The Mysterines are on a roll and weave through this tale, with noticeably wider acclaim, each revisit, like when Monefa Walker caught up with them recently.
Tufnell Park Dome – 26th February
Time is a persistent illusion, and a persistent illusion that it is. Ten minutes, can feel like ten hours. Twelve months can feel like twelve minutes. I have an inkling, that the latter is exactly what The Mysterines have experienced. Short space of time, but exponential change within, as well as without the band.
I know I’ve said it before, but as much as it’s important to highlight the importance of Manchester as the centre-point for British music, it’s also important to remember that the musicians of Merseyside, helped to put this country in the limelight of musical genius. Suffice to say, that legacy is in safe hands with this Liverpudlian band.
I had a little wander up to Tufnell Park (North London), and before the gig, was able to catch a quick chat with the band (thank you to their manager John and tour manager Bec for facilitating!) They literally squeezed me in their very tight schedule – not surprising considering they’d played a sold out tour at the beginning of this year.
The thing is, we hit it off so well the first time in the Hawley Arms, that I got a bit too relaxed, so this is a quite abstract interview, but I think it shows a glimpse of why who they are as people, is fundamental in everything that makes The Mysterines, The Mysterines.
Me: The Mysterines, hello. Oh sorry – who are you two, by the way?
The Mysterines: “This is Callum and Paul, they’re both extra members of the band now.”
Alright, so last time I spoke to you guys, was literally a year ago.
The Mysterines: “Wow, was it?”
Me: Yeah pretty much!
The Mysterines: “Oh yeah, that’s when we were at Dingwalls, supporting the Psychedelic Porn Crumpets.”
Yeah, that’s it!
The Mysterines: “That was a really good show actually. Well, except for the fact that I (Lia) nearly got electrocuted on the stage. “
Oh yeah, bloody hell. So, you toured with the Porn Crumpets, you did festivals, worked with This Feeling, and it’s just exploded…where to begin really, ‘cause obviously it hasn’t all been plain sailing has it?
What’s been the biggest shock for you?
The Mysterines: “Apart from our Lia nearly electrocuting herself?”
“…Do you mean the past year, or just in general?”
Yeah, since I last saw you in person.
“The catering at Royal Blood, was the biggest shock. I didn’t even know that was a thing.”
“Just the fact, we were on a tour that had full on catering consistently. There was a menu and everything, it was really nice. The whole crew were wonderful as well, really incredible.”
MUsually, the biggest shock tends to be something negative, but your surprise was, “We were treated like humans! They remembered us!”
“It was really nice to do an opening act for them as well. Got to know them all really well, and it was fun.”
MWhat was your highlight when you toured with The Amazons?
“There’s quite a few. Barrowlands was boss, bit of illness at the beginning of the tour. But, we all had a really good laugh together throughout.”
I remember when you supported them in London at the Brixton Academy, and I thought I can definitely see you headline in there in the future.
“Aww thank you, Brixton Academy said something similar as well.”
Me: It’s a venue that has a strong intuition about bands, and where they’ll go. There’s been a solid couple, where they said to them “see you again in twenty years” – and for their twentieth anniversary, that’s exactly where they played in London!
“We’ve were really lucky we got to play that venue three times, considering the level that we’re currently at. Another great venue, I really like Kentish Town forum as well.”
What would be a dream tour for you right now?
The Mysterines: Foo Fighters, QOTSA, or just a bigger one with Royal Blood again as well.
They’re really underestimated, Royal Blood, in terms of service I think. In terms of business, what has been your biggest irritation to date?
*laughter* “So many things, so many topics including the lack of equality. Though personally, I don’t really think about it too much, but I can see why it upsets a lot of female artists who aren’t getting recognised”.
Me: It’s a fine line, isn’t it? Because you don’t want it to be equal sex for the sake of equal numbers. However, when it’s based on merit and skill, it can mean that less women make the cut, in what can be called a dominating environment. Because of that, it can be hard at times, to discern whether it’s actually sexism or not.
The Mysterines: “Yeah exactly.
A lot will argue that it is, but like you said, the industry has been male dominated for years. To saturate that out, would take a lot of time, and we’re nowhere near that yet. Just about halfway through.
The amount of time it takes to make anything equal, is a very long time. But, it should be more about equity long term, than just equality. Why not just be a musician? I don’t rock up and say, “I’m a female artist, respect me because I’m a girl”, I just rock out like all the other men! Everyone individually should recognise, who they are, what their value is.”
I don’t want to jump too far ahead if possible, but what is the main goal? You’ve built up consistency, so what is the bigger vision you have in mind for The Mysterines.
The Mysterines: “Keep writing songs, writing better songs, make the live shows bigger! And of course, have longevity with the band, as I think we’ve got a lot more to offer.”
Me: That’s a healthy attitude to have. Sometimes, there can be a danger where a band is encouraged to do too much too quickly, some misguided choices and can burn out unfortunately.
Pacing yourself, taking it by ear is one of the best ways to learn as well. Quality over quantity.
The Mysterines: “Definitely, integrity is everything. Making wrong decisions, can lead to wrong outcomes like Black Mirror:Bandersnatch haha!”
MHave you tried playing that actually?
The Mysterines: “I think we did with Neil and Finn on the way back. I reckon it would’ve been better launching it in the cinema, with controls.”
What’s happening with the songwriting? Are you writing just for the band, or other people now as well?
“I’ve got some sessions set up after the tour, which will be good.”
It’s a great way to earn money, especially to fund future music projects as well. It also shows a great work ethic, being serious about the business as well.
“Definitely. I write a lot of different types, and some of them doesn’t feel like me, doesn’t feel like something I’d sing, but it could be easily be the right song for another artist.”
This may sound like a weird question, but what’s it like being at home? I know being on tour or away from home, the momentum builds, and then coming home things are different, so how has it been at home?
“When I’m at home, I get really comfortable and don’t tend to leave much. And also looking after our younger siblings, or catching up with mates. Going for a pint.”
Is it important for you, to have hobbies and tasks at home that are separate from the music business world?
“Oh yeah, definitely. I write a lot more when I finish a tour, so I also tend to do that when I’m at home. I think I always need to be focusing on something creative, which is why it’s good that I can write with myself or other people.”
It’s a great skill to have, and enjoy too.
Alright, well I’m going to leave it there, have taken up enough of your time. But thank you so much, for squeezing me in at the last minute. Really looking forward to the show later, and can’t wait to see what you have to present in your futures!
T“You’re welcome, good to see ya as well!”
I left the band to have some time for themselves and their crew before the show later that evening.
Also bumped into Green Party MP, Sian Berry, who kindly stopped to have a quick chat. Lots of green, heartfelt, Venusian love and feminine power around that evening.
Sadly, I missed the set from supporting act Drool, just caught the end of BERRIES’ set, but I am so glad I got to see the main act strut their stuff again.
I saw many familiar faces in the crowd, including Sonja and the ladies from Salvation Jayne. The set was a knockout performance, they consumed the space with glee and confidence showing why it was no surprise, that show had to upgrade the venue due to demand…and still sold out!
Update: The Mysterines ended March 2020 on the BBC Radio 1 A-list!
It’s a mystery what this band have up their sleeve next, and that’s just how it should be.
Multi-talent Monefa is Caffy’s assistant PR Princess at ArtBeat and a piano playing star. A regular contributor to The Zine UK both online and at our socials.