Q&A with Mystery Jets
Artrocker have been longtime champions of the Eel Pie island originating band Mystery Jets. Natan Westley recently caught up with singer Blaine Harrison and drummer Kapil Trivedi to find out how their year has so far been.
How have you been? How are things?
Blaine: Really good, thanks. We’ve just come off a little tour, we’ve just got back from a tour of the semi-hemisphere; we were doing a string of dates in Asia, then Australia before doing a mental festival in Argentina. It had this crazy concept, where you had four stages with a different band on each stage and a big lighthouse in the middle, which would shine a light on one of the stages and the band would play a couple of songs, it would then go “woam, woam”.
Kapil: A bit like running man.
Blaine: It would then shine on a different stage and another band would pop up and play a couple of songs; you’ll go away, get a bit pissed and then come back on stage and play another two songs and so on; the idea was you would never know what band was going to be onstage. It was crazy.
It sounds a bit like Later with Jools Holland...
Kapil: A festival version with a big lighthouse.
Blaine: Crossed with Big Brother, crossed with the prisoner, crossed with the running man. The only way, people could get tickets to this festival was by buying packs of Chewing Gum; some had Gold tickets in them, so it was very Willy Wonka.
Artrocker: How have people been reacting to your latest record?
Blaine: It’s been cool; it’s been an interesting journey. We recorded it in Austin, Texas and it’s a very different sound for us; it’s also a different band, we have two new members as our previous bass player left. I think it’s probably been a little bit testing of our audience, which I think is never a bad thing. People turn up who don’t know the band that well, maybe turn up expecting to hear stuff from our previous records; which we don’t play anymore. Certain songs just don’t work together, so we’ve written a new set; I think that’s meant people are seeing us in a new and different light; one where we are at, Radlands is where we are at.
Most bands move on, they evolve musically and as a consequence of that the early stuff is left back in the past.
Blaine: I think evolution is essential; if you want to progress as an artist, if you just want to improve the music, you need to progress. We want out records to get better and better. In my opinion, we’ve never made the same record twice.
Kapil: We always try and do the opposite, of whatever the last record was.
Blaine: The problem with that, is you do get people going “oh, I like their old stuff’
Kapil: Yeah, but we don’t try and dumb it down, we respect their intelligence, we go out and do what we want and I think a lot of them enjoy it.
I think that if fans do go, you have to have the belief that new one’s will come in.
Blaine: The idea of a fanbase is that it’s always a very evolutionary process; there are people there who are there for the ride, they’re on the trains and they know where it is going.
Kapil: They’re going to do a couple of corkscrews and a loop, they’re there for it, there for the ups and the downs.
Blaine: There are other people who will jump off at the next station and there are other people who will jump on and that’s cool. When I was younger, I would be into a band for two or three years and then I’ll be into another band, I think that’s the nature of music.
Kapil: I do think that people’s attention spans are a lot shorter now and that probably is because of the internet.
Blaine: There is definitely the tendency to skip; to sort of hit the shuffle button and I think that perhaps means that the thing of making LP’s, Long Players will eventually become a lost art form and they won’t mean the thing they did. You’ll listen to side one, then two, three and then side four, now you won’t have to do that, you can skip. Maybe that will change. I know there are certain bands who are talking about only doing singles; I think that’s kind of interesting, Ash did that and I thought it was kind of a cool idea. Put out a single every two months, six singles a year.
And a compilation at the end of the year. ... so to finish up, what are your plans for the rest of the year?
Blaine: We’re touring right up to Christmas; it starts in November and takes in the UK and Europe. After Christmas we haven’t booked anything, so I think we’re going to wait and see what happens. More gigs might pop up, but we are going to build our own studio and then make some music, I have no idea what it’s going to sound like.