Chowing down on mac and cheese with a side portion of crisps backstage before their call, Mystery Jets prove that their honest and down to earth reputation is still going strong ahead of their world tour.
Hoxton Docks was transformed with dried flowers and draped in festoon lights – providing the perfect atmosphere for their fans, who eagerly awaited the live performance of the their new album.
Self-produced Curve of the Earth hit the shelves on January 15th and has raked in praise from radio and the press. Along with a new album, the band have welcomed in a doe eyed and wild-haired bass player, Jack Flanagan.
Mystery Jets first arrived on the scene in the early 90’s, when the group’s frontman, Blaine Harrison was only 12. Henry Harrison, Blaine’s Dad, was the founder of the band and provided the boys with their early punk rock music education. Originally known as ‘Misery Jets’, taken from an Evening Standard headline on a story about the roaring flight path over their native Eel Pie Island. The band changed their name after the young Blaine Harrison misspelled “misery” whilst painting it on a drum skin.
After a four year gap from their last album, Radlands, the boys are back with Blaine Harrison (vocal, guitar and keyboards), William Rees (guitar and vocals), Jack Flanagan (bass and vocals), Kapil Trivedi (drums), Pete Cochrane (bass), Matt Park (pedal steel) and Henry Harrison (keyboards and guitar).
The Metropolist: Hi guys! Thanks for having us. So we’ve heard that you’ve all known each other since you were kids, how did that come about?
William: Yeah, Blaine and I went to nursery school together… back in the day.
Jack: (Giggling) Wasn’t there some funny story behind how you guys met at nursery school though, didn’t Will throw a chair or something??
Blaine: (Laughs) That’s it, Will picked up one of those tiny plastic kid chairs and threw it. It kind of whizzed over the teacher’s head and I thought ‘yeah if I’m going to start a band then it will probably be with that guy’.
TM: Your new album as quite a different sound to your previous work, would you agree? Why the change?
William: Absolutely. We just wanted to make something that sounded really honest, we originally made a space rock album. That album hasn’t been released – it hasn’t seen the light of day. So when we started this project that was the direction that we were going with. We ditched it and started again and Curve of the Earth was the finished project. It’s really produced, it’s clean. Everything is in its right place.
TM: What has the reaction been to your new work? Has it bought in a new fan base?
William: It’s slowly growing, we are still at the beginning of the album, it’s in it’s infancy but it’s had some great reviews from the press and on the radio it’s looking better than ever.
Blaine: I think for us we always look forward to the summer to play festivals. That’s when you see if it’s reached people who aren’t necessarily your fan base. If it’s come onto other people’s radar then you kind of find that out at festivals.
TM: The lyrics to this album are pretty deep, would we be right to assume that there was a lot of personal experience involved?
Blaine: We write separately, for this album William and I wrote individually and then Henry would work on the lyrics with us. I think lyrics have to come from pure experience to reach out and touch someone. How can you write something that you’ve not felt?
TM: Which artists do you take inspiration from?
Blaine: Pink Floyd and King Crimson are major influences.
Jack: Blaine and I have an idea, we really want to find someone whose career is apparently over and cast them in a new light. Like how Jeff Lynne from the Electric Light Orchestra worked with Roy Orbison and rebuilt his career throughout the 70s.
TM: Throughout your musical career, have their been tough obstacles you’ve had to overcome?
Blaine: I think a career in music in our times is a tricky thing. We’ve had lots of things thrown at us.
Kapil: (Laughs) Wheels come off vans, underwear thrown at us!
Blaine: We’ve been on a whole selection of record deals and things like that and our bass player left. It was very amicable but that in itself was tough.
TM: So you are all London boys, are you living in each other’s pockets with the tour?
Jack: We were when we were making the album. Blaine and I live about 10 mins from each other. Henry lives in Twickenham, so it’s nice when we see each other. I’m not sick of anyone yet!
Blaine: We do have a HQ in Stoke Newington – our self-made studio. While we were making the record that was our meeting place really.
William: It was day and night, especially in the last 5 months.
Jack: In the beginning we did like 9-5 and then slowly started getting 9-9. Once we discovered pro plus and Blaine bought a coffee machine and it changed our lives. It was amazing.
TM: Your world tour looks pretty full, is there anywhere you are particularly looking forward to playing?
William: Japan is always amazing, we’ve been there a few times, it’s kind of a second home really, we always get a really good response. We are hoping to be playing in Australia in the Summer.