WITH LOVE, FROM THE 55TH PARALLEL

 

     Mike Haggith is an original alternative/indie recording and performing artist, residing in the small northern mining town of Thompson, Manitoba. In the past, Haggith has called the Ontario cities of Sault Ste Marie and Windsor home. At thirty years old, Haggith is best-known for his distinctive musical delivery, complimented by heavily introspective lyrics. Writing largely from personal experience as a therapeutic outlet, his discography has traced the ups and downs of relationships, life events, and the hardships of living remotely. An avid writer, producer, and advocate for increased mental health support in Canada's remote northern and First Nations regions, the music of Haggith and his affiliated groups has reached the radio, television, and cinema.

 


THE COMPREHENSIVE HISTORY

 

The musical endeavors of Mike Haggith have been split into two distinctive eras, for the purposes of clarity and organization.

The Early Years refers to all efforts and achievements prior to 2011. The Modern Era encompasses all efforts from 01 January 2011 onward.

 


THE EARLY YEARS

 

     The era known as The Early Years refers to Haggith's musical endeavors prior to and including the 2010 calendar year. During this period of time, the majority of Haggith's solo output came by way of limited-pressing full-length cassette tapes. Though almost all of these efforts were considered proper album releases at the time, they are in no way comparable to his output post-2010, which has subsequently been dubbed The Modern Era.

 

     Mike Haggith wrote his first song before taking the training wheels off his bike. As interesting a factoid as that may be, it should probably be noted that he kept his training wheels on until age 9, and upon removing them, promptly crashed and had to go to the emergency room.

     Haggith's efforts as a recording artist officially began on 19 February 2005, with the recording of his debut full-length cassette tape, titled Demo. The album was recorded, in its entirety, live off the floor and onto a Pioneer tape deck with a single microphone. While the tape itself featured low audio quality, awkward vocal work, and a relatively poor command of the acoustic guitar, this effort at age 13 set the stage for all that would follow. By 2006, acoustic recordings began to give way to electric ones, as Haggith routinely found himself in the studio recording new original material. Between 2005 and 2008, all of Haggith's full-length solo efforts were recorded on cassette, receiving limited production, distribution, and promotion.

     In March 2006, Haggith joined S.C.A.R., a solo rock project founded by Dylon Rabidoux, and the two would go on to record a large collection of largely improvised full-length cassette albums over the next four years. The band never played a single live concert during this time, but would eventually take to the stage with an expanded lineup of musicians many years later.

     In the summer of 2007, Haggith co-founded The Air with Dylan Panek and Mike Angelini, creating a psychedelic jam rock group which focused heavily on recording instrumental blues and rock tracks. Despite their initial focus, the group occasionally released material with vocal work supplied predominantly by Haggith, the most popular being their seven-minute rocker The Alberta Cheesewagon, which was adapted from a poem he had penned by the same name. In December 2007, the group took to the stage for a three-minute live appearance to an audience of nearly 600, performing their new track The Blue Door. While the group remained active through 2008 and into 2009, undergoing a series of lineup and genre shifts, the group fell inactive roughly two years after its inception.

     In 2009, three solo Mike Haggith albums were recorded predominantly with analog equipment, with the resultant tapes subsequently being layered and mixed digitally. The initial push toward a future in which his solo records would be exclusively recorded and produced in the digital sphere was marked by the releases of these three records; The Curse Was The Cure, I Hate My Life And I Want To Die, and Hotel For Transients. In terms of his overall solo output, these three full-length albums marked Haggith's 37th, 38th, and 39th releases respectively. Despite their newer production techniques, sound quality was still found to be somewhat lacking, and they enjoyed very modest, limited success as a result.

     The 2010 calendar year brought with it a further shift toward the digital production realm, with S.C.A.R. leading the charge. Not long before expanding the group's lineup for future live work, Haggith and Rabidoux set out to record their first fully digital full-length album. After two months of studio time, the duo released what would become their final studio album, The 13th Circle Of Hell. The summer season also saw the birth of a new project, namely The Thorns. Founded by Haggith and Jeff Morrell as an alternative jam rock project, the group recruited percussionist Tyler Colley and lead guitarist Donald Costin, though eventual member turnover saw Justin Hoadley briefly take on the role. While the group's plans included live concerts and studio recordings, neither came to be, and the group entered hiatus after only a handful of months of activity. On the personal front, Haggith had commenced sessions for a new solo record, and after relocating to Sault Ste Marie, ON, opted to credit the release to The Thorns in an effort to preserve the band and its recognition. In December 2010, at the age of 19, Haggith released the album Laps In A Lake Of Fire, thus marking the final effort of The Early Years.

