Guitar,Live gigs,London,Manchester,Music,Singer Songwriter,Songwriter,Vocals

Blog interview: MYTBE

Hello MYTBE, how are you?

Considering it’s the end of the world, I’m very well thank you. I am on my third coffee, so maybe that’s got something to do with it.

Congratulations on the release of your EP, how does it feel? 

Thank you, it feels pretty surreal releasing my first ever songs throughout the course of a pandemic. So I’m excited to finally play these songs live, for real human beings. It’s going to feel incredible, and probably overwhelming. I can’t wait.

What’s the story behind it? 

This body of work feels like a look into my thought process last year, touching on feelings of unwanted dependency, denying myself vulnerability and general self-reflection. I tried to focus on creating an overarching sense of transparency and trust with the listener. I really want to encourage conversations surrounding intimacy and the sharing of these often un-pretty thoughts. Hopefully it can offer some perspective for people listening. I often adopt the voice of the culprit, and like to exaggerate this when writing to encourage the acknowledgement of potential ‘wrongdoing’, and the process of apology. I like celebrating the messy ordeal of being human, and living and learning.

This was recorded in 2020 in a farmhouse with your band, what’s your favourite memory from those sessions?

Indeed we did, the entire EP was recorded in my producer’s farmhouse over the course of two separate sessions last year, the first in January recording ‘bluff’ and ‘only asking’, which felt like an incredible start to 2020 (we really didn’t know what was coming). We then returned to the studio in September to record ‘tied’ and ‘tall tales’. Due to Covid restrictions, myself and the band were isolating together in the on-site riverside barn – picture a thatched roof, wood fire and morning coffee by the river. It was the best feeling waking up next to my best friends and then going to work; a bit like one long, ridiculously productive, sleepover. 

A distinct memory was our final day of recording on the farm. We decided last minute to record a live video of ‘tied’ in the sun, and then frolicked around in the fields doing literal cartwheels, before finally hanging out in the river to cool off. It felt like the day was never going to end. Can you tell I’m getting nostalgic?

That sounds heavenly! 

What’s your favourite track?

I will always gravitate towards ‘tied’ I think, as it most succinctly captures my everyday mood. However, I am most proud of the lyrics in ‘tall tales’. Myself and my producer, Hugo, spent almost an entire day pacing around the farm labouring over each line. It felt like an endless rabbit hole at the time, but I’m so glad we didn’t settle for anything less. Once we’d finally finished recording the vocals, the band came back into the studio with a bottle of wine. We got drunk, listened to Krack by Soulwax and had a mini five-man rave in the swimming pool room.

What were the biggest challenges that you faced while recording it?

Obviously, the restrictive nature of the pandemic meant we weren’t able to have decent rehearsal time all together in the weeks leading up to the session, meaning the arrangements were left fairly open when it came to recording. This led to a lot of experimenting with sound-scaping and specific textures in the session. Most specifically whilst recording ‘tall tales’, where we ended up tracking thousands of extra guitar, OP1 and Organelle ‘bleep bloop’ effects, which proved to be a mammoth task when trawling through in post.

I personally found it hard to ‘trim the fat’, as it were, and negotiate the space for each sound. This proved to be an even trickier process whilst working remotely, resulting in many facetime/zoom mixing sessions. It became a really useful lesson on minimalism however. We had to learn the art of stripping things back and letting one sound sing, which I’m keen to carry through to the next recordings. 

You have gained significant airplay from your tracks, how does it feel?

It felt great to have had the initial local backing from Shell Zenner (Amazing Radio) and Roesh (BBC Introducing) in Manchester, so seeing that support grow to the likes of BBC 6’s Marc Riley, Tom Robinson and beyond, has been really exciting. As a new artist, you often have to be your biggest cheerleader and tell yourself that you are good enough, which can definitely wear thin at times. So having that confirmed by people that don’t owe you a thing restores that confidence in your art.

COVID has impacted the creative industry as a whole in a big way, what has kept you motivated? 

I’m one of those annoying people that try to find the good in even the most shitty of situations. So, when served a generous helping of worldwide pandemic, a significant breakup and then uprooting and moving cities, it felt like the perfect opportunity to adopt my ‘bring it, bitch’ attitude. It’s fight or flight, isn’t it. I guess I’ve been using the fear of failing to fuel my fire. 

That, and obscene amounts of coffee.

What artists and bands are getting you excited at the moment? 

I go through phases of not having the capacity to discover new music (usually when focusing on my own or writing new material), and then flipping into wanting to absorb loads of albums all at once. Fortunately, I’m currently in the latter. I find it difficult to listen extensively to anything remotely sad at the moment, I need feel-good to keep me going. Favourites include Perfume Genius, Cate le Bon, Yves Tumor and King Princess. 

You performed live for the first time what was that experience like?

My first live show was opening for Oscar Jerome at The Deaf Institute, one of my favourite venues in Manchester, back in Nov 2019. It was scary and exciting to finally be performing my own solo project, I hadn’t thought too much about having to speak to the audience and remember saying maybe two words during the whole set, so to anyone who was there, I apologise for ignoring you. Me and my guitarist Sean did have a lot of fun re-imagining and programming the set for our reduced duo setup though. 

What are you looking forward to doing next?

I’ve got a couple of shows lined up in London, as well as my Manchester headline date, that will hopefully be able to go ahead later this year which will be tasty. I’ll also be releasing my first collab track, which I’ll be announcing soon!

Generally, I’m really excited to push myself in this next phase of writing. I’m listening to a lot more electronic, indie and lofi-dance music these days; I can feel myself being drawn to music that doesn’t take itself too seriously, and it’s reminding me to just have fun with my writing/demo process. 

Eyes peeled for my whimsy follow-up house mixtape.

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