Indieterria meets MOLLYANNA

Dear readers,

We having a lovers’ quarrel  with Google. Why? Because for reasons unknown the interview with Sheffield`s mighty MOLLYANNA was directed into a spam folder where it stayed for few good weeks before we finally realised. This post should have been online in September! Sometimes, there is little we can do to avoid technology being annoying. So big apologies to the band.

Don’t you worry, Google will be punished accordingly (we now see our emails via Outlook) and you dear readers can finally enjoy the wonderful interview with Bernadette Dales – singer and front woman of the band.

We spoke about their upcoming  album “Archaeology”, their inspirations, writing process and who they would like to record with.  Read on.

 

MOLLYANNA logo

Bernadette Dales (vox)
Mike Hukins (guitar)
Josh Roberts (bass)
Laura Moakes (drums)

Official bio:
Beauty can emerge from the most chaotic places – this is something singer Bernadette Dales and guitarist Mike Hukins know very well. During their decade long friendship they have stitched together their disparate and contradictory influences to form rock music that is at once wild, vulnerable and volatile. Their opposition is a clear influence in their latest collection of songs, which deal with nostalgia, destruction, and the hardest kinds of relationship.

MOLLYANNA have spent most of 2019 in the studio. Their new album “Archaeology” is about the year singer Bernadette spent in therapy dealing with the after-effects of abuse. “In my first session, my therapist warned me that it would feel worse before it started to feel better, and sure enough, for a while it felt like Pandora’s box had opened in my brain and all these demons had spilled out onto my brain. The songs on Archaeology are my attempt at dealing with each one.” In May 2019 the band launched their first ever crowdfunding campaign to help them cover the costs of making the record. Fans jumped at the chance to pre-order the record, as well as many other unique and limited edition items – smashing the band’s initial target in just three days. The campaign’s success was down to the raw and honest way MOLLYANNA told their story. MOLLYANNA are proof that beauty can emerge from the most chaotic of places, which is something singer Bernadette and guitarist Mike know very well. During their friendship, they have stitched together their contradictory influences to create alternative music that is deep, dark and wild. The pair began MOLLYANNA as a duo in 2016, but since then, with the help of bassist Joshua Roberts and drummer Laura Moakes, they have grown into an alt-rock band unlike any other. Their music is for the outsiders – those on the fringes with a story to tell.

MOLLYANNA photographed by Mal Whichelow
https://www.facebook.com/malwhichelowphotography/

MOLLYANNA is one of the leading alternative bands in Sheffield area. Their first EP “Ghosts” came out in 2016 and quickly caught attention of gig goers and local radio DJs. Their singles “Louder” and “Thief” established band`s position as a must see indie act. They have been consistently championed by BBC Introducing Sheffield and recently were even invited to the studio to play an acoustic session for the Beeb. No wonder the excitement for their new record is building. The band`s front woman Bernadette Dales is eloquent and speaks in details. Not always we have such a pleasure to interview artists who will patiently answer all the tricky questions we throw at them. It was such a pleasure to hear all the facts and stories from the studio. This is what we found out ahead of the record release:

Please introduce yourself to the readers of Indieterria. 

Bernadette Dales: Hey, I’m Bernadette and I’m the front-person of alt-rock band MOLLYANNA

Where are you based and who is in the band?

Bernadette Dales: We’re from Sheffield (UK), and we have Laura on drums, Josh on bass, Mike on guitar and I make mouth noise at the front.

Tell us something about the project – are there any goals that you managed to achieve to date?

Bernadette Dales: We’re about to release our 7-track record on November 1, which we’re pretty excited about. Earlier this year we launched a pre-order campaign to help us fund the recording, and we reached the target in just three days! That was surreal. We ended up reaching 208% overall over the month. 4 of the tracks have been produced by Mark Mynett of Kill II This, and then there are three live tracks too, produced by Nathan Bailey and Mike Hukins himself. It’s a really ambitious record, with orchestral strings, percussion, animated and live action music videos. This year has been so busy but so much fun. I can’t wait to show everyone what we’ve been up to behind the scenes.

