English indie rockers Mystery Jets have been building their success since their 2006 debut LP, Making Dens. Last year saw their fourth studio album, Radlands, even hit number 40 on the UK Albums Chart. Soon to release their first live LP to coincide with Record Store Day 2013, we asked guitarist William Rees a few quick questions. Fans of The Libertines and Pink Floyd should definitely take notice.
Q: Introduce your sound in five words…
A: Thats a hard question to answer…ok, i’d say our sound is a ‘roaming, restless rendez-vous of any/everything we’ve ever been through’… (thats 9 words, sorry)
Q: What can the fans expect from Mystery Jets in 2013?
A: Different Disguises.
Q: Which places or people inspired the songs on the Radlands album?
A: Austin, Texas was a huge influence on the songs of Radlands. It’s a liberal dot in the republican ocean of Texas and for about two months it became our home and writing spot. We knew we were looking for something before we headed out there, a certain unnameable that we could hear in early Neil Young records and the Mick Taylor Stones’ albums, but whether or not we ‘d find it we couldn’t be sure. Really, Austin and it’s colourful characters are the fabric that Radlands is printed upon, it offered itself as a context for our songs and when we finally realised that we were off and running with it.
Q: What is the most fun you’ve ever had writing a song? Either actually writing it or the situation that inspired it?
A: There’s so many occasions, it’s hard to pick one. Someone in our band thought it’d be a great idea to get bag pipes on our song Lorna Doone (off the Serotonin LP), so we googled bag pipe players in the London area and what walked through the door was a very lost looking young man who’d just clocked off from his stock-broking job in the city. He had his suit jacket tucked under one arm and an electric bag pipe in the other. After he’d showed us all his skills with a rendition of the Star Wars theme tune, we sent him to the recording booth and quickly realised that he was completely tone deaf. Not a single note he played was in tune. To add to this he kept popping into the loo’s and coming back with the sweats ( a mid-song snort we all presumed) until the last time when he emerged wearing a penguin mask. It was then that he played his part perfectly and disappeared into the night….£500 richer.
Q: Who has encouraged you the most to pursue a career in music?
A: Henry has been a huge part in that. From teaching us our first Buddy Holly renditions on spanish guitars to bank rolling early tours and releases before we got signed. Our management company Urok have been fantastic too, giving us great advice on our songs, remix/writing work and of course endless tours with some of our favourite bands.
Q: What advice could you give a young musician wanting to pursue a music career?
A: Work hard, regularly, play your ideas to friends, find the things that excite you the most and emulate them.
Q: What impact has touring had on your career?
A: I love touring, it’s like stepping onto a roller coaster, only it lasts for 3 weeks instead of 3 minutes.
Q: Which do you enjoy most - performing live or recording in the studio?
A: Both, when you’ve done enough of one it’s time to be doing the other and vice versa. Touring and recording are two sides of the same coin and they need each other.
Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
A: Turn your guitar down please.
Q: Which historical musical moment do you wish you were present for?
A: The Rolling Stones at Hyde park, with King Crimson in support.