Slowing Down the Creative Process

Mike Murray releases fifth studio album “We Are Like Warriors” after period of introspection and pandemic disruptions

By Maggie Dresser
Mike Murray. Photo by Chris Krager

After working for a talent management company out of Los Angeles while he was working on his 2018 album “Difficult Days,” Mike Murray was ready to switch gears and take on a different genre as he thought about his next album.

He was hoping for a quick turnaround on his new album “We Are Like Warriors,” which he started writing in 2019. But he didn’t finalize it until August 2020.

“Life had a way of interrupting me,” Murray said.

Between family time, playing roughly 200 gigs per year and helping a friend produce an album, he ended up recording the album intermittently before finishing it right before his wife gave birth to their second daughter in September.

Despite the pandemic, Murray kept busy this summer and played nearly as many gigs as previous years. But he stopped playing in September to stay home with his girls.

“It’s been a really nice sort of forced parental leave,” Murray said. “It’s been nice to have that slower time … I’m now the requested bedtime guy at the house, which is pretty cool. I’ll take it while I can.”

Murray is taking advantage of the downtime to spend more time with his family until April rolls around, when he says he’ll have a full season calendar of gigs. And while he released “We Are Like Warriors” on Feb. 2, he plans to wait for an album release party and use the summer to promote it.

In contrast to his previous music, Murray describes the new 12-song album as a “heavily introspective piece of work” in the rock genre.

“There’s an introspection part of the lyric process,” Murray said. “I haven’t often done this with my writing, but I took a couple steps back and made that introspection broader, not just on myself but on society and our country.”

Murray says its general theme draws on the political divisiveness that he’s noticed in recent years, and that the music symbolizes unity and a “call to find common ground,” which differs from “Difficult Days” in both its sound and lyrical depth.

“It’s a strange mash-up of things,” he said. “This album is definitely a little more on the alternative rock end of the spectrum. I definitely took my time with the songs as far as length and space for instrumentation and ambience.”

Murray played all the instruments on the album, experimenting with a lot of guitars, and mastered it himself in his studio at home in Kalispell.

“It’s a rock album, but I wanted people to listen to it on a Saturday morning when you wake up with your coffee,” Murray said. “It was fun to make in that regard.”

Now that “We Are Like Warriors” has been released, Murray is already working on his next album, which he hopes to finish recording before the summer. He’s also working on his summer gig schedule, which is shaping up to be a busy one with postponed 2020 shows.

While Murray is preparing for a busy year, he’s taking advantage of the slower pace at home right now.

“It’s been a mixed bag for everybody with gigs slowing down,” Murray said. “It’s giving me a lot more time to write and record and have a lot more of a creative process.”

“We Are Like Warriors” can be streamed on Spotify and Apple Music, and CDs can be ordered upon request.

For more information, visit www.mikemurraytunes.com.