What inspires you? What artists or genres had the biggest influence on you?

Bernadette Dales: The obvious influence would be Incubus, I guess! A lot of people ask where our name came from and it’s from their track “Anna Molly”. They were definitely the biggest influence on me growing up and deciding what musical direction we should go in. I think that’s really clear in songs like “Playing Dead”, which came out on October 4. I also love artists like Alanis Morrissette, and the lyrical genius of hip-hop artists like Lauryn Hill. Mike has some very different influences to me, he’s very much into his proggy, math rock stuff. During this album, he was listening to a lot of Porcupine Tree and Plini.

Ready for action. Photo by Mal Whichelow
https://www.facebook.com/malwhichelowphotography/

It’ all about the music – and we want to hear your tunes and how they have been written.

Bernadette Dales: We have a few tracks out already on streaming platforms, and there’s more coming out very soon! I think the best way to describe how Mike and I make music would be “fragmented”. It’s like we each come up with different jigsaw pieces and then meet up and try to fit them together to make a complete picture. Except there’s no box to work from. And some of the pieces are from a different puzzle. Does that make sense? I think this analogy might have fallen apart. Sometimes Mike starts with a riff or chord progression and I’ll fit something over it and send it back, other times I’ll have a tune or some lyrics stuck in my head and I’ll send it to him to see if he can make sense of it. Once all the parts are there we go over it with the whole band to polish it and make it cohesive.

Name your best song. Is there a story behind it?

Bernadette Dales: This is hard, because I know everyone in the band has a different idea of what the best song is! I think mine would be Archaeology, which is also the name of the album. It’s about the year I spent in therapy dealing with the after-effects of abuse. In my first session, my therapist warned me that it would feel worse before it started to feel better, and sure enough, for a while it felt like Pandora’s box had opened in my brain and all these demons had spilled out onto my brain. The track “Archaeology” is about that process of therapy and digging up the past.

How do you create your unique sound? What gear are you using?

Bernadette Dales: I think the uniqueness of our sound ultimately comes from the melting pot of ideas we have. Mike and I are the main songwriters and our influences are quite drastically different a lot of the time. When they merge together we manage to make some really cool stuff – it’s almost prog rock. As a vocalist, I like to bring out the different colours in my voice – I’m not afraid to sound ugly or creepy. There’s some weird whispered backing vocals in our next single to look out for.

In terms of gear, we’re not really a tech band to be honest. Mike has the usual guitar distortion/delay pedals, Josh has a 5-string bass to get the extra beefy riffs in and Laura is sponsored by Meinl for her kit. I just show up and sing.

“Bleach” single sleeve
Artwork by Joshua Roberts https://www.facebook.com/joshua.roberts.988

Are you touring? Where can we see you play live?

Bernadette Dales: We have a few dates in the diary for Autumn, and we’re hoping to get a proper tour together for early 2020 (follow us on the socials for updates on that!). Our next gig is November 1 at Record Junkee in Sheffield, which is also our album launch show. We have tickets available on our website, so please come! After that we have Leeds on December 4, Chesterfield on December 7, and Whitchurch on December 14. All the details are on our website.

If any bookers or promoters want to get in touch – what is the best way to contact you?

Bernadette Dales: They can get in touch over at www.facebook.com/mollyannaband or at mollyannaband@gmail.com

Imagine you can record an album with any producer, dead or alive in a studio of your choice. Who would be on your record?

Bernadette Dales: (laughing) Tupac!

The sleeve to “Playing Dead” single.

