Canadian Bassist Mike Ayley from the double Platinum selling band Marianas Trench and his wife Emily recently released their Christmas single “The World Needs Christmas” via 604 Records and all streaming services. In a year filled with fear, anxiety and so many unknowns, Mike and Emily focus on the magic of the holidays, and why, now, more than ever The World Needs Christmas.
We had the opportunity to chat with Mike, about the inspiration behind the couple’s holiday single, what it was like working together, and what message they hope fans take from the track.
Kat: Can you share with us the inspiration behind your holiday single “The World Needs Christmas”? And how your wife Emily came to feature on the track?
Mike: Emily is from the USA. We live together in Vancouver now but since she moved here in 2018, we always made sure to get to New Jersey to see her family on a regular basis. However, with the giant curveball 2020 has presented to all of us, getting home to see her family has proven to be quite elusive. In the spring, we optimistically booked a trip for late summer but when yet another trip had to be cancelled, we decided to take that time and write “The World Needs Christmas”. Turning the disappointment and frustration into joy and creation was really satisfying and healing. That fact that Emily is a wonderful singer (although it sure puts the pressure on me to keep up) is reason enough to have her on the song but since her experience was really the inspiration for the song it was an obvious decision. We have both written songs of our own in the past. I’ve always been more of a music and melody guy and Emily is much stronger with lyric writing. So, the words you hear sung in the song are actually mostly hers. It really is a match made in heaven!
Kat: What did you learn from working with Emily, and did it change your creation process in any way?
Mike: Working with Emily is a very enjoyable, supportive and truly collaborative experience. We are open to each other’s input during the process. Sometimes songs and parts of songs come so quickly and easily as if from thin air or like rainfall. But most of the time you really need to meddle with a few sections, words or chord changes to make a song sound just right. It’s so valuable having fresh ears and honest feedback when trying to figure out what makes a song its strongest. I know Emily’s feedback is coming from a place a support and we both have the same goal. With Marianas Trench, it’s very different. Josh has such a clear vision of the MT songs that by the time the band is starting to record them most of the writing has already been done. Of course, sometimes we have input about arrangements, some words or what our particular instrument will play but overall it is a much smaller role that we play when it comes to creation.
Kat: What do you hope fans take away from the track?
Mike: We really wanted to write a song that people could relate to, that would leave them feeling optimistic and would inspire outward positivity and goodness. It really has been a long and trying year and we also want “The World Needs Christmas” to be a brief escape from everything surrounding us.
Kat: This single marks your first project outside of Marianas Trench, why did you feel like now was the right time to release new music?
Mike: Time and inspiration. I have tinkered with the idea of doing a few songs on my own before. However, I never had an opportunity where I wasn’t either constantly touring and promoting an MT album or recording one. When we first went into “Covid lockdown,” I thought this was going to come and go much more quickly than it has. So for the first couple of months, I was just passing the time with hobbies and distractions. By early June, as I saw that the current living and working situation was going to go on for an extended period of time, I decided it was time to work. I could finally really dig in deep and work on something creative for myself. It felt wonderful. I’m so happy right now. Having Emily’s encouragement and involvement has clearly shown to be a key missing ingredient for me in the past. She is passionate about singing, performing and songwriting as well and understands what it means to oneself. She is an incredible catalyst in the process for me.
Kat: What’s next?
Mike: We will see what the timeline allows for, but the inspiration continues to flow. Emily and I have been writing and recording other songs as well-and it’s not just a series of Holiday tunes-so, as closed as all of our lives currently seem to be, the future is wide open