Mike stood with long hair, playing a red guitar and looking at the camera

Mike with his Ibanez

It’s easy to spot when you’re in the company of a dedicated guitarist: they simply can’t put their axe down and Mike is no exception. Even while we’re having a relaxed chat about his new album ‘Captured In Eternity’s Eye’ Mike is shredding, his fingers deftly hopping between frets on his bright red Ibanez guitar while he answers my questions.

Mike has been playing guitar since he was fourteen, perfecting his talent on a staple diet of metal stalwarts like Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath and Judas Priest. He then “delved into the more extreme” and discovered Norwegian Black Metal which turned his attention to bands like Mayhem, Emperor and Burzum.

Mike originally helped out by painting the walls of Orb’s new music recording studio. He made his first EP ‘The Un-Creation’ as a self-funded project a while back but after being referred to Orb a few months ago he now has free access the latest tools and techniques which will help him lay down tracks under the pseudonym ‘Written In Torment’ in the very same room he painted.

“… it’s a good atmosphere here … [I’m] able to play my guitar out of my amp properly … loud! And pretty much everyone here is really into what they’re doing”

Mike works with resident recording engineer Josh who helps him with bass lines and getting to know all the electronic trickery Orb have in their new recording studio. During the recording Mike has picked up skills in syncing with the mixing desk and an understanding of Cubase software.

“Give it a go. There’s a lot of services for everyone who’s into music … stuff for DJs … there’s something for everyone”

Like all of Orb’s facilities, they promote positive mental health and provide a productive outlet for service users, but being immersed in a metal haven hasn’t given Mike any delusions of grandeur:

“I’m going to send [the tracks] to a few underground labels, but it’s mostly for my own enjoyment. I’m not in it for money. It won’t be mainstream, I’m a realist. It’s not going to be something you can gold plate a bar with”

Hand on an Ibanez guitar fret board

Mike: shredding

Mike has aspirations of being a guitar teacher and is learning a few more skills to help him do this. He’d also like to play a few festivals for “beer and a free holiday” at events like Wacken Open Air in Germany, Inferno in Norway and Bloodstock right here in the UK.

Do you want to use Orb’s recording studio for free?

Based in Knaresborough and serving the borough of Harrogate and beyond, we’ve got a wealth of equipment, knowledge and support for vulnerable people here at Orb. You can contact us through our website to find out how to apply for access to our services.

We’re always on the look out for new partnerships with like-minded organisations too. If you want to help us build stronger communities then contact us about using Orb’s unique music and art services.

This blog article was written by Chris Kenworthy: copywriter and photographer