Birmingham won a coveted second spot on the Chevrolet Spark Unscheduled Tour contest to see the Mystery Jets head to the Custard Factory last Thursday (aka Election Day) in support of their upcoming album, Serotonin.
Space 2 in the Custard Factory is a fairly intimate venue, holding around 200 people, and is the perfect place to showcase the Mystery Jets new songs from Serotonin (out in July) and welcomes them back into touring the UK. The new album seems less pop, more dance influenced and looks to be aiming for the hallowed arena of a Coldplay concert. Just with more fun.
Older songs such as Young Love and Hideaway get the biggest reception of the night, which is hardly surprising. But the audience lap up the newer stuff too, some of which has been showcased on their MySpace beforehand but mostly unheard.
Earlier in the day I caught up with William and Kapil from the band…
How would you describe your sound?
William: it’s pop music with a whole multitude of different influences from psychedelic music to dance music. I wouldn’t describe it, it’s hard to talk about your own music – go and listen to it.
Do you have any non-music influences?
William: Novels and books make it into our songs. A book called Lorna Doone is the title of one of our songs. A book some of us were reading a year of two ago called The Fountainhead was a big influence in how we approached some of our song writing. All that definitely finds its way in.
How did you get involved in the Spark Unscheduled tour?
William: Chevrolet approached us and propositioned us. It sounded like a really great way of coming back and doing gigs in England, because we haven’t released anything for a couple of years and we didn’t really tour the UK last year. We did a few festivals but mainly we were out the country. And it seemed like a really nice idea to come to places like Birmingham and play quite intimate venues.
Did the pop-up idea of the tour interest you?
William: It’s a really exciting way of doing a gig when people don’t really know exactly where or when it’s going to be. It just kinda appears. The more people that vote for the gig to be in Birmingham, then the more chance it has of happening.
I really wanted to do one in Cornwall because there’s an outdoor theatre right on the sea. Like a kind of mini amphitheatre made out of stone, which is just incredible. They do Shakespeare there in the summer. It wasn’t possible on this tour, but we hope to do something there some point – maybe something acoustic.
If you could be any other artist, who would you be?
William: I don’t know – maybe Robert Wyatt or Ray Davis. But I only really like Ray Davis’s music from about 1965-74. He’s just a really great songwriter, the best, in my opinion. He didn’t necessarily go off and do really wild things, some people are more innovative.
On a similar note, you mentioned the All Tomorrows Parties festivals in another interview. Who would you pick to play at yours?
William: I think is really cool when bands reform just to play their best album and do it in its entirety. I always think that’s great. I’d get Talk Talk to reform and do Spirit of Eden and The Meat Puppets to do Mirage. All sorts of things really – Robert Wyatt on there.
The new album, Serotonin, is it a similar to older album?
William: I think it’s quite a departure, our new record. It’s really big sounding and wide screen. It’s filmic and epic.
Kapil: And elegant as well.
William: Yeah, I think there’s a kind of elegance to it. It’s just such a mixture; every song is different and quite drastically as well.
Kapil: I do think there are elements of our first record there.
William: Yeah, it’s almost like a marriage of the first and second albums.
Can you explain the significance of the title?
William: The idea of serotonin is that we want our music to have the same effect on people as serotonin has on them.
It is Election Day today, is that something that interests you?
William: Yeah, we all voted. It’s really important. With this election it’s drawn a lot of young people in to be interested in politics – it definitely has with all of us.
Kapil: There’s a real opportunity to shake things up and make a change.
William: I wouldn’t say we’re a political band, I don’t think that’s ever going to come out in our song writing in the way you get those slightly political religious overtones with bands like U2. I don’t think that’s particularly interesting, what I think is interesting is the way this election has been dealt with in a kind of X-Factor way. It’s become sort of political porn – when you watch it, it’s more about the tension on the TV screen and the fight of it. The whole bullshit around it is quite interesting, none of them are really saying what they’re going to do, they’re just saying he’s shit, don’t vote for him.
Kapil: they’re all just attacking each other.
William: It’s a big dogfight and that’s always very entertaining to watch.
Kapil: It also makes you more confused thinking about it. They all just as good as each other – or bad as each other.
William: No one is saying we’re gonna do that, make your choice. It’s not as clear as that – it’s so confusing. Particularly David Cameron, he just wants to please people, I think. I think the only part that is really saying what we’re going to do and that’s it is Labour.
Mystery Jets’ new album, Serotonin, is out on Rough Trade records on 5 July.
*This was originally posted on my old blog BeanHeartBatman*