“Archaeology” will come out on November 1st 2019 and is promoted by two singles: “Bleach” and “Playing Dead”. The band is often described as “alternative rock” but you will find MOLLYANNA to be so much more than your average “female – fronted” rock act. For starters Bernadette`s voice range is absolutely incredible – from a whisper and delicate, nearly ethereal vocals to proper screams. The band is not far behind her with powerful riffs ranging from psychedelia to grunge and match rock. There is something in MOLLYANNA that reminds us of Soeur, or to aim much higher – of Veruca Salt and ExHex. There are melodic lines that could make Sleater Kinney jealous and lyrics that would make Mary Timony or Kristin Hersh proud.

If not this record, then the next will take MOLLYANNA from your local venues to Maida Vale for a session. If we don’t hear them on BBC 1 Rock Show in the new year we will eat a bowl of hot chilli sauce. It’s a promise.

Actually, we will do what Daniel P. Carter once said on air:  hey labels– sign this band. You can thank us later.

 

You can follow Mollyanna on their socials at:

https://www.facebook.com/mollyannaband/
http://mollyannaband.com/
https://www.instagram.com/mollyannaband/
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPu-pyDWaTucmkplcZvW6AQ

That`s all from us read readers. As usual – if you dig the music, go and see the band or support them in any way you can.

We will be back with more bangers.

Mal+Rita

Indieterria meets The Cosmics

Dear Readers,

The Cosmics has been shaping West Midlands music scene for three years now. They announced their arrival on the local scene with a punkadelic anthem “Johnny” and do not show any signs of slowing down. It does not happen often that so early in their career a band will achieve best of both worlds – cult status in their home town and respect of their musical peers.Ask anyone in West Midlands and they will tell you – The Cosmics are unlike any other band. Not only in sound but how quickly they progress from one stage to another, like they have found a secret formula to make it in the music business. We can only think of one other act in the last four years with such distinctiveness, influence and uniqueness – The Blinders.

This blog will be longer than others – that is because we wanted to do a proper introduction to the band. We interviewed them, we went to see them on their first European tour and gathered some press coverage of their debut EP.

Ladies and Gentlemen of the indie circuit – please meet a trio that will define the future of music in the UK – The Cosmics.

**** The interview ****

Before the band travelled abroad to play shows in The Netherlands, Belgium and France, we have sat down with bassist and vocalist Erin Grace to talk about the band`s Glastonbury appearance, their EP and working on exclusive pressings of their singles via Flying Vinyl. This is what Erin told us:

The Cosmics photographed by Psychedelic Eye
https://www.facebook.com/psychedelic.eye.photography

Many bands claim that they are as close as relatives. You don’t have to – you are one very talented family.  Please introduce yourself to the readers of Indieterria.

Erin Grace:  Thank you! We are Erin Grace (bass/vocals), Connor Boyle (guitar) and Danny Boyle (drums).

The Cosmics formed in 2015 and within one year gathered incredible support. In 2017 BBC Introducing invited you to play their stage at the biggest festival of all – Glastonbury. Tell us how do you remember that show?

Erin Grace:  Glastonbury was an unforgettable dream come true, it felt very surreal, being on stage, there was huge  feelings of excitement, it’s something we always dreamt of but never thought would happen when we first started the band.

Since Glasto you have been going from strength to strength – the list of your achievements is longer than  life span of many indie acts: rave reviews from Steve Lamacq and Hugh Stephens, radio play on BBC 1, BBC 6, Amazing Radio, Radio X, coverage from BBC Introducing West Midlands. You played Isle of Wight and Reading Festival.  Your ascent to veterans of indie circuit was swift. Do you feel overwhelmed by your own success?

Erin Grace:  We don’t feel overwhelmed by anything, we just appreciate every opportunity we’ve had and we’re grateful for this journey as a band.

You shared stages with Starcrawler, Surfbort, The Murder Capital, Goat Girl and Birmingham finest -Table Scraps. Its equivalent of playing in Premier League of Indie Circuit. Do you book your own shows or do you prefer to use agents or external promoters?

Erin Grace: It depends what kind of show we’re going for, we love DIY shows and we also use promoters that suit us. Sometimes we book our own shows, though if we’re supporting a band or playing outside of Birmingham, we use promoters.

