Realizing music was his calling when he joined his first band at 15, Mike Florio went on to study music formally. He always considered himself primarily a rock musician though, and was never too interested in classical music or jazz outside the classroom.
"When I was starting out I really just wanted to write songs and play in a rock band; but I also wanted to explore and study other musical disciplines and incorporate those elements that attracted me into my writing."
After many disappointing years of singing and playing keyboards with local bands, Mike finally decided to produce his own album. 'Arisen', released in 2006, is the result of that endeavor.
"As I got into my 30's and saw no apparent end to the frustration of trying to find the right musical situation, I started thinking about doing a solo album. I had recorded plenty of home and studio demos, but this was the late 90's, and producing a quality self-funded independent album was a new reality that I was well aware of, especially with the emerging presence of independent music on the internet. However, I was scared out of my mind, for once not having the security blanket of a band to hide under!"
Making 'Arisen' turned out to be a long and arduous process for Mike. Assembling a workable home studio and looking for the right musicians proved to be difficult.
"The whole affair was beset with many false starts and setbacks that I felt I would never overcome, including a fair amount of self-doubt and indecision on my part. In the end, I was very fortunate to find the people who made it all possible. Although it took seven years to complete the album, I'm hopeful that future releases will be easier to come by now that I have an infrastructure and process in place."
'Arisen' is a potent blend of progressive and classic rock, and has been very well received by the progressive rock community, garnering enthusiastic reviews and plenty of webradio play. Since then, Mike's music has appeared on two compilation albums: Christian Progressive Rock's CPR 3, which features a new song written specifically for the compilation, and the Progressive Rock Hall of Fame's Soundscapes 1.
In addition to writing and recording songs for his solo projects, Mike's musical endeavors have also taken him into exploring electronic, new age and film music.
"While I was working on 'Arisen', a friend recommended me to a local filmmaker who was looking for a composer to score his film. I took the job and soon after became enamored with the idea of becoming a film composer. I started to seriously study the craft - and the business - and look for opportunities to practice it. I was in a real creative phase, and did a lot of experimenting. Some pieces I did were for actual projects that I worked on, and others were done mainly for enjoyment. While I would still like to pursue film scoring, I've found it extremely difficult to find satisfying work, as the market is just over-saturated with talented composers these days. Also, there's only so much time available for networking, and sometimes the most I can do is just stay on top of my recording projects and album promotion. Such is the plight of the independent artist I guess."
Currently, Mike is hard at work in his personal studio in the suburbs of New York City, working on the follow-up release to 'Arisen'. He also is involved in collaborating with other artists on various recording projects.
"One thing I know I would like to eventually do is to get back into performing. I've been at the studio thing for so long now, and I really miss being in front of an audience. However, putting a band together is something I just don't have the resources for at the moment, so I'm open to various alternatives."