June 1, 2020 Interview – Mike Conner of Any Given Sin
Based out of Southern Maryland, Any Given Sin is slowly creeping up in the rankings on the American Hard Rock scene. Originally coming together some time ago, the band’s sound has morphed over the last decade, and further took shape with the introduction of Vocalist Vic Ritchie in 2017. Another piece to the puzzle, they soon found success with “Dynamite,” a single which quickly became the #1 most spun song on SiriusXM’s Octane in 2019.
Following up with the equally as striking “Another Life,” now they return in mid-2020 with what could be the most compelling single to date, “Insidious.” Carefully plotting their attack, and so far hitting all the right notes, founding Guitarist Mike Conner recently took the time to talk the evolution of Any Given Sin, the story behind the music, plans for the future, plus a lot more.
Cryptic Rock – Any Given Sin came together around 7 years ago and, in recent times, has really seen a catapult into the spotlight with your singles”Dynamite” and “Another Life.” A founder of the band, what has the journey been like leading to this point?
Mike Conner – It was expensive, (Laughs) and a definite learning curve. I was never afraid to experiment with different things like making my own videos on a shoestring budget and always tried to think outside of the box. If you don’t have the resources at your disposal, as most bands do not in their infantile stage, you as an artist need to carve your own path. Be original, take chances and, yes, you have to spend money.
Cryptic Rock – Right, sometimes you need to make due with what you have in order to see your ideas become a reality. Any Given Sin put out a six track EP back in 2015, entitled Forbidden, but since has added Vic Ritchie on vocals. Tell us, how did you connect with Vic? Furthermore, was it instantly evident he was going to be leading man for Any Given Sin moving forward?
Mike Conner – Vic was in a band from Kentucky, they had been booked with us as the original line up of Any Given Sin and yes, I noticed Vic’s voice immediately. It wasn’t until the departure of our original vocalist in 2017 that I reached out to Vic about fronting AGS. We got together and wrote a few songs and we were happy on the chemistry. By the way, the first two songs we wrote were “Dynamite” and “Another Life,” which coincidentally turned out to be our first two singles.
Cryptic Rock – It seems to have worked out really well. From the sample of what we have heard from Any Given Sin, you have a good mix of heavy Rock with passionate vocals from Vic. Is this the direction you always envisioned for the band?
Mike Conner – It’s close. I try not to enter a project or start a song thinking this is how it needs to be or how it needs to sound. You have to let the chemistry pave the way. I have a much heavier background than the AGS sound delivers. What works best with all collective styles is what you hear in our music.
Cryptic Rock – It will be interesting to hear what comes next from the band. So, we touched on “Dynamite” briefly. The single has received a mass of air play and positive feedback nationally through SiriusXM Octane. How exciting is it to see the song lift off like it has, and what inspired it?
Mike Conner – Of course it’s exciting to hear your song on the air waves, especially when it was received so well by the listening audience, but as an artist you have little time to lie idle. You go out as quickly as you come in. So by the time you are hearing our song on radio we are already working on our next single hoping it will be received in the same fashion as the previous.
The inspiration for the song “Dynamite” came from something that’s unfortunately very familiar to most of us, loss of something very near and dear to us; whatever that may be and the pain and regret we may feel from it.
Cryptic Rock – Well, the song really struck a chord with listeners. Now that you have gotten the Hard Rock world’s attention with “Dynamite,” you also dropped the single “Another Life.” Equally as powerful as “Dynamite,” what is the story behind “Another Life?”
Mike Conner – “Another Life” was the second song written after the introduction of Vic Ritchie to the band. It was originally titled “Break Me Down.” This song has roots scattered all over the United States. It was written in Maryland. Originally recorded in Nashville with Producer Trevor Kustiak who also produced “Dynamite.” Then recorded again in Kansas with a slightly different approach and a different producer. Chris Dawson produced it on its second go around. Both producers are excellent at their art form, yet both approached the song at a different angle, then the video was shot in New York city. So it’s been around. (Laughs) We decided to change the title from “Break Me Down” to “Another Life” while in Kansas because, well, Chris helped give it another life.
The inspiration/meaning of the song can be interpreted in different ways. I like songs that the listener can associate that song to whatever touches them personally. For me, it probably means something different than what it means to you or what it means to Vic, who wrote the lyrics to the song.
Cryptic Rock – Fair enough, it is good to leave a song open to interpretation. The big question now, is there an album or EP in the works?
Mike Conner – Yes, there is. Whether it is an EP or LP is yet to be determined. If we do this on our own as an unsigned band it will likely be an EP. I would assume an LP would be released with the introduction of a label.
Cryptic Rock – That is exciting to hear, let’s hope you get some label interest for a full-length. Seeing you have seen a good deal of attention lately, have you been approached to head out on tour with any other national bands?
Mike Conner – It’s certainly been easier to get quality shows, but there has been no confirmation as of yet of being a support act on a national tour. It is however being discussed.
Cryptic Rock – That is positive to hear. With so much uncertainty in the world right now, what does the rest of 2020 hold for the band?
Mike Conner – Definitely releasing more singles, our next, “Insidious,” was just released. Touring is so up in the air, as with all bands in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. We do have a lot of shows on the books including Rock Fest 2020 in Cadott, Wisconsin with Disturbed headlining; that is slated for July 13th, hopefully that can still take place.
Cryptic Rock – Hopefully live shows do resume sooner than later. The new single is great too, shows even more diversity from the band. Last question. If you are a fan of Horror and Sci-Fi movies, what are some of your favorites and why?
Mike Conner – Personally, I am a Horror fan, yes. Sci-Fi depends on the movie. I thrive off of the darker side of life, and I am sure that is reflected in our music. As far as films go, the darker the better. I am a huge fan of the Rob Zombie movies – House Of 1000 Corpses (2003), The Devil’s Rejects (2005), his remake of Halloween (2007). I have yet to see 3 From Hell (2019), but I am anticipating it.