GETTING TO KNOW…Mouses | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Headlining the NARC. magazine The Green Room stage at Stockton Calling on Saturday 31st May, Steven from Billingham lo-fi duo Mouses gives us an insight into his world…

Who are you and what do you do?
I’m Steven. I play guitar and sing in the band Mouses, a lo-fi punk band from Billingham.

What’s the first record you ever bought?
I think the first record I ever bought was a best of George Formby cassette. I bought it from Blackpool to listen to on the way home from a family holiday when I was about eight. Asked for a ukulele the following Xmas. I’ve still got both the cassette and ukulele now.

What’s your guilty pleasure musically?
Guilty pleasures are a difficult one for me. I don’t think anyone should ever feel guilty about liking anything. Especially not down to social standards of taste and what is ‘cool’. Like whatever you want to like, unless there’s serious moral implications. Like, maybe don’t blast Lostprophets. I suppose it depends what circles you hang around in, one person’s guilty pleasure is another’s genius. I love ridiculous 80’s power ballads and that’s probably something most people would tell me not to like. Anything hilariously over the top and I’ll love it.

Favourite film of all time?
My favourite film of all time is Sunset Boulevard. It’s timeless and is an absolutely genius take on the toxicity of Hollywood. Recently I’m rekindling my adoration of Wes Anderson. Everything he makes is absolutely perfect.

Your guilty pleasure film?
I absolutely don’t have one. I either love a film or I don’t, regardless of if people think I should or not. I think that’s the way everyone should be! There’s a lot of films I love because of how bad they are though. Plan 9 From Outer Space is the absolute best worst film ever made.

If you could recommend one TV series to binge watch, what would it be?
I always laugh when I get a TV question in interviews. I don’t watch TV ever. The aerial has been unplugged in our house for about three years and I don’t watch anything on Netflix either. I used to – think the last thing I binge watched was Breaking Bad, so quite a long time ago. I’m much more of a film person. Plus I just don’t have time anymore now and if I do I’d rather be doing something creative. I have an almost obsessive need to create things and try and do something that will leave a mark. If I had to recommend something though I’d just say go and watch the first four seasons of The Simpsons again. In its prime it was the best thing ever.

Your favourite book?
I don’t read a lot of fiction these days, mainly queer studies and books about mental health and religion. I think my favourite book is probably American Psycho. I’ve only read it the once as it almost made me sick and I don’t think I’m ready for that again, but it was the most powerful thing I’ve ever read. It’s a ridiculously good attack on consumerism and the sort of culture it creates. I’ve never struggled through the pages of a book before because of how horrific is – this is the only book that’s ever done that to me, but it’s such a necessary piece. Unfortunately it’s nearly 30 years on and we still haven’t really learnt anything from it though. 

Who or what makes you laugh the most?
My sense of humour floats between the satirical and the completely ridiculous. I do love satire. I think it’s because despite how fucking awful the world can really be, it’s consistently laughable on a daily basis. I like when that’s pointed out. I think Stewart Lee is probably the best comedian out there and has been for a very long time. On a more personal level though, my partner Hana. We make each other laugh every single day and it’s the absolute best.

Who or what makes you sad?
Literally everything. I get sad pretty much every single day. If I’m honest I hate the world. I hate society. Everything we’ve created to be ‘normal’, this culture we’ve created where anyone that steps out of the mould is made to feel like a freak. Tradition and people’s inherent need to defend it without questioning its use or need. People that are completely oblivious to everything that’s happening in the world. The media. The fact that so many people just blindly believe everything they read despite the common knowledge that about five people control the entirety of the media. There’s no such thing as unbiased media. Of course Rupert Murdoch is going to act in his best interests; why the fuck wouldn’t he? Just the sheer amount of hate that is spread on the internet. I tell myself every time that I won’t read the comments but I do anyway and it just makes me so angry and upset. Every time I read a story about someone suffering abuse or committing suicide because they can’t be themselves (or don’t even know how to be), I cry. Every time I read a story about a woman being stoned to death for being raped, I’m sad. Or a teenager hanging themselves because they’re gay. I could go on endlessly. And then I’ll overhear someone moan because they’ve slightly changed the recipe of their favourite chocolate bar or something ridiculously insignificant and just think fuck off. The world is really depressing most of the time, and that’s without my own anxiety and depression that rears its head at the worst sorts of times. I just think it’s so vital we acknowledge and utilise our privileges as much as we possibly can. Do everything you possibly can to fight for the people that can’t. In shorter words – quite a lot of things make me sad.

If you had super power, what would it be?
If I had a super power I think it would be the power to make people see the truth. Or the power to make people compassionate. 

And finally, you get to play a board game with any three famous people from history, who do you choose and what’s the board game?
Right let’s end on a fun one. Siddhārtha Gautama (the actual Buddha), Leonard DaVinci and Amelia Earhart (after she went missing) and we’d play Mouse Trap because it’s class. To be honest though I’d probably just play it with my family because I know them. I’m not good at having conversations with people I don’t know.

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