Mitchell Museum are back – and this time they want to be taken seriously. Or do they?
Prior to their recent Dundee show, I caught up with Cammy, Kris, Raindeer and new guitarist Gav to talk break-ups, fun, sad songs and feline single promotional ideas. Here’s what the guys had to say for themselves.
MPT – Things seemed to be going so well for you last year, when we spoke in Dundee. So what the fuck happened?
Cammy – “We were a bit burned out. We’d been working so hard on the album ‘The Peters Port Memorial Service’ and then there came a point where we lost our guitar player and our manager within the same week and we didn’t know what to do. ”
Raindeer – “We weren’t having fun really, it was a chore to do. Every practice was like ‘We’ve got to play this song again’. For me it got to be not enough fun for what we were doing. It’s all about fun for me.”
Cammy – “It should be about the fun, shouldn’t it? When we released ‘What They Built’ as a single, we put the download code for the songs in the keyboard and you had to break the keyboard open to get to the single. We thought that was an inventive thing to make that release more interesting and fun.
“After putting hours of work into this idea we received an email from someone asking for a refund, because the keyboard didn’t work properly! I don’t know if they were expecting a Micro Korg or something but that was really the straw on the Mitchell back.
“During this time as well I was breaking up with my long term girlfriend so I was in quite a bad place. And I was trying to write songs for the band and I couldn’t do that. It was impossible. I went through some kind of weird writer’s block.”
The August announcement didn’t promise much of a future for the band but things seem to have come back together again quite naturally. Unlike this interview which started to fall apart as the band started interviewing each other!
Raindeer – “We were just meeting up on friendly terms and having a few drinks and the chat would turn to ‘Remember we used to enjoy being in a band? That was good wasn’t it? I wonder how we could do that again?'”
Cammy – “We realised that there wasn’t anything more we wanted to do than be in a band. Gav had tour managed us and had done the sound for us quite a lot as well.”
Kris (to Gav)- “Out of everyone you knew exactly what we sounded like and what we should sound like. And what to do to make us sound better.” Cammy – “And we managed to trick you into being in the band!”
Gav – “Yeah, playing an instrument I can’t play as well! They asked me. Over and over. I didn’t have that much going on.” Cammy – “Gav, did Raindeer tell you, you were going to be in the band?”
Gav – “I don’t know. He was actually quite nice, he was gentle, it wasn’t forced in any way. He did ask me and I took a little while to think, because you know I’ve been hurt before. But I thought ‘Fuck it, let’ s go for it, let’s do this’ And we did. And here we are, we’re playing a pop concert, like a pop band, like Duran Duran or something!”
Ahem. Yes. In case there’s any doubt Mitchell Museum don’t sound much like Duran Duran. Pulling this back on track a little you may recall, that Cammy was suffering from writer’s block a wee while back. Fortunately so does Cammy.
Cammy – “Well I was saying I had writer’s block, like a disease … Raindeer came round to our place just to meet up and have a drink and whilst he was there, I said just for a joke ‘do you want to listen to some of these demos that I’ve made?’
“I thought these demos were terrible, they were just awful and I thought it would be funny for us to listen to them. And I played him one of the songs and he started shouting at me saying ‘Why the fuck are we not playing that song?'”
Raindeer – “I was very angry.”
Cammy – “Then I was like ‘No, seriously I’ve got some bad stuff on here’. And I played the next one. And he was angry!”
Kris – “That’s true. He met me in the pub several days later and he was like ‘For fuck’s sake, do you know what Cammy’s got? A load of good songs! What a dick!'”
Despite appearances to the contrary, there has been a bit of a change in tone to the post hiatus songs though. You will likely shortly be introduced to … the Mitchell Museum sad songs. Within the hour they would be playing 7 of these new mainly sad songs (for only the second time).
Cammy – ” It’s not drastically different. The sad songs aren’t just about the break up, it’s not just an album of emo-break-up songs. It’s also about the band sadness …”
Kris – “Just a different type of break-up.”
I recalled though that they’d played a few new ones in Dundee last March.
Cammy – “We’re not playing any of those songs tonight but they might be involved in the next album. We’ve got enough for an album but I think I’m going to write more stuff and play more gigs, see what’s working. ”
Raindeer – “I’m really enjoying playing mostly new songs. It makes me feel like I’m in a new band and there’s a bit more life about it. We’ve got a whole bunch of new stuff and it’s wiped the slate clean.”
Cammy – “It’s good to be working on the new stuff. I mean we had a lot of positive stuff said about us before but there’s been quite a few whacky, erratic, circus-like, freak show comments about us too.”
Gav – “We want to be really serious.”
Cammy – “We want to be a serious band.” (They all erupt in laughter).
Kris- “We don’t want to be the multi-coloured clowns any more.” (More laughter)
So there you are – the classic dilemma. Fun or serious? I’ve got the distinct impression that Mitchell Museum might just manage to pull off both.
In the meantime you can catch the all new improved (mature) Mitchell Museum play their first hometown show at the Miaoux Miaoux LP launch at Mono in Glasgow on 7th June with Conquering Animal Sound also in attendance.
A week later (14th) the same line-up travels through to Edinburgh to repeat the exercise at the Electric Circus. Do yourself a favour and go.
The previous MPT Mitchell Museum interview