We have to ask you about your unique stage dress code: vintage dresses or costumes inspired by 60s and 70s have become your trademark. You have also been included in Fred Perry Subculture series.  How important is stage attire to you and was this aspect of your shows something that you wanted to explore?

Erin Grace:  Outfits are relatively important, they can express a mood or an era, we all love vintage fashion too so it just feels natural to wear what we love.

Your debut single “Johnny” came out in 2017 on Flying Vinyl – a company specializing in limited releases on vinyl. You returned to working with them last year when you took part in Flying Vinyl`s first compilation “Paranoid Futures”.  We would love to hear how your collaboration began?

Erin Grace:  Flying Vinyl approached us a few years ago when “Johnny” first came put and ever since, we love what they do!

The Cosmics ready for action – photography by Jessica H_Ingram
https://www.facebook.com/jessicahingramphotography

You just released your debut EP. It was recorded by Rory Attwell (Palma Violets, The Vaccines) and produced by Andy ‘Hippy’ Baldwin (Sundara Karma, The Orb, Blur, Oasis). You got to work with some established names. Where was it recorded and how long it took for the EP to be finished?

Erin Grace:  The EP was released on 13th June and we recorded it all in London, we went to record on few separate occasions over the course of a year so each song was written at a different time.

You also launched the EP in London. How did that go?

Erin Grace:  The EP launch went better than we expected, it was great having our friends on the line up. The show was a lot of fun and The Old Blue Last is a great venue.

The record is promoted by single “Eyes” and a very curious video. Cyclops on skateboards. Please tell us where did you film the video. Some part of it look like Digbeth. Who directed it?

Erin Grace:  We filmed everything for the “Eyes” music video in Birmingham, some bits in the city centre and others in suburban areas. Our drummer Danny directed it and filmed the video.

Before “Eyes”, you released “Trust Is Blind”.  We really want to know the story behind this song. In the video you look like a character from Lynch movie – you smile to the camera and yet the viewer has a feeling that any given moment you will break into tears. Then in a blink, you charge on stage where you tear down the decorations in a  fury that would suit Courtney Love at the heights of her Hole days. Like to keep your viewers on their toes?

Erin Grace:  “Trust is Blind” surrounds themes of betrayal and dishonesty, it’s about trust being broken. Yeah, we wanted to add twist into this track, we enjoy experimenting with noise.

We are hearing that the EP has been selling well and you got played on legendary American radio KEXP. So where do The Cosmic go from here? Any plans for the future?

Erin Grace:  We plan to keep gigging in cities and countries we’ve never played before and we’ll continue to make new music!

You can follow the band on their socials:

https://www.facebook.com/thecosmicsband
https://twitter.com/thecosmicsband
https://www.instagram.com/thecosmicsuk/
https://thecosmicsuk.bandcamp.com/
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCx3KjGaX2RJvXI5e7nljvGA
https://soundcloud.com/user-838453312
https://open.spotify.com/artist/0aocL5HcJzJlZJtAZH6caL?si=OYgzbMbGTZ-TwFXsFRmQ7Q

 

 **** The EP ****

The Cosmics presenting cover and the vinyl of their debut EP

The self titled debut EP has gathered rave reviews across the industry. These are just some of the reactions that we have gathered for the purpose of this blog. There are many more out there ranging from big established brands (The Clash Magazine) to local newspapers and blogs (Birmingham Review, Independent Music News), radio stations (Brum Radio, BBC West Midlands, BBC Introducing). The EP received airplay from Steve Lamacq (BBC 6 Music), Huw Stephens (BBC Radio 1), X Radio, Amazing Radio, KEXP in US among others. No management, no booker, no label or radio plugger. Just the strength of their music.

Front cover of the EP and A side of the vinyl pressing.

