I'm here on Little Portland Street loitering about outside The Social on a school night in hopes of catching some words with man of the hour, Mike Krol when I run into Paul, The Social's long time in-house sound engineer. Has Mike 'One L' Krol done his soundcheck? The response is in the affirmative and he points me over to a very unassuming looking guy and says, "that's one of his guitarists". "Mike's in the van eating his dinner" the guitarist thumbs over his shoulder at a windowless white van that would raise eyebrows and suspicions near any school district, "but I'll let him know you're lookin' to grab some words with him". I thank him and tactlessly forget any form of introductions or pleasantries. I pull up next to a group of strangers who offer me a stool to sit while I wait and I reciprocate by eavesdropping on their conversation, which was far too spicy to publish. Seriously saucy stuff folks, great way to pass the time though. I look back over by the guitarist and his signature thumb gesture's over shoulder again but this time it's pointed at me! He pivots much the way a bullfighter would to avoid the horns and from behind his wiry frame appears not a raging bull but a force equally to be reckoned with, none other than Mr. Mike Krol.
He walks over in a white denim jacket that's been on tour and yet is as crisp and white as the day it was purchased. Aside from the jacket he's dressed in black from head to toe sporting a Rough Trade T. I'm not sure why but I'm already at ease, or as close to is as I've ever come to. Mike's an unhurried sort of dude which makes you feel like you're catching up with a good buddy who's just happy to chew the fat for the sake of it. It's refreshing. I run the request for an interview by him and he's cool with it. I offer him my stool for a seat, which he accepts, and I take a knee. Outside of my laughter, which on playback sounds hysterical (not in a good way) I find myself really enjoying hearing both the questions and responses even though I know what's coming. He's just got that way about him.
Cpt: Okay, so the first question I'd like to get out of the way is, what questions do you hate being asked?
Mike: OoOoo I guess it would be like, 'what does your music sound like' or 'how do you describe your music.
Cpt: Everybody says the same thing by the way
Mike: Yah, because that's the worst. It's like, yeah I dunno, just listen to it, what does that sound like, you know? It's hard to, I dunno it's hard to say something that doesn't sound like, you're cocky or you're , you know, it's a hard question to answer? It's like if someone asks you, how good looking are you?How do you answer that?
In Mike's case, it's easy, very.
Cpt: Next question, what's the first thing you bought with your first real Music Money was it like a night of, 'drinks are on me' or did you get yourself a little something you've always wanted but couldn't justify?
Mike: I would definitely say I've had a nice meal before with friends or people involved in the music making process, celebrated in that way, food. Ya I dunno, mostly I've always had a job so I've always had, you know, income and been able to purchase the gear and equipment I need to make music. I've never had to take out an advance to buy something. Mostly just been celebratory food.
I went off the rails here talking about a real good pineapple I had in a jungle once, it's a true story but I'm not eloquent enough to describe the experience. Probably because it was completely indescribable. If you're ever in the Amazon jungle and somebody offers you pineapple, do not turn it down. Same goes for mango in the Philippines.
Cpt: What's your favourite food?
Mike: OoOOoO (I really love hearing these OoOoos on playback, they're genuine) I really like plums if we're talking about fruit and I think plums are a real underrated, fruit. Not many people like them.
Cpt: I think it's a mysterious fruit.
Mike: It is mysterious.
Cpt: Yeah, because it can be real sweet or it can be that insane tartness of a crab-apple.
Mike: Right right right. I like it somewhere in between when a plum is sort of more firm.
Mike: And it's kind of more like an apple and when you bite into it, like, I prefer that to, but then also when it's sweet and not to tart. So there's kindofa window of a day.
Cpt: Like an avocado?
Mike: It's like an avocado.
Cpt: For me, I'm a watermelon guy.
Mike: Watermelon's a tough one.
Mike: It's like, no one can eat a full watermelon
I'm pulling a face at this point, not because I doubt him, but because I'm trying to remember if I have ever eaten an entire watermelon. Mike looks at me sideways through slitted eyes.
Mike: You can? ← said in earnest without even a hint of sarcasm.
Cpt: I wanna say yes, but I'm certain I just get to the point where I feel like I'm going to explode and need 15 minute to take a knee or lay down or something.
Mike: Yeah, it's a little much, I don't think it's a snack that you can partake in by yourself. You need to have a party.
Cpt: How am I for time, am I good?
Mike: You're good.
Cpt: Okay, biggest disaster you've had on a tour and how you overcame it?
Cpt: We can skip it?
Mike: I know there've definitely been disasters. I dunno, just recently a couple of weeks ago, I lost my voice and I'm still kindof recovering from it. We had to cancel the show which is how I overcame it and took a night off to recover.
Cpt: How long were you going for before you voice finally gave out? I know that coming over to Europe is costly and you wanna hit everywhere you can, then go back again to some places if you can.
Mike: This tour has been 24 days total, like 24 shows total and we've only had 2 days off. I don't know when it fell off during that stretch but I dunno maybe after 10 or 11 shows. It's been rough and before this tour we had a week off and before that we had a 5 week US tour. We also played SXSW, which were multiple shows, over 3 days then 6 days off before coming over to europe.
Cpt: What was the first thing you did when you had time off to yourself, crash in your own bed?
Mike: Absolutely yes. Not being in your bed forever, my girlfriend and I (Alison) who plays bass in the band, literally just spent a week in bed eating junk and watching Netflix.
Cpt: What did you watch on Netflix?
Mike: Let's see, we definitely binged some Queer Eye, we watched some Office, we started to watch on Hulu this show called The Act.
Alison: Are you alright?
Alison has come up in my blind spot because it probably looks, and sorta kinda is, like I'm holding Mike in a hostage type situation and my time with him was up like 5 minutes ago. She introduces herself politely in that way that only North American ladies do and I miss very much. I manage to get a few words with her too. She's polite funny and as easy to talk to as Mike. We shoot the breeze a while tossing Netflix recommendations around for a while and upcoming shows. I try to the best of my abilities to make a polite exit so they don't full on have to leg it.