This is the third time the indie rockers have been to Liverpool this year, but it’s the first time as part of their tour supporting their latest album Radlands. The band had a leading slot at Liverpool’s Sound City Festival in May, and recently headlined O2’s Think Big concert at the O2 Academy a few weeks back. It just goes to show you that Mystery Jets are really going places with their new material, which has a more American rock, vintage guitar feel than their earlier synth-led albums. What does this mean then for the future of the Jets? Jack Graysmark & Sam Kingston caught up with the band’s drummer Kapil Travedi at Mello Mello before the gig…
JG: How’s the tour been going so far?
KT: Really good actually, we’ve played a lot of shows now and we’re happy with everything- happy with how we’ve been playing. The songs have been going down really well and the crowd are totally into it, which is great!
SK: You’ve played Sound City & O2’s Think Big recently- is Liverpool somewhere you enjoy playing?
KT: Yeah… I don’t know what it is, but this area seems to have become really artsy in the last couple of years! I don’t know how accurate I am though I don’t think it was like this a few years ago, but I think it’s an incredible city. I was planning on going back home to London on my day off, but then we played here 10 days ago for the O2 Think Big, and we were just wondering around the city thinking “wow, this is a great place to hang out and spend the day off!” So I’m going to spend my day off here.
JG: You’ve put a video up for Hale Bop, which is going to be the next single. Is that a favourite on the album, or are there others?
KT: Well it’s like with children isn’t it? You love them all differently! We have the special one, the talented one… it’s hard to associate these things with the tracks. But (Hale Bop) is definitely one of the more up-tempo songs on the album.
SK: I love Radlands- favourite album so far- it’s got more of an American feel, different to the previous albums. Have fans reacted well?
KT: It is really different, and people can tell. But then, we’re not twenty one years old anymore; I think now we’re playing music that has a lot more emotion to it. We were asking questions about relationships before, but now I think we’re asking bigger questions. It might isolate some people, but overall the fans seem to love it. They seem to really like “Radlands”and “The Ballad of Emmerson Lonestar”, which I think is great because those two tracks represent the record.
JG: When I interviewed Will (lead guitarist) during Sound City, you were about to play Brixton Academy, and he said “everything we’ve done as a band or as musicians has been coming up to this moment.” Would you say it was the highlight of the year?
KT: Yeah, I’d say it was even the highlight of our careers! I think that when you form a band, and you go up to London, Brixton Academy is like the Holy Grail; the place you’ve wanted to play since when you were a kid. We’ve gone and seen other artists play there, so to do it… I think it was one of the most special things we’ve ever done.
SK: I went to Krakow for the Coke Live music festival, which is a weird gig! How do you adapt from somewhere like Brixton where everyone knows and loves you, to Poland where… I don’t know how popular you guys are in Poland!
KT: (Laughing) Yeah, neither do I! You never really know, even with the internet it’s hard to gauge how much people are into something. But we were so surprised when we went there. We played a lot of stuff from the new album, and people really went for it. I do think that you have to cater it when you go to certain places, but we’ve never been to Krakow before so we just thought “Let’s just go for it and play all the new sh*t!”
JG: Is there anywhere you’ve wanted to play that you haven’t yet?
KT: Brazil, definitely. We’ve gone as far as Argentina, which is right next door, and I was just thinking of taking a bus up there for the sh*ts and giggles! But I couldn’t really spend 14 hours on a bus, what with being on tour.
SK: You’ve worked with artists such as Laura Marling, Florence & The Machine & Kate Nash in the past- are there others you’d like to work with in the future?
KT: That’s a really good one, because I think everyone in the band would choose somebody different. But on who we’d like to work with… Personally I’m a really big fan of stuff that Mount Kimbie (British electronic music duo) have been doing, but I’m not sure that would suit the Radlands sound. It’s a tough one man! I know who it is as well but I can’t remember their name, I’ll have to leave it for a second. In terms of who we’ve already worked with, Laura Marling is my favourite; we’ve got a good relationship there. We still keep in contact with her, but not like on the phone every night! But it’s cool whenever we see each other.
JG: As Brixton has been and gone, what’s the next big moment you’re working up to? Or is it just focusing on the tour for now?
KT: Funnily enough, we’ve just spent a couple of hours discussing what we’re going to do for the London Royal Festival Hall (which they play on the 29th November). We’ve never played a seated venue before! That sort of place has to be though, it’s a really grand, beautiful venue.
SK: Do you expect people to be seated?
KT: You never know with these things. A small group of people might stand up and have a jig, or hopefully everyone will! But it depends on what songs we play, and that’s what we’ve been trying to work out. We’ll have to create certain moments when people just have to get up… maybe shoot some guns at their feet, cowboy style!
Brilliant, thanks for chatting to us!
Kapil heads back to The Kazimier, saying he needs to shower up before the gig, and what a gig it was! Hardly a surprise, the set is focused more around the Radlands material, with several members sporting matching leather jackets to add to the vintage rock vibe. Whilst this went down well, it is earlier tracks like “Half In Love With Elizabeth” that really got the crowd going, and it was something special to see the whole crowd chanting the ever so catchy chants throughout the song. The slower songs on Radlands provide a nice contrast to the more up-tempo earlier material, but the new album also has it’s own floor-movers; new single “Hale Bop” is going to go down a treat in the music world, if it’s reception here is anything to judge by.
Coming back for an encore, the band covers Paul McCartney & Wings classic “Jet,” which adds a nice touch to the set and a nod to the city. However, it’s the indie pop perfection “Two Doors Down” that gets the best reception of the night. In light of this, you might think Mystery Jets brave or ambitious to follow the new direction of their sound, considering the enthusiasm for their earlier material. However, it is a truly great band who can build on their beginnings and grow as their material progresses, and it makes you all the more excited to see what they’ll offer next. The band often say “Place your bets on the Mystery Jets!” You’d be foolish not to; the odds are certainly in their favour.
/Jack Graysmark and Sam Kingston