Interview with Guitarist Jim McCloskey of Sea of Snakes

By Mick Michaels

COSMICK VIEW: Hello, Jim! Welcome to The Cosmick View. Thank you for taking some time out of your day to chat with me, it's greatly appreciated.

CV: Do you feel that it's still possible for an unknown band today to be plucked out of obscurity and make it to stardom? Can a dedicated core of fans sharing their music make that possible or has the internet and social media changed the game?
Jim McCloskey: I do. But it's rare. There are so many great artists doing their own thing, there are so many niches. But, just like always, if a band has the main ingredients; good songs, determination and are practiced up…the sky's the limit. The game changes when management and money get involved to fuck everything up.

CV: Do you feel that given the accessibility and social awareness of modern times that a music underground still even exists today as it once did?
JM: Yes, there's such a DIY aesthetic to everything for most young bands; recording, booking shows, printing zines. Before COVID, there were plenty of showcases at warehouses and small clubs and generator backyard shows from El Sereno to Orange County. People wanna party.

CV: What do you see as the biggest difference in music and how it is perceived from back say 35 years ago compared to music today? Has both the music and the artist evolved from your point of view?
JM: The biggest differences are between YouTube and MTV, Spotify playlists and FM radio. The way you push a band nowadays is way more amoebic. I say it's devolved because I'm older now. A lot of bands bring intensity, but nothing is really shocking anymore.

CV: Do you believe bands and artists who have the biggest impact on fans and other artists are aware that they are or is there more of a tunnel vision sort of process for them keeping them somewhat in the dark? Can influential artists see past their own work to be aware of the ripples they make?
JM: Great artists make what's subjective into something objective. Then they die at 27.

CV: Does music need to be influential to be considered worth listening to in your opinion? Or can music simply be just an enjoyable auditory experience devoid of substance?
JM: I think it works both ways. To become a musician you have to be influenced by something or someone, and it has to be so influential that there's no time for anything else. Listen to music that drives you and connects with how you wanna live because you have to put your heart and soul into becoming an artist. On the other hand, if you're in traffic every day, zoning out on your way home from your shit job, I guess anything will do.

CV: The world has been rocked by the COVID pandemic.  The economy has been sent into a tailspin in its wake, unfortunately.  Bands worldwide have been restricted with performing live and some it seems, restricted from earning a living.  How has the pandemic affected your band? Are you hopeful that 2021 will see many of the restrictions lifted?
JM: Yeah, it's been good and bad. This band was put together as a response to the pandemic. Our other, more lucrative bands had some down time and the two core members of Sea of Snakes found time to write and share riffs. And here we are releasing an EP.

CV: What do you feel artists and bands can do right now to stay relevant, especially in an environment, such as the present, where performing in front of a live audience is being restricted? What immediate options do you see available?
JM: Seeing bands like Earthless and Down, among many others, doing live-stream events and virtual festivals is really cool…a good stop-gap. To stay relevant you just got to keep writing and recording and coming up with something no else could ever think of.

CV: As an artist, what have you learned from the events of 2020? Are those lessons learned different for you as a person than as an artist or are they one in the same in your opinion?
JM: You just have to roll with the punches. Personally, to me, being an artist and a person are one in the same, capturing the lightning in a bottle happens if you’re at a show or on the can

CV: What's next? What can fans expect to see coming in 2021?
JM: We are releasing a new video for our song “Let the Fire Burn” in a month or so and releasing our EP “World on Fire” in the spring…it'll be Fire!!

CV: Thank you again Jim for spending some time talking and sharing with our readers. It was such a pleasure. I wish you all the best.
JM: Thanks.

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The Cosmick Voice
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My name is Mick Michaels...I'm an artist, music fan, songwriter, producer, show host, dreamer and guitarist for the traditional Heavy Metal band Corners of Sanctuary. Writing has always been a creative outlet for me; what I couldn't say in speech, I was able to do with the written word.  Writing has given me a voice and a way for me to create on a multitude of platforms including music and song, articles, independent screenplays, books and now, artist interviews. The Cosmick View is an opportunity to raise the bar and showcase artists in a positive and inspirational light. For me, it's another out-of-this-world adventure.

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