Mystery Jets' New Album is the Culmination of their "Main Street Exile"

May 31, 2012 2:51 PM

1. You guys are playing at Brooklyn Bowl in Brooklyn on 6/11 and at Beacon Theatre in NYC on 6/15. What do you like the most about performing in New York?

Blaine: Everytime we play in NYC crazy shit happens. The last time we were over for a show, we were so delayed by passport control we literally had drive straight to the venue and jump right on stage with no soundcheck. Then when we came off, both my passports had been stolen from my bag and I just went crazy. Me and William had this massive fight and I ended up wasted in a club…and our tour manager dragged me out and I had to sit with NYC policemen writing theft reports for about 5 hours. They were like cartoon characters, it was so weird.

2. What bands/musicians inspire you the most?

Blaine: I am constantly inspired by new things that I discover, as I think are we all. There are certain artists, records and writers I come back to when I feel totally dry too though...they’re like those old friends that are always there waiting for you to come home and tell them what you’ve been up to. For me it will be a song from someone like Neil Young, Jeff Mangum or Daniel Johnston that I sort of use as a mirror to measure my own work up against. Some think you’re not really meant to admit to doing that, but I think we all do.

3. Have you ever had anything really embarrassing happen to you while performing? If so, care to share it with us?

Blaine: Yeah we were playing in Japan on our last tour, and it was this packed out super sweaty show in front of all these sober Japanese kids. They’re so polite and adorable over there, the way they scream your lyrics back at you, but then you could hear a pin drop between songs. They clap like crazy and then just stare at you in anticipation. Anyway, before we came back on for the encore, we opened this bottle of Mescal and all did a couple of shots each, which on top of whatever I’d been drinking during the show just kind of pushed me off the edge. We walked on to play a couple more songs and then next thing I remember is hitting my head against the mic and the soundman shouting my name through the wedge. I had momentarily passed out during the chorus and when I came to there were all these staring faces looking up at me. The band just carried on and I had to mime the rest of the song as I had no idea what the lyrics or chords were. When I came off stage…I fell right asleep and when I woke up it was just me and our label girl left in the venue. It was pretty romantic.

 4. If you only had 5 minutes to perform a song of your choosing, what would it be?

Blaine: Today it would probably be 'moving' by Supergrass. I’m having a massive Supergrass revival week. Gaz Coombes opened for us the other week in Dublin and I picked his brain about what being in a band in the 90’s was like.

5. What has been your biggest challenge in becoming the Mystery Jets that you are today?

Blaine: All bands get faced with challenges and we've encountered a fair few of them over the years. Getting dropped. Getting screwed over by accountants. Band members leaving. Tires blowing out on the motorway. Having our gear stolen. 

Personally I think the greatest challenge is writing a great song. You’re only as good as the last song you've written.

6. What can we expect from your new album, "Radlands?"

Radlands is a document of our time spent living in the woods outside Austin, TX last year. I see it as our 'Exile on main street'. Not necessarily musically, but in the sense of the motivation behind it. Not that we were in exile from the taxman - if anything we were in exile from what was going on in our lives back in London. It wasn’t that things were even especially bad there, It was more the mediocre comforts of home living that became a trap. It’s so easy to become complacent and cozy. As soon as I start feeling like that, I want to get off the train and run off into the unknown again. And that's exactly how Texas felt - like being a stranger in a strange land. We borrowed all these amazing restored valve amps and mics and a desk and set everything up in our house so that we could put stuff down whenever it felt right, day or night. There was a lot of sitting on the porch drinking beer and staring up at the sky, feeling a little lost too, but I think that’s all part of it. Keith Richards has this great quote where he says that songs don't actually belong to anybody, they’re just up there floating about in the ether. You just have to stay up late and wait around in the dark until everyone else has gone to bed, and if you're lucky you might catch one.

edited by Jessica Appelstein

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