 


THE MODERN ERA

 

     The Modern Era refers to the entirety of Haggith's musical endeavors from January 2011 onward. During this period of time, Haggith's solo records were recorded and produced strictly in the digital realm, and his bands and collaborative efforts enjoyed significantly more popularity than in years past.

 

     The commencement of The Modern Era of Haggith's musical career was marked by the 03 January 2011 release of his 43rd official studio effort, Suspended Animation. Less than one month after the release of the record, Haggith released a single titled Limb Coast, which wouldn't find a home on an album until October 2012's Neighborhood Watch. A relatively slow year musically, sporadic solo concert appearances at The Outback on the Sault College Campus and a handful of S.C.A.R. concerts in Windsor, ON with a newly-expanded four member lineup marked the extent of his musical activities, save for a few private recording sessions for tracks which would largely go unreleased.

     In early 2012, a brief return trip to Windsor, ON set the stage for The Thorns to take the stage for a one-off reunion concert at The FM Lounge. However, rather than featuring the full band lineup, Haggith and Morrell performed alongside a rhythm section of session musicians. S.C.A.R. performed a short set later the same night, best remembered for an extended version of their haunting original The Trip which ran for nearly ten minutes and featured multiple saxophone solos. While the performance was filmed, the tape was lost in transit, and no surviving film or audio from the show in question is known to survive. Eager to form or join a band in Sault Ste Marie, as the extent of his local performances had been strictly solo in nature, Haggith sought out a group of musicians and found himself auditioning for guitarists Daniel Horton and Curtis McKenzie in May 2012. After a successful audition, Haggith was hired on as the group's percussionist and the trio shifted their focus toward recording their debut album. After some deliberation, Horton and McKenzie moved to name the group HAGGITH and after some time, the name stuck. On the solo front, Haggith had been working toward recording another solo record to follow the success of Suspended Animation, and on 07 October 2012, both were released simultaneously; his solo effort Neighborhood Watch hit store shelves alongside HAGGITH's Dragon Joy Ride. The late period of the 2012 calendar year saw HAGGITH stray into experimental territory, as the now four-piece outfit released their first concept album, Apocalypse, in November, and shifted their focus toward an expanded live concert schedule.

     The first half of 2013 largely consisted of regular HAGGITH concerts and the birth of the band's first spinoff group, Mike Haggith And The Din. Performing improvised acid jazz renditions of Haggith's solo material while featuring prominent members of the HAGGITH lineup in shifted instrumental roles, the group eventually came to record two full-length studio albums, both improvised and taped live-in-studio, as well as one live record. While the group maintained some popularity amongst a small fanbase, the main group HAGGITH received much of the members' focus due to its continued upward trajectory. May 2013 saw the release of the band's next studio album Deuce, and Haggith's next solo record just four days later, being The Present Din. While Haggith's vision for his studio material was initially to provide a softer outlet in contrast to the output from his rock group, this latest solo effort was notoriously marred by flat vocal work, and failed to enjoy the same success and recognition as Neighborhood Watch. In fact, the record was so poorly received, that Haggith quickly returned to the studio to record its successor, releasing Neighborhood Watch II: Where It Ends a mere four months later. Critical and public reception of this effort was far more positive than that for its predecessor, and sales for the record outpaced those of the original Neighborhood Watch.

     As the 2013 calendar year began to draw to a close, Haggith teamed up with James Watterworth and Chase Wigmore to form the popular improv jam rock trio Strange Coyotes, who recorded their debut studio album at PaperClip Productions that November. With interest in HAGGITH beginning to decrease amongst band members, the group opted to host a farewell concert on 07 December 2013. Performing to a near-capacity crowd at The Algonquin Pub in Sault Ste Marie, HAGGITH took the stage for a blistering set of material which inadvertently ran until 2:27 AM, far past the planned end time, and saw a venue filled with smoke from the sound tech's fog machines, venue security trying desperately (yet unsuccessfully) to shut off power to the sound board, altercations between security and fans who wanted the show to continue, and eventually, the destruction of Horton's lead guitar by his own hand on the stage floor of the venue. Pieces of the instrument were given to fans of the group after the conclusion of the show. The group officially took up an inactive status at the end of the concert.

     February 2014 saw Haggith's departure from Strange Coyotes, as he took the opportunity to commence work on a new solo record. Three months later, on 10 May 2014, A Place Of Our Own was released, marking his 48th career studio release. On the same date, HAGGITH officially resumed activity, and both the group and solo artist performed at the fourth annual Swampstravaganza concert in downtown Sault Ste Marie, ON. While the group would commence recording sessions for a new full-length studio album titled XIV, those efforts would eventually not yield the expected result. Lineup changes at the bass guitar position saw the enlistment of a few temporary members before Jordan Leach was hired into the spot on a full-time basis toward the end of the year. Meanwhile, A Place Of Our Own continued to receive support, leading Haggith to be featured on Noxtrom TV's primetime talk show Betty On The Go the month after its release, in which he joined host Betty Gudel at the station's Windsor, ON studio for a half-hour live broadcast segment which ended with a solo performance of the record's lead single, "This Potato May Be Used As A Flotation Device." The remainder of the 2014 summer season was shared between live concerts and studio obligations with HAGGITH. On the morning of 15 September 2014, a series of personal events resulted in Haggith temporarily stepping back from all musical endeavors, and enrolling in a group course to study the tenets of cognitive behavioral therapy. At the end of the course, Haggith returned to all current endeavors, and in November 2014, Strange Coyotes were resurrected from hiatus for a series of live concert appearances.

     While the second active run of Strange Coyotes featured a heavy concert schedule, newfound appreciation for their 2013 debut studio album among fans, and plans to record a follow-up studio effort, the band inexplicably fell inactive again in February 2015, leading Haggith to allocate all spare resources to the production of a new solo record, heavily inspired by the series of personal events which took place in September 2014. As his vision for what would become The Warrenside began to take shape, HAGGITH's planned XIV record became a four-track EP after the abrupt departure of guitarist Horton, and the group's final full-length release would eventually be Apocalypse II, the underrated sequel album to 2012's Apocalypse. The departure of Horton from HAGGITH also saw him step down from Mike Haggith And The Din, enlisting percussionist Brandan Glew in his place. As the new Din took shape, the group slowly strayed into the sphere of power pop, and became the de facto backing band for Haggith's solo endeavors, which were gaining notoriety in the months leading up to the release of The Warrenside in July. By the time of The Warrenside's release, the remaining members of HAGGITH had opted to disband due to waning public support and lack of desire to continue with the project. While Mike Haggith And The Din gained some finite popularity in the summer of 2015, by September the decision to relieve McKenzie of his duties was made, and the band hired guitarist Tammy Hill in his place, making her live debut with the band at a private function on 10 November 2015.

     Within a few Din concerts featuring Hill on lead guitar, the popularity of the group began to skyrocket within local circles. By the end of the 2015 calendar year, the group had rebranded simply to The Din, to denote the complete shift in sound and direction from previous iterations of the band. As the group rose in prominence, Haggith opted to shelf his solo endeavors and write original music for the band alongside Hill and Glew. The group's debut studio album Give In To The Din was released on 12 August 2016 at the height of their summer concert season, at a special album release concert which the band booked at the Tech Theatre in downtown Sault Ste Marie, ON for a paid crowd of 335 concertgoers. The record came as the result of approximately 1000 hours of studio time, and the tireless efforts of producer Daniel Schmidt of Pretoria Hill Productions. Behind the scenes, music from Give In To The Din and The Warrenside were in the process of being added to Noxtrom Film Studios' debut full-length film Ashes Of K, and would eventually go on to comprise nearly the entire film soundtrack.

     As the film began to screen across the United States and win its share of awards, The Din remained busy in Ontario. Starting the 2017 calendar year with a special showcase concert in Toronto before returning back to Sault Ste Marie to resume their busy local concert schedule, the trio found themselves hard at work creating a new set of original material for what would eventually make up their second studio album. While the band continued to perform a full concert schedule throughout the majority of the calendar year, they returned to Pretoria Hill Productions, the studio owned and operated by Daniel Schmidt, in the summer of 2017 to record a series of demo tracks for the planned sophomore effort. However, not long after the conclusion of these recording sessions, the group publicly announced plans to release their second and final studio album and disband after one final farewell concert, all of which was planned for 21 October 2017. As promised, The Din released Suburban Dream at their farewell concert, which had been dubbed the Suburban Sendoff- a nod to the album title, the fact that the concert was the band's final sendoff, and also in reference to Haggith's imminent departure, as he was less than one week away from relocating from Sault Ste Marie, ON to Thompson, MB. The farewell concert saw the band's favorite lounge packed to capacity for an electrifying performance which spanned 19 songs, including a triple-encore followed by an unplanned additional curtain call, and the last-minute addition of a Tragically Hip cover, out of respect for the recently deceased Gord Downie. While the band took up an inactive status at the conclusion of the concert, the group continues to maintain limited online activity, making public a sizeable amount of previously unreleased content including live videos, live albums, expanded remasters of their studio endeavors, vault photos, and more.

