Mystery Jet’s ‘Serotonin’ became one of the finest albums of 2010. Now after a great year, which included a sell-out homecoming show at London’s Roundhouse, the band are heading over to America to start work on the anticipated follow-up.
Before they disappear for the Summer, Gigwise caught up with band member William Rees to talk about plans for the new album and they found the success of last year.
What have the band been up to recently?
We're all writing and getting ready to go to America for a few months. It's a bit of a transitional time at the moment. We're trying to get material together for the fourth record and then planning a big location to Austin Texas. We're going to hire a house up there and set up a studio and try and make a record. All our energies are focused on that at the moment.
How did you find the fans reaction to the last album?
I think It was good. I found it very much a continuation of '21' in some ways. I think our first record kind of won over a smallish group of die hard fans and then with our second album it kind of took about 18 months to come into its own but by the end of the second album cycle it felt like our fan base had grown even more. Even though it had taken some time for them to get it and with the third record we kind of hit the ground running straight away people liked it. I think that's because on the second album we kind of discovered what our song writing was about.
How have things changed for you since your debut?
Yeah we were all about 18. I don't really remember a lot of those days, I remember what we were doing and where we were. But in terms of how I felt about music I think we were all quite naïve. It's hard to think of that record and that band as us, it feels really separate. Not that I don't think it's an interesting album but it seems almost like a warm up for the real thing. A kind of experiment before we did the real thing.
Do you all still live where you used to?
We don't rehearse on Eel Pie Island any more because you’re not allowed to. We've all kind of moved around a bit. Blaine lives in East London, Kai lives between East and West London. We're all kind of all over but we're London boys through and through.
You toured a lot with this album – What do you enjoy about playing live?
I love it. I think that's where we all meet in a way. The place where we all communicate in our most fun and exciting way. When you’re on stage with a group of people you've got to feel comfortable and it's sort of a challenge getting out in front of a crowd. And if you've got the right kind of support behind you and the right people then it can be amazing. We've learnt to give that to each other over the years. Gigs and concerts are kind of rewards for us. Where it gives us reason for doing what we’re doing.
How is your tour set up? Do you travel with a close knit of people?
Well I definitely leave the family at home. We've got friends who come with us; it's always nice having a few girlfriends to defuse it a little bit. We do what we can; there isn’t a strict crew of people who come with us.
What kind of places and venues do you enjoy playing at?
Your own gigs are always pretty special, to see all those people who have come out from their homes to actually see you. It's like going on a date; you're sat opposite someone on a table and they're only there for you and nobody else, and that makes you feel pretty good about yourself. Festivals are cool because you've got lots of other bands there and you can have a laugh. The weather is always good and you're out there seeing the sights.
How is it playing bigger venues now?
It's kind of a progression. We haven't leapt from doing the Barfly to the Roundhouse, it's been quite a gradual thing. You grow into it.
You and Blaine do a lot of DJing? What do you love about that?
I love it. I think DJing is one of those things where the music you hear on the dance floor is much more physical and its job is to get people moving. What's nice about that, especially when it comes to making it, you don't have to think about lyrics or an emotional content. It's quite refreshing to make drum beats and put bass lines together. I really like dance music and also dance music is very superficial in a way. It's all about the sound or the surface of it, and nothing to do with the content of it. When you come from a tradition of writing love tunes or songs with a subject matter, suddenly going into the dance world is really refreshing.
You said you’re planning to start recording the new album soon – have you got any plans for sound or content?
I'm listening to a lot of country music at the moment, stuff like Graham Parsons. So I kind of want it to have a latch feel on there. I don't know yet but whatever it will be I think it will have an American flavour to it. The main thing is we want to go over there and surprise ourselves. It's impossible to say yet how it will turn out.
Are you coming back to do any festivals this summer?
I don't know what's come through yet in terms of festivals. But were going to be there for a couple of months at least till about mid May depending on how we make progress. I know we've got some stuff coming up in Italy.
Is there any bands you're into at the moment?
I love a band called Tribes, there aren’t a lot of great new English bands at the moment I’m not really into the new wave of hyped stuff that has been pushed through. I think most of it has been around before. There's a band with Sam from Test Icicles, he's got something going called Outer Limits or Outer Limits Recording which sounds a bit like Ariel Pink.
Did you watch the BRIT Awards?
I was amazed that Laura got an award. It was so good. It's sort of the BRIT Awards finally paying attention to things that aren’t necessarily polished shiny pop, which is nice. It's not perfect there was a lot wrong with the BRIT Awards particularly the girl who was singing with Cee-Lo Green at the end. I think with the BRITS there is always that comedy element. I think if you're a music lover you don't really take the BRIT Awards that seriously.