The Clash Magazine:
“New cut “Eyes” is a short, sharp shock, driven by that urgent vocal and those taut guitar lines. The sound of The Cosmics thrashing away in the unholy night, it carries some uncanny reverberations. Tune in now.”
https://www.clashmusic.com/news/the-cosmics-rev-it-up-on-eyes

Circuit Sweet:
“Lead single “Eyes”, taken from the self-titled record,  perfectly encapsulates the kind of 60’s beat that The Cosmics perform with such perfect refrain before collapsing almost entirely into a much more modern take on the garage-fuzz sound. Addictively catchy, the band walk the line between surf and noise effortlessly while showcasing a raw talent for song writing”.
https://circuitsweet.co.uk/2019/04/brand-new-garage-fuzz-from-birminghams-the-cosmics-debut-ep-announced-for-june/

The vinyl pressing of the EP

The 405:
“On this release they’ve perfectly captures the debauchery of their live performances”
https://www.thefourohfive.com/music/article/the-cosmics-capture-the-youthful-grit-and-glamour-of-their-sound-in-the-video-for-eyes-405-premiere-155

Backseat Mafia:
“The thing about The Cosmics is they’ve mastered sounding like they’re from the 60s girl band sound, strained through a messy, edgy garage punk filter. That’s because they have the melodies at heart that could have made it onto a classic soul all-nighter, but instead of organ and bass, they’ve got this frayed guitar sound that leaks feedback and lashes itself to the track. Brilliant stuff.”
http://www.backseatmafia.com/track-the-cosmics-drained/

Travellers Tunes:
“The immediacy of the record is undeniable. Singer Erin Grace co-opts a Shangri-La’s vocal for the verse before effortlessly sliding into a furious punk rock delivery in the chorus.”
https://travellerstunes.com/review/thecosmics-drained

Back cover of the EP and B side of the vinyl pressing.

**** The Tour ****

Before going abroad, The Cosmics played dates in Birmingham, London, Glasgow and Manchester.  As we had to go to continental Europe for a bit ourselves, we have decided to catch up with the band on the road and bring you an exclusive coverage of their gigs though videos and photos. This is what we have found and you can judge for yourselves that The Cosmics had a lot of fun! Tours can be great!

Tour poster

On 20th of June, The Cosmics travelled to Ghent in Belgium to participate in Girls Go Boom, a one day festival organised at a popular Muziekcentrum KinkyStar. Located in the historical (and tourist) city centre of Ghent, the venue has a capacity of 80 people and is known for supporting independent and emerging acts, not only local to Belgium but also from all over the world. In the last two years, nearly 100 bands from Europe, Canada, USA and Australia played at the Kinky Star and majority of their shows are sold out. Manchester darlings, WITCH FEVER (whom we have seen recently at the Albert Square during Manchester International Festival alongside The Pagans SOH and The Blinders) performed for Girls Go Boom in October 2018 and completely blew the audience away. We had a pleasure to speak to one of the organisers of the festival and we were told that the team are big fans of indie/post punk music from the UK. The Cosmics were chosen as their songs caught the team’s eye (and the ear as well) while browsing the newest releases on BandCamp. It is worth adding that Girls Go Boom book only female fronted and fully female bands (including LGBTQ+ artists who identify as females). They are the only promoter in Belgium who does it and their shows comes with a set of quite obvious rules. They include no homophobia, no racism and no sexism, girls in the front, safe space for sexual and racial minorities and no patriarchal bullshit. Everyone is cordially invited  – men, women, non binary or gender fluid persons. Their motto is “It doesn’t matter who you are, you will always be among friends”. We can only applaud their initiative as it was one of the nicest, safest shows we have seen in a long time. The venue was packed to the last place, everybody danced (and pogo’ed), drank beer, sang and had a lovely time. And there was no pushing, no shouting, no aggression, the photographers could work uninterrupted without fear of having their equipment destroyed. Every gig goer received a complimentary badge at the door and the entry was free. We need something similar in the UK as some of the gigs we go to are a parade for bullies and football hooligans. Organisations such as Safe Gigs For Women are doing a splendid job but there is a long road ahead of us.