     On 28 October 2017, Haggith began the three-day relocation process to his new home in Thompson, MB. Not long after arriving, he resurrected his solo career and began writing a new record centered around his feelings of isolation, loneliness, and hope for a better future. The sessions would eventually culminate in the ten-track Bridges album, with production handled by Justin Sobey of Lionheart Audio. While these formal recording sessions were underway and the record was beginning to take shape, Haggith was hired as a guitarist and percussionist for Between The Ditches, a country/rock band whose primary focus was the adaptation of cover songs into unique arrangements for live performance. As the band took to the stage around the city performing a myriad of high-profile appearances, Haggith's solo endeavors gained new recognition as well, exemplified by his headlining solo concert appearance on the outdoor stage of the 2018 Nickel Days Festivities- an appearance which spawned his first live solo album release in over four years, From The Nickel Stage. In anticipation of the release of Bridges in 2019, Haggith released The Nature Of The Times, the record's first advance single, in November 2018. An instant favorite among listeners, the song became Haggith's first to be featured in a music video, which was filmed by Dag Deschambeault of Natural Aspects Promotions and premiered on 03 January 2019. With local media outlets taking notice of the impending album, the extensive backstory of Bridges was highlighted by a lengthy piece in the city's main newspaper, The Thompson Citizen. Furthermore, The Nature Of The Times was played on local radio station 102.9 CHTM FM, alongside a five-minute interview segment in which Haggith discussed the inspiration for the record and its creative direction.

     While two more advance singles from Bridges were released in early 2019, the full album suffered a series of mixing and mastering delays. However, Between The Ditches' regular concert schedule kept Haggith active through the summer season. Eager to introduce the material from Bridges to longtime listeners and fans in Sault Ste Marie, Haggith travelled to perform an unplugged concert alongside fellow solo artist Jacob Quarrell on 10 August 2019 at OutSpoken Brewing in downtown Sault Ste Marie, ON. During this brief stay in the Algoma region, Haggith experienced a series of personal events which drastically shifted his personal and musical focus, and he returned to Thompson to spearhead sessions for a brand-new solo album, If Ever Comes The Day. Writing for this record was largely conducted at the whim of a newly found toxic relationship, the story of which was eventually told in painstaking detail with the release of the record on 15 May 2020. While Between The Ditches, evolving with a series of lineup changes through the end of 2019, had begun performing Haggith's new material during their live appearances, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020 led the band to what eventually became a permanently inactive status. To compensate for his inability to perform live in the face of countless lockdowns and gathering restrictions, Haggith launched a livestreaming series on Facebook branded Lockdown Live, which ran once weekly for nearly four months, coinciding with the height of the COVID-19 outbreak in Canada. Each show carried with it a specific theme, including profiling past affiliated bands, solo endeavors, and even a life story told through the lens of cover songs. While the series was relatively popular with new and longtime listeners alike, the series ended after its 13th episode due to a loosening of lockdown restrictions.

     With the release of If Ever Comes The Day, Haggith's 50th solo studio effort and his first in almost five years, his popularity as an artist continued to rise. Featured in outlets across North America, including various print publications and broadcast media, the record became Haggith's best-selling solo endeavor thus far. The release and reception of If Ever Comes The Day also provided Sobey and Haggith ample time behind the scenes to polish the Bridges record in a way that none of its predecessors had. While the 2021 calendar year was relatively quiet publicly, work behind the scenes included mixing and mastering of Bridges, the streamlining and optimization of Haggith's social media outlets, and the design of a brand-new website dedicated to his endeavors as a musical artist. On 12 August 2021, commemorating the five-year anniversary of the Give In To The Din album release, The Din announced the planned release of a Deluxe Edition of Give In To The Din, as well as the planned release of the concert's live tape, titled Technically Live. The Deluxe Edition of the band's debut studio effort was officially released on 23 October 2021 by MorningStar Studios, and the release of Technically Live has been said to follow by the end of 2021. On 06 November 2021, on Haggith's 30th birthday, Bridges was surprise-released worldwide by MorningStar Studios, being made available for online streaming, digital download, purchase on CD, and LP. His 51st career release and first to be pressed to vinyl, the release of Bridges was accompanied by the surprise launch of www.mikehaggith.com, Haggith's long-awaited official artist website.

 

And thus ends the story.. for now.