Interview: The Mutineers

1012493_10150343485699970_1760007479_nAs 2013 draws to a close and members of the band Mutineers slump in front of the telly eating turkey sandwiches right up until NYE (or so we expect), they shall no doubt look back on a triumphant year that followed the release of their debut album. Everything is in place for 2014 to be another great year as The Fix’s Matthew Nicholson found out when he spoke with Michael Reed from the band… So chaps, you’ve got a new single, “Tell Me Why”, which was released in September. How does it feel to get new material out there and what has the reaction been like? It’s been great to reward the loyal fans with some fresh material and pretty cool to get off the ground with the new band line up. The reaction has been amazing, we’ve kept enough of what was great about the early material and shown enough of a progression to make that difference. It’s also pretty amazing that it did so well without any press and very minimal radio. It feels like the single release has rounded off an amazing 18 months for you and you’re due to start 2014 with a another single and the announcement of live dates. What can you tell us about your plans for this? Are you going to be near us in the Somerset and Bristol area? We’re looking forward to just getting the next single out and playing to people again. It’s been a real shot in the arm for us, going out and seeing the reaction from the crowds that now know all the words to our songs. There’s no Bristol show on the next mini tour but we’re hoping to play in and around there sometime in 2014. Promoters get in contact! You’ve put together a great debut album ‘Friends, Lovers, Rivals’, which was released last year. Are you happy with the finished product? We’re pleased with how it came together, the songwriting standard and the reaction it eventually got but there is room for improvement, both recording and production wise. Half of that album is basically live demos that have been mastered. We rush released it with minimal fanfare because we didn’t think the industry was really interested in what we were doing at the time. There’s footage of your studio blog on YouTube. How was the experience of holing yourself up in Wales and recording the album? It was a great time for the band, we were a really tight unit in and around then and it all seemed really fresh and we were all hopefully for what the future was going to bring. You’ve built a huge fan following using the Internet, particularly Twitter, so this is something you’ve obviously put a lot of energy into nurturing. Are you glad of these mediums to connect you with the fan base? We’re a 100% independent band at the moment so it’s the only way to go if you have no money to pay  for all the pluggers and press that you need to get your music noticed. There is a certain amount of piggy backing onto the fans of larger and more established bands that has to happen in this process, but then again if the songs weren’t good and people weren’t into the band in general, they wouldn’t have been taking the interest in what we’ve been doing. Your fans can also be noted for their devotion, including making homemade music videos, what do you think brings about such passion? I think we’re living in such a bland age in music at the moment that anything that is slightly off kilter, not even revolutionary, tends to get you noticed and inspires devotion. All the other bands that are with large corporate companies have to play the game – you can’t really be outspoken or having an alternative opinion. We’re in a position where we have a large audience to engage with and to a degree we can pretty much do and say exactly what we want to do, because there’s nobody to answer to. I think people can tell the difference between authentic and fake. Your singer Nicholas James Mallins has clearly worked hard on the lyrics, a lot of which were apparently written whilst working in a book shop, who influences his wordsmithery? I think the influences are quite diverse…obviously, working in a book shop on a quiet wet Wednesday afternoon you’re going to have a delve into what’s on the shelves…apply what you’ve into your own art. As well as following a rich heritage of Manchester bands, your influences seem more varied; taking in more contemporary and 1980s synth music. Which bands go into helping make up Mutineers’ sound? There was a lot of that 80s sort of influence on the 1st record – all the obvious sort of bands like New Order or The Cure….but underneath all that there’s all sorts going on…the melodies of the 60s, bits of 70s rock disguised by synths and jangly guitars…interesting song structures and rhythms… You’ve honed your craft as a support act but recently launched your own headline tour, how’s life on the road? It’s what we’ve needed to do to find our own audience and live identity. Obviously being the support band to well known artists has taught us a lot. How to deal with a crowd. How to connected…but more than anything, how to adapt if things aren’t quite going as they should! All sorts of things can happen onstage. Heckling…people throwing underwear, losing stray bits of equipment, people high on plant foot jumping invading the stage. All these things have happened to us! What was it like touring with Pete Doherty? It was actually just a one off show with Pete….from what i remember it was pretty hot and sweaty…very frantic and highly charged. It’s not often somebody of his stature turns up in a little town like Ashton Under Lyne to play to 300 people in a small room, so it was great to be involved in something of that nature at the time. Are there any current bands that you particularly enjoy? I think you hear bits and bats of good stuff all the time….I wouldn’t say there was one album by a new band in particular that blows us away though, all 11 or 12 tracks. That’s why we make our own music…. What are your hopes for the album? At the very least for it to connect with the existing fan base and to give them that pay off for supporting us through some lean or quiet periods. Obviously we’d be delighted if it was to push us over the edge into selling out larger venues or getting some serious radio airplay. What are your long-term ambitions for the band? I think the only real ambition is to keep making good music and enjoying it. The industry is in such a state at the moment that you can’t expect to make tons of cash if you’re in an independent band. It’s only the Coldplays and The Arctic Monkeys of this world that are making serious money. If you stay true to yourself and keep making good music that you’re passionate about you stand to get more out of it in the long run than if you were to tag onto a current trend. And to round off, with Christmas coming up, what are you hoping Santa brings you? Have you been well behaved enough to get anything? We’re always on our best behaviour. All we ask for is good health and continued inspiration… Keep up to date with Mutineers at their official Tumblr site: While you’re here… The Fix is delighted to support independent film and to be involved with comedy/drama series The Awkward Conversations We Have.  Here’s the opener, titled, Son We’re Swingers: