Brighton-based singer Mike Rosenberg met his songwriting partner, guitar playing arranger and soundtrack composer Andrew Phillips, at a Free Burma Campaign benefit gig in London in 2002, when Mike was a tender 17. He had blagged a place in the line up and there he and Andrew bonded over a mutual love of hip hop and traditional country and folk....a strange combination with a great basis for an interesting new sound. And this is how Passenger were born.Five years later as their new single is about to be released and their debut album is just about finished we caught up with Mike and Andrew to see how things are going. How would you describe your sound?

Mike: It's pop music. Just simply great story-telling really. Are there any artists that you have been influenced by? M: Loads of different people really. I'd say Bob Dylan and The Smiths are two of the main ones. You bonded over a love of folk music. Would you that is evident in the Passenger sound?

M: Yes in the song writing aspect I would say it is. Old English and American folk has a lot of story-telling and that's what we like doing. What was it like recording your debut album?

M: It was birlliant. Quite an adventure too. Andrew has a studio in his loft so we spent a long long time working away there.
Andrew: We wanted to get it just write. We wanted it to sound contemporary. Classic song writing with a modern feel. So it took us a while to get the sound we wanted.

You're on tour at the moment. How's that going?

M: It's going brilliantly. We're just going round the country with a bunch of idiots so it's a great laugh.
A: It doesn't feel like a job. We've had some great gigs in Glasgow and Manchester so far. We're having a great time.

Are you looking forward to performing at V festival?

M: We can't wait. It should be really good. The line up is brilliant.

If you could create your own festival what would be your perfect artist line-up?

M: Arcade would definitely have to be there. And probably Ray Lamontagne, Amy Whinehouse is great too. And Turn- we've already mentioned them a lot in the past. We really like them.
A: Or just the line up of the Fuji Rock Festival in Japan.
M: Yes that would be the location if we could choose that too.

So as for the future, what are your ambitions?

M: To take over the world (laughs)
A: And then Mars too.
M: No seriously just to keep going like we are. Make another record and just build up on what we've got.
A: And just to keep having fun because it really doesn't feel like work at the moment. We are just writing songs and performing and all the stuff we love doing.

The new single 'Do What You Like' is out 2nd July.
The debut album 'Wicked Man's Rest' is released in September. You can listen to tracks from the album on the band's website now.

Caz Moss

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