened after the release in March was that you were included in the Live Nation Ones To Watch showcase…
That was a lot of fun. We caught the redeye over to Melbourne for that trip. So whenever I sort of think back to that, I think back to that horrible flight over, but other than that it was a lot of fun and Live Nation were great to me over there. Everyone I met over there was lovely on that trip. It was awesome to see BOY SODA and PANIA who were the other two artists on the Ones To Watch showcase.
Over winter you did shows here and over East that then led up to another big first-time thing for you, a European tour. I believe you did the Reeperbahn festival and then a lot of your own dates in other cities?
Reeperbahn was awesome. I did Bigsound last year, and I was always told that Reeperbahn was like a Bigsound equivalent, but it was in Germany, so it’s a bit of a bigger thing.
I knew what Reeperbahn was when I was told that I was playing it because I watched videos of artists that I look up to play sets there. And yeah, it was awesome. The actual Reeperbahn strip is an interesting area because it’s a red-light district. So it’s an interesting area, but it’s also got the history with The Beatles and everything. Then along with having just this massive music festival with just so many people there it was incredible. Such a cool vibe.
So the rest of the shows were headline club dates?
Yeah, the rest of the shows after Reeperbahn were all my own date. It feels weird saying that. It also feels weird saying that it was a world tour because I feel so cocky saying it!
But all the shows were super fun; especially the shows in the Netherlands. Rotterdam especially, that was my favorite show. There was I think 190 people there or something like that. With how passionate they are about music over there it was an awesome, awesome trip. And all the shows were a lot of fun.
Was it a bit surreal, going from country to country playing like that for the first time?
It was totally surreal because it’s the dream, right? It’s the dream and you realise that you’re over there and you’re like, ‘oh, I am actually playing shows on the other side of the world’.
I was just thinking throughout the whole trip, ‘I wonder what myself a few years back would think about this?’, because I never thought it would happen so soon. I feel incredibly blessed that it did happen so soon. I’m really looking forward to getting back, whenever that is.
Then you came back and performed at South by Southwest Sydney…
Yeah, that was good fun as well. I got four days at home after the Europe tour, so I just had enough time to settle in and then I was off to Sydney. Again, it was one of those weird ones where I was still coming down, but I also had to come back up for South by Southwest. So it was good but I didn’t actually get out to watch as much music over there because during the day I was knackered because
I’d just jumped forward, I think it’s six hours from Rome to Perth, we’re six hours ahead. And then to Sydney in daylight savings and so it was like another three hours on top of that. So I was I was pretty tired, but the festival itself was a lot of fun. I got to find some pretty cool venues.
We’re coming towards the end of the year, how does 2024 look for you from this point?
After Blues at Bridgetown, I have six months off basically from playing shows, which is the first time since I’ve started performing that I’ve had that much time off. I’m looking forward to it, because it means I’ve got six months to hone my craft on songwriting. I feel like that’s one of the things I need to relearn now is songwriting, so I’m looking forward to being able to focus on that.
I’ve just finished high school, so it’s also going to be trying to work my way through the lack of routine. Having that time off to write music is going to be super beneficial.
I guess it will become part of my routine for the foreseeable future, which I’m looking forward to. Then after that, as usual, there will be shows all throughout next year after that time off, and then hopefully some festivals. There will also definitely be music coming out next year.
What will you bring to your Bridgetown performances on the weekend?
Hopefully, all things going well, a high energy performance! I think my music’s pretty danceable for the most part. What sounds like a band is one person just working hard to record things and driving themselves crazy, while also having fun and playing his own songs.
Friday 10pm Geegelup
Saturday 7pm Blue Owl’s Nest