The Cosmics performed alongside Piss KittiVaginas, what else?, Dragon’s Daughters, DJ’s MOSHI MOSHI and Melissa Juice. Their show started exactly at 22:00 CET (21:00 UK time) and lasted about 40 minutes. The band played their recent singles “Trust Is Blind” and “Eyes” along with fan favourites: “Cundy Come Down” and “Brainfuzz” taken off their self titled debut EP. “Velma”, “Johnny”, “I Quit” and “Inishfree” filled the rest of the set.

It was wild and energetic ride, filled with solid dose of sound distortion and vibrations. Lead singer, Erin Grace, is known for her expressive performance and we could see her falling to her knees, bashing the strings of her bass like her life depended on it and move as in a trance. Twin brothers, Conor (guitar) and Danny Boyle (drums) were closely following Erin’s trail with thunderous beat and aggressive riffs. And the crowd loved every minute of the spectacle, responding with admiration to each song. At the end, the Birmingham based trio received a standing ovation and many cheers for the show. Judging by the reactions, The Cosmics have bright future in front of them. If you haven’t seen them yet, please do as they are on rise and soon they will be playing big stages instead of intimate venues.

 

You can learn more about Kinky Star at: http://www.kinkystar.com/media.php
and Girls Go Boom Festival at: https://www.girlsgoboom.com/0

The performance was live streamed on Kinky’s Star website and you can watch it at: https://www.facebook.com/MuziekcentrumKinkyStar/videos/487192875376482/

Two days later, on 21st of July, we met with the band again, this time in Antwerp. They were about to play another EU show at an independent venue called Cafe Cabron. Sadly, we couldn’t stay for the gig itself, but we have taken them for a small photo shoot around the beautiful The Grote Markt of Antwerp. It is so easy to fall in love with The Cosmics. They come as a full package – not only their music is a killer, but they have the looks, the talent and confidence that will take them far.

The show has been organised by Zing Zang Zong and was to start at 9:00 pm.
The Cosmics were to be supported by Belgian duo, De Batteries.
Form what we have heard – it was another success for the band, but that is a standard outcome for the Birmingham trio.

More information about the gig:
https://www.facebook.com/events/858188711217531/
https://www.facebook.com/zzzgarageclub/
https://www.facebook.com/CafeeCabron/

We are hoping to catch the band at another show this tour so watch out this space for additional content and more compliments regarding the band. If you still haven`t noticed West Midlands has the best scene and we are so happy to be part of it.

See ya down the front? You bet!

M/R

Indieterria meets Mutes

Dear Readers,

Birmingham/West Mids scene at times feels like uncharted territory. You may be an active player locally for years and still come across bands that you have not heard of before. And they usually will be bands that you dig immediately, from the first listen. Let`s take Mutes for example. One evening, on our way home we noticed a poster advertising a gig in the local venue in Worcester.  We checked the headliner to realise not only they were part of the West Mids scene but we had like a million mutual friends and hanged out at the same boozers and venues between Madlands and Mancunia (hello Sunny and Castle!) Mutes were noisy, unpredictable and fiercely independent. The same evening we sent them a message and asked for an interview. There was no time to be wasted. Below, you will find our conversation with vocalist James Brown and Tom Hewson – bassist and founder of FOMA records. It is a long, splendid read but that`s how we like our music – loud, untamed with artists having something important to say.

Band logo

Mutes are:
James Brown  (guitar/vocals)
Tom Hewson (bass)
Craig Philip Bainton (drums)

Official bio: After two long, domesticated years of breakups, job losses, uprooting and rebuilding, Mutes have returned with their reactionary, tempestuous sophomore LP “Pareidolia”– a meandering, exhilarating record that sees the Birmingham post-punk group delivering something entirely new. Mutes have continued to build up a national reputation supporting bands such as Sorry, No Age, Cloud Nothings, The Cribs, PINS, Menace Beach & more. The group have received a steady stream of acclaim for their recorded output and live shows since 2014.

The Mutes ready to take their new material on the road. Photo by Megan Lewis

DIY Magazine described you with these words: “Mutes occupy the kind of territory that heavyweights tend to own”. Please introduce yourselves to the readers of Indieterria.

James Brown: So we’re Mutes- a 3 piece band from Birmingham. Started as a solo lo-fi project for myself but has ballooned into something far more aggy and ferocious. We’re into noise rock, ambient music, math, chamber pop, garage punk… everything really. Our music is kind of arty punk I think. It’s ephemeral in a sense but it’s also a lot more drawn-out than most of our local contemporaries.

Mutes have been on Birmingham scene for a relatively long period and have impressive back catalogue, maybe even the richest on local scene.  Your debut, self titled EP came in May 2014. It was followed by “Starvation Age”, a full band release on One Note Forever Records in 2015. You also have  an LP  – “No Desire” – that came out in 2017 via FOMA Records. That’s a lot of material. James also has three solo EPs to his name:  “Various Distractions” (2013), “No One Is Nowhere” (2014) and “Inertia” (2016). Its seems like you have this urge to record at any time. And even at any place – judging from the fact that your albums have been recorded in a bedroom in Birmingham and  a basement in Leeds.

Overfed singles cover

James Brown:  We’re actually nowhere near as prolific as I’d like to be. It’s hard in this day and age- if you release stuff constantly it just gets lost in the ether. Ideally I’d love to release at least 2 EPs a year and an album every other. But it’s hard to maintain prolificacy when you have a full time job! Above and all music should be self-expression and playing in a band should be fun- there’s no point writing a song if you have no feeling or aesthetic bursting to escape. There’s more than enough songs in the world. We record anywhere we can due to budget constraints- I recorded and mixed “Pareidolia” myself because I knew I had to make the album but I had no money at all. And I’m glad- necessity is the mother of invention and there’s things I did that I could’ve never done on someone else’s clock.

Press release for your new records mentions “breakups, job losses, uprooting and rebuilding”. This struggle must have left its mark on the album. Would you be feeling comfortable to tell what have happened in the band in the last two years?

James Brown:  Well over the last 2 years Mutes have had 8 different members. And I’ve had 2 relationships, 3 jobs, lived in 2 cities. You get the picture. It’s not been a particularly stable existence, but for better or worse having music to keep me going has been imperative to not just jacking everything in. Because when you’re onstage, or laying down vocals, or in a sweaty, smokey rehearsal room and everything clicks – none of the other bullshit matters. I wrote out all the lyrics to “Pareidolia” the other day and they do really reflect everything I’ve gone through over the past couple of years- relationship breakdowns, identity crisis, substance abuse or whatever. Even if I was too mired in it at the time to realise that’s what I was writing about.

New LP is entitled “Pareidolia” and comes out on June 21st 2019. So far three singles have been released: “Swallowing Light”, “Overfed” and “Men of Violence”.  The album brings a brand new line up. How do you think the record will be received?

James Brown:   I honestly don’t know – all I can do is be grateful that anyone might spend their own time listening to it. That blows my mind, the idea that someone might choose to listen to something I’ve created. But if they do that and it elicits any kind of emotional response then that’s incredible and I am thankful.

You remain unsigned but release your material through FOMA that also have Hoopla Blue, Outlander and Repeat of Last Week on their roster. The label also organizes events and offers artists management in house. Can you tell us more about FOMA and the relationship you share?

James Brown:  I’ll pass this over to our beautiful boi Tom

Tom Hewson: I formed FOMA with my brother James Hewson and friend Adam Tomes, who I write music with in Hoopla Blue. We started working with Mutes before the release of their debut LP “No Desire”, which was exciting for us as a label as it was the first time we worked with a band we were not directly involved with. Since then we’ve also worked with Outlander. James self-produced “Pareidolia” before I joined the band on bass duties. The label has become somewhat of a family that share the same values and commitment to our city and the music it offers. It’s all an experiment to be honest. We want to shout about the beauty of Birmingham with each new release and event

The band photographed by visual artist Megan Lewis

Mutes will be going on tour to support the record. Where can we see you live?

