MY INSPIRATION: Mt. Misery | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Hartlepool’s Mt. Misery have found themselves in the spotlight lately, largely thanks to the considerable praise that’s been heaped upon their debut tracks. Lonely Pines, for instance, is a beautiful folk pop ditty that’ll be lodged in your brain after a couple of listens. Here, they let us into some of the things that inspired the writing of their new EP, released on 26th April.

Most of our new EP was recorded before and during the formation of the band last year. By the time Lewis, Ste, Adam and I [Andrew] played our first gig together, two songs were finished and the other two were in the process of being recorded. This EP, like the one that came before it, is an entirely home-recorded effort. It’s a really satisfying process for me, if a little frustrating; I’m not a huge gear nerd and don’t own any fancy equipment, so I have to work hard to get the best sound I can from the limited resources available to me.

A big inspiration of mine is Chris Cohen, another DIY recordist who I think is a master of using a little to say a lot. His recordings are quiet but impactful, and lend themselves well to repeated listening, which is something I’ve tried to emulate in Mt. Misery.

The artwork for the EP is an illustration of Lewis’. He’s a really talented artist and I think it encapsulates our sound perfectly; simple and subtle, but effective.

We’re really excited to be putting on our own EP release show, which is a first for us, at Summerhill Country Café in Hartlepool on Friday 3rd May. It’s our first show with our new line-up – Ste, who up until this point has been playing bass, is gaining an extra two strings and joining Andrew on guitar, and our friend Brad is taking over bass duties. The songs take on another form live with everything that the other members of the band bring to the table, and I think they’re all the better for it. Our good pals Dressed Like Wolves and James Leonard Hewitson are coming along to play stripped back sets of their music too. It’s going to be a great night. 

Lonely Pines
The verse and chorus of this song are two separate ideas that I was playing around with when I started writing for our first EP, Memory. I eventually figured out they’d sound good together, and the rest of the song came from that. I’m not very good at letting go of any of my ideas, so I just keep working at them and re-working over the course of a few months until they start to sound like a fully formed piece of music. A couple of people have said this sounds a bit like a James Taylor song, which wasn’t really what I hand in mind, but my parents have had his music on near-constant rotation for as long as I can remember, so I suppose that makes sense.

Tell Me What’s on Your Mind
The “now the wind-up bird is calling” line is a little homage to one of my favourite Murakami books, whose writing inspired a lot of the lyrics in these songs. In February, we recorded and filmed a live version of this song that we’re all really proud of. The rest of the band are much better at their instruments than I am and they’ve all brought with them so many great ideas in terms of arrangement.

Heart Beat
I shamelessly took the title from a Chris Cohen song and built the lyrics around that. I’m pleased with how they turned out – it’s a pretty simple romantic sentiment, kind of like an Everly Brother’s song or something. Heart Beat was intended for a place on Memory but the original recording was a little too slow and plodding so it was scrapped. The whole song was re-recorded at a quicker tempo for this EP and it sounds a lot better. I don’t play much piano but I’m really happy with its inclusion on this song. The piano belongs to my girlfriend’s Gran; it was the only thing on the EP that was recorded outside of my home.

Ferris Wheel
This was another snippet from around the time of the first EP that I picked up again. The initial idea didn’t really excite me until I came back to it and added the driving, one-note bass line that runs throughout the majority of the song. The lyric was born from that; the music made me think of something in constant motion, and so I landed on the ferris wheel idea pretty quickly. Prior to writing the lyrics, the song was (embarrassingly) given the working title, “dBeelies”, after the dBs and Feelies, respectively, who both inspired the guitar parts in this song.


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