Mike Haggith picked up a guitar for the first time when he was 12 years old and started recording his own original music at 13.
Now 27, this Thompson resident is getting ready to release his first big solo album called Bridges, which serves as the culmination of everything he’s learned about playing music in the intervening years.
“If you count all the way back to that first tape I ever made, this is technically my 50th album,” said Haggith, who also boasts over 95 other releases as a member of different rock groups. “But in a way this is my first serious push, where things like production quality really mean a lot. Things like the mixing and the mastering are so immaculate that … we finished recording the album about a half a year ago and it’s still not off the mixing board.”
Outside of representing a big artistic milestone, Haggith said this album also reflects the intense personal journey he’s been taking over the last 16 months.
Back in October 2017, Haggith packed up all of his worldly possessions and moved from Sault Ste. Marie to Thompson to work for Perimeter Aviation.
“The album itself basically tells the story of when I moved up here and just having to come to grips with how isolated it felt being away from everybody that I knew, having to deal with, even just geographically, how isolated Thompson can feel at times,” he told the Thompson Citizen Jan. 31.
Luckily, the city’s music community embraced Haggith almost immediately and he started playing at venues like Nickel Days and the Concert in the Park series as a solo act or as a member of the band Between the Ditches.
“It seemed like the more involved in the community I got, either solo or with the group, the number of people that I met just really increased exponentially,” he said. “I was surprised. There is a pretty extensive music scene in Thompson for what it is and there’s a lot of really talented people.”
This new environment also encouraged Haggith to get back into the studio in 2018 and take his music career to the next level by recording this solo album.
As part of his marketing campaign for Bridges, Haggith even decided to release music video for its debut single called “The Nature of the Times” back in January.
Not only does this video provide listeners with a sneak preview of Bridge’s unique blend of folk, indie and alternative rock, but Haggith also decided to prominently feature himself playing next to Thompson landmarks like the King Miner Statue and the Burntwood River as a way to celebrate his new home.
“I wouldn’t have had it any other way,” he said. “Except it was about 24 below and playing the guitar out in that temperature for a couple minutes is enough to make your fingers go numb.”
While this video also features the Miles Hart Bridge, Haggith said the album’s namesake is actually a metaphor for the connections that we make with other people and how we can sometimes neglect those relationships.
Haggith is also using Bridges to help raise aware for mental health issues, and hopes to shine a light on difficult subject matter like depression and abuse through this upcoming release.
“So each of the 10 songs kind of take it from a different perspective, from my personal thoughts to a broad look at the awful discourse around politics and religion,” he said. “There’s one song that’s told through the eyes of a good friend of mine from back home who overcame spousal abuse and had to deal with turning the isolation away from that person into a positive.”
Even though Haggith hasn’t nailed down a solid release date for Bridges just yet, he and producer Justin Sobey are aiming to have this project finished by the summer of 2019.
“That’s a process that I am not rushing at all, because we want it to sound as good as it could possibly sound,” he said. “But I do intend to release probably another single or two in advance as we gear up for that and we’re just going to take it as it comes.”