James Brown:  Cardiff, Nottingham, Birmingham, Worcester, London, Shropshire, Manchester. It’s pretty drawn out and we’d have loved some more dates up North but we get where we can! I’ve had to book out some of the venues myself so it’s DIY to the bone. I love day trips and playing a gig is like a day trip but with you as the star! And free beer! I mean what’s not to love?

We always get excited when bands come to play in our city of Worcester. For this particular gig you will be supported by SedatedSociety – a project by members of Rubella Moon, Coat of Many, The Americas and Junior Weeb.  That is truly mind blowing! Anything we should be expecting from the performance?

James Brown:  It’ll be loud! I’ve always loved Worcester and have been lucky enough to become friends with some of the bands there – and ones that have flown the nest such as Souer. I absolutely LOVE playing small intimate venues, so I’m really excited to play Paradiddles. Asking SedatedSociety was a given- those guys have been to a couple of our shows and are great, and I like to hand pick line-ups any chance I get. If one person who has never seen us play before has a good night then it’s a success. I have literally played to just the bar staff before and if they’ve enjoyed it then I’m happy. Maybe we can all hit Heroes after and drink too much. I like the low ceiling in there, makes me feel less like a short-ass.

Mutes will tour in support of their new album

Last question: We all say that Birmingham scene is underfunded and not as competitive as Manchester or Liverpool for example. So, if you had a million pounds to throw at the Birmingham music scene – what would you change?  What would you improve?

James Brown:  A million pounds eh? Well, open a new venue- one that’s around 80 cap and has accommodation for touring bands. Put the money into ensuring all bands that play there get some kind of content-based benefit such as a decent quality recording of the set, possibly even filmed too. Maintain a blog that does video interviews. Ensure it’s a safe space for everyone who wants to attend. Keep the toilets clean and the drinks reasonably priced. I love the East Midlands scene – Nottingham, Leicester, Derby. They feel a lot more sincere and less flashy. Dubrek Studios & JT Soar are great examples – Outta Mind Promotions put on a fantastic all-dayer last month and I could play those things every weekend for the rest of my life and be happy. Any money left over I’d love to put into obtaining press and tour support for FOMA artists. You’re really making me want a million pounds now!

You can follow the band on social media:

https://www.facebook.com/mutesuk/
https://twitter.com/mutesmutesmutes
https://www.instagram.com/mutesmutesmutes/
https://soundcloud.com/mutes-1
https://mutesuk.bandcamp.com/
https://mutesuk.bigcartel.com/
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZAMKXTW31pxdXjdEW5LmdA
https://open.spotify.com/artist/52mqrsNlDf6CVhB6XJ6LHf?si=jO6sk6uwTk6XONJKEtyKlg

You can also check out  FOMA on socials and give them kudos for supporting independent scene in West Mids

https://www.facebook.com/wearefoma/
http://www.wearefoma.co.uk/
https://twitter.com/wearefoma
https://www.instagram.com/wearefoma/
https://wearefoma.bandcamp.com

Mutes, photography by Megan Lewis

Some additional reading about Mutes:

https://counteract.co/news/brummie-post-punks-mutes-detail-new-album-announce-uk-tour
http://indiemidlands.com/mutes-men-of-violence/

Poster for Mutes/SedatedSociety gig in Worcester

Mutes will play Worcester on June 25th 2019 at Paradiddles with SedatedSociety supporting. This will be first gig for both bands in town and the venue is very intimate so grab your tickets at the link below:

https://www.facebook.com/events/295350488016053/
https://www.wegottickets.com/event/473034

Door time is 7:30 PM and first band is on 8:00-ish. We plan to see some friendly faces. Tickets are £3 (ADV) and about £5 OTD.

Oh boy we cant wait.

M/R