Mystery Jets are back. Four years on from their last record Curve of the Earth, the band return with a politically-charged, anthemic album for our times. Ahead of their nationwide album tour, we celebrated the forthcoming release with a gig at our Camden Boot Room — in support of singer Blaine Harrison’s partner charity Attitude is Everything.
Check out our interview with Blaine below.
What’s your pre-gig ritual?
Our dressing room is usually invaded by various family members, industry folk and randoms before a show, so at a certain point we give our tour manager the secret hand signal and he politely tells everyone to leave. At this point we break into a well-rehearsed routine of yoga postures, pre-drinks and vocal sirens which we learned from the Futureheads on one of our earliest tours and still use to this day. Right before we walk on stage we have a circle hug and share a moment together, that’s always my favorite part of any show.
What influences your work? Do you find inspiration in any unexpected places?
I’m not the kind of songwriter that always keeps a guitar lying around on the couch in case inspiration strikes. It’s never been like that for me. When we’ve finished making a record I can’t even look at a guitar. But then eventually the day comes, usually after a long tour. And I start getting physical urges, almost like the kind of cravings you might get for food, or sex. I immediately stop what I’m doing, load up my car and get as far away from people and distraction as I can. In the past I’ve rented houseboats, weekend shacks on deserted beaches in the middle of winter, or booked solo trips to places like Iceland.
Songs come to me in isolation, and usually in intense bursts. I won’t listen to music but will take some books and films to watch, and usually podcasts too. When it’s time for lyrics Henry will come to stay with me, or we’ll FaceTime and write them that way. Then when they’re ready we’ll get into the studio with the band and turn them into Mystery Jets songs.
What do you want to achieve over the course of your career? Biggest ambitions?
As a band, we’ve been making records for 15 years now, but I still feel so excited about how much more there still is to do. I genuinely feel like we’re just getting started. We still feel like a new band in a lot of ways. Every time someone new joins, or we work with a new producer or sign to a new label, it gives us a burst of new energy and we thrive on that. I can’t see that ever changing, the band is my family and we’ve already lived through so much together. We’ve grown up together and our audience has grown up with us too.
Tell us about your favourite pair of Docs. What would your dream pair of Docs look like?
I must have about ten different pairs of Docs from us changing up our wardrobe and stage lewks over the years. Everything from Jadons to Chelsea Boots to School shoes, but my favourite will always be the 1460 Crazy Horse boot in Aztec brown. It’s me in a shoe.
We will only play venues which have gone out of their way to welcome deaf and disabled audiences and artists. Music is still the most powerful medicine humans have ever discovered. It can empower our anger, cradle our fears and be an outstretched hand in times of darkness. There’s no one on the planet who shouldn’t experience the healing qualities of live music. There are still venues out there that need to wake up to this. The ones that already have are the ones you will find us playing in. Places like the Roundhouse in London, Latitude festival in Suffolk, or Band on the Wall in Manchester.
What does Dr. Martens mean to you?
I can’t think of another shoe associated with so many important countercultural moments of the past 100 years. To me Dr Martens represents resilience and bouncing back.
Last art exhibition you saw?
The Nobel collection in Stockholm. Ironically, Alfred Nobel was the inventor of Dynamite. Greta Thunberg should win the prize in 2020 for that fact alone.
What’s the most rebellious thing you’ve ever done?
We were once playing a festival in Ireland, and there was an area where all the artist buses were parked behind the main stage. After the headliner finished, a few of us were kicking about with nothing much to do, so we managed somehow to hotwire a golf buggy with a tea spoon, which we proceeded to joy ride around the festival site. Within about 5 minutes we had two security cars on our tail, chasing us on a wild goose hunt through tents and deserted arenas, minesweeping discarded bottles of spirits and pairs of sunglasses as we went. By the time they had chased us back to the artist car park we had ditched the golf buggy and disappeared back into our tour bus. At the time we were convinced we’d gotten away with it but then again we’ve never been invited back. Oopsie.
What advice would you give to young people trying to get where you are?
Be the strange you want to see in the world.