When we last heard from Mitchell Museum, Raindeer was speaking French. Bring the conversation back to English, the band discuss the stresses of DIY labels, dealing with critical acclaim, Japanese reviews and when best to chuck industrial printers out of windows onto Sauchiehall Street …
MPT – The album came out on Electra French. Tell us a little about how that happened.
C: The label is basically us.
K: Electra French is a clothing label that Dougie runs. Then some other guys came along and tried to make a record label part of it in conjunction with us and it started from there. It’s grown, we’ve got the Seventeenth Century on the label and we are doing other people.
C: We’re in talks but we can’t really say!
K: It’s very much DIY. The first Electra French release was a tape which I sat and recorded tape to tape. Days and days of hearing that bloody song! Then we printed it all ourselves, cut everything and all that crap.
But we’ve got a bit more professional and outsourced proper companies to do the vinyl but I suppose I do all the artwork. I should be putting that on CVs!
R: You are Electra French!
K: But if we’re making up demos to send out, it’s us sitting up til 3 in the morning gluing 400 CD cases together which we printed and cut. We bought a guillotine – which we can’t use!
R: We bought a big industrial office printer which we broke – in a week! That was tough getting it up the stairs.
K: It’s going to be worse throwing it out of the window.
R: Think about the satisfying noise!
K: It’s going to be so good!
D: Getting Sauchiehall Street shut off, let’s do it on a Sunday morning.
K: No we’ll do it on a Saturday night!
MPT – Will the new LP be on Electra French?
K: It depends how good it is. If it’s too good for Electra French then maybe other people will go for it. But if it’s the same crap as the last one then we’ll probably do it ourselves!
C: Ideally we’d like to get someone else to help us with it this time. As satisfying as it is to have that much control over your own thing, I think we’d all like to have that slight element of stress taken away.
D: I hope when we’re doing a similar interview we’re saying that ‘Yeah we wouldn’t put it out with another label because that was even more stressful.’
MPT – When ‘The Peters Port Memorial Service’ first came out, you managed to generate a lot of national coverage in the likes of Uncut. Given that even Chemikal can’t always manage that, never mind some other bands who self released LPs last year, how did you manage that?
K: Chris Connick, he can give them the chat!
C: I think it’s mostly down to the Wizard of Connick!
D: I think certain DJs liked it like Huw Stephens and Vic Galloway and that helped a lot.
K: Having certain people back you does help you more than if had we just sent stuff out to people.
MPT – And if you succeed in generating coverage, what difference does say 80 words in Uncut make?
R: I think it does make a difference. When people came up to speak to us when we were on tour last year they did say that Uncut and Mojo was where they’d heard of us.
C: It brings people to gigs in Manchester!
K: Just Manchester, though, not Leeds!
C: Two people that come to see us in Manchester also come to Leeds! But everyone else just comes in Manchester.
R: This sounds a stupid thing to say but if I read a description of a band in Uncut that sounded like something I would like, I’d think ‘I’ll have a listen to that’.
MPT – Of course you didn’t just manage to get the coverage, it was all pretty positive. What did you make of that?
C: I think we were kind of surprised and shocked at the reaction we got as well.
K: It was surprising to get good reviews because you like your own music but you’re not sure that anyone else will like it.
C: I can be quite critical of our music so it was quite reassuring.
K: I can’t remember reading a bad review, I can remember reading a good review and finding the one bad thing in it and thinking, ‘That guy’s a prick, he doesn’t know anything’ but then realising that, no, we’re pricks because we’re focussing in on the one bad sentence out of a paragraph of really nice things.
MPT – The big difference from when we were growing up is that there’s not just the printed media and a handful of radio stations now. You’ve got the whole internet thing going on in its different guises. So is that a blessing or a curse?
K: Yeah, all the sort of internet sites, we’re on all of them. Basically if you can put music up where people can listen to it or download it, then our stuff is there.
C: There’s that but there’s also the support we’ve had from bloggers. The Scottish bloggers have been amazing and they’ve really helped us.
K: And on Jockrock we got album of the year. And we were like ‘What? Why?’ Oh, no because we made a good album, that’s why! It was quite shocking.
C: Kris suffers from the same critical thing as I do.
K: Yeah, Cammy’s songs ain’t all that…
MPT – In terms of wider promotion, a lot of bands are doing the SXSW thing just now. Is that something thath appeals?
K: We’ve looked into it but the money you need to go out there… I think we would if we had a definite reason to go out there, if we were looking for an American deal or an international publisher. But currently we’re not and for the sake of 9 grand to get out there, we could record four more albums.
C: Yeah, I think we would have a good time but the cost when we are doing everything ourselves, like the costs of recording.
K: We can barely afford to get to Dundee, what the hell would we be doing in Texas?
MPT – Is the LP licensed anywhere outside of the UK?
K: It’s licensed in Japan and Hong Kong.
C: We got a cool review in one of their magazines.
K: Yeah, I don’t know if it’s because they think we’re really, really strange or if it’s just the translation programmes we’re using but there’s some fucking weird stuff being written about us. We came from the ‘breasts of Wolf Parade’. I really don’t think that’s what they meant to say but I’m really, really glad of that review!
And that seems an appropriate place to leave things. The band went on to deliver a storming set shortly after the interview such that you really don’t have the full picture about this band just from the records – you must see them live.
Thanks to the band for their time in helping mark the blog’s anniversary and hopefully the next year or so will see another great album from them garnering more positive reviews.
Part 1 of the interview.
Buy Mitchell Museum music from their website.