After seeing a huge response for their debut singles 'I Wonder' and 'Chaucer' last year, Sheffield-based outfit Micky Blouse recently returned to deliver their bright and uplifting self-titled EP.
Featuring the four new offerings 'Brother', 'Contrary To Popular Belief', 'Nothing To Show' and 'Thank The Lord We're Not Like That', the outfit manage to balance the retro sound of Britpop with a distinctly contemporary indie-rock direction. Filled with soaring guitars and catchy choruses, the band's latest collection looks set to see them grow even bigger in the months to come.
So with their name rising fast, we sat down with them to find out more about their initial interests and what set them on this musical path.
What were the first instruments you fell in love with?
Me and Finn both settled on guitar.. About as standard as it comes. I didn’t come from a massively musical family and, to be honest, I’m not even sure why I wanted to play guitar in the first place. I picked it up though, had a few lessons and really enjoyed it. I was only a quarter of the way through Paolo’s response and he had named about 20 wind instruments so I definitely won’t bore you with that. Greg said he never fell in love with any instruments because he wasn’t and still isn’t very good at any. I’m hoping that’s the confidence you all needed to purchase a ticket to our show at Network 2 in Sheffield in September.
What has been the most prominent inspiration behind your music so far?
It’s interesting because we all bring different tastes and influences to the table. Before we were a band Micky Blouse was intended as a kind of self-reflective exercise. I would make these songs in my bedroom and write these introspective lyrics about whatever was happening in my life at the time. When I came to university and met the guys the sound matured massively. That being said, all our personal inspiration varies massively. Paolo’s drumming takes influence from Tigerclub, Demob Happy, Drenge. Finn is more of a traditionalist I would say. His playing is quite grounded in rock and blues- Jimmy Page specifically. The ever elusive Greg, as far as I can tell, is quite influenced by folk. I am a sucker for strong, catchy melodies. Melodies and interesting chords. That seems rather broad but I believe I would be here all day if I were to get specific. Some reoccurring things I’ll listen to when creating are John Mayer, Crowded House and Stevie Wonder. The funny thing is you absolutely cannot hear any of this in our output. A blessing and a curse I suppose.
What kind of music did you love as teenagers?
I feel as though I didn’t veer too much from the norm. I was certainly jumping through all the hoops you do as a teenager. 2000’s indie was quite big for me. You could probably have heard my IPod shuffle crying as Favourite Worst Nightmare was played yet again. Paolo was really into heavy metal as a teenager. It’s something we were hoping he would have dropped by now. No luck yet though. Finn said Radiohead as the obvious rite of passage for the shy and socially awkward teenager. He also had a dim phase of obsessing over the Red Hot Chilli Peppers’ entire catalogue and was in a band at school which dedicated itself to attempting to make everything sound like a track from Blood Sugar Sex Magik. No replays on that album apparently.
Can you remember the first song that made you want to pursue a life in music?
I remember getting introduced to Jeff Buckley early on. First track on the album ‘Mojo Pin’. That had quite a profound effect on me for some unbeknownst reason. I guess I was quite fascinated by the depth and emotion. It certainly kick-started my love affair with Jeff Buckley and changed the way I thought about music. I suppose subconsciously that ignited a bit of a fire then. Finn was won over by the showmanship and musicianship of The Darkness. ‘I Believe In A Thing Called Love’ kept him committed to learning guitar. Paolo cited Rage Against The Machine and Greg apparently has no memory before the age of 20.
When you wake up in the morning, what kind of music do you like to listen to?
Paolo recommends some Death Core for all of you that struggle to wake up. I quite enjoy not waking up in a panicked frenzy so I’ll go for something quite mellow. Perhaps Daniel Caesar’s first record ‘Freudian’. If I’m feeling a bit groggy maybe something overwhelmingly cheesy: Michael Jackson or Wham. Finn eases himself in with some Joni Mitchell and, oddly, ‘The Pyramid Song’ does it for Greg.
How many of your songs have you written about people in your life?
I handle the majority of the song writing for the band currently. It can prove rather awkward at times but I think 95% of our songs are about people. Greg calls it ‘the ultimate Freudian slip’. I have to agree with him for the most part. Though if you blur all the lyrics in enough metaphor you’re usually ok. For the most part I am just fascinated by people. How we behaviour, how we interact with each other, why we make certain decisions. The lyrics usually veer into a dark corner but this isn’t a conscious decision. I am just informed by what I have experienced and try to use lyrics to understand something or someone. If you have any songs which wrestle with a past relationship, however, just make sure they’re not attending the show, front row.
What have been the most memorable moments in your career so far?
Career seems like a bit of a stretch at this point. I think we all agree though that our first gig in Birmingham was the most memorable to date. We had been booked to headline the Sunflower Lounge. I had a lot of friends coming down who knew I played guitar vaguely but had never seen me sing or perform. Pressure was certainly on. It was also a logistical nightmare. Finn’s power steering broke half way down so we had to top up the fluid every 10 miles. We also, collectively, paid a fortune in car parking. A lot of colourful language was directed towards NCP Parking on and off stage. In the end though the feedback was great and we enjoyed being on stage a tonne. I believe it taught us all that what we were doing was worth pursuing.
Outside of music, what are your biggest passions?
I think music gives us something to put our collective time and effort into. Outside of that we don’t do anything spectacularly interesting. We enjoy going to the pub (and drinking probably too much), socialising and going to gigs. I am starting a night with some friends back in my hometown of Coventry. We’re looking to launch it in August if the venues can make a safe comeback. We’re looking to book bands from all over. Organising that has proved fun and challenging. Other than that, just staying out of trouble!
If you weren’t musicians, what other path do you think you might have taken?
I think Paolo summed it up rather nicely ‘We're nearing the end of our uni degrees so I have no idea what the future holds, the band and music are a priority for me so we'll just have to see!’. Greg is always chipping away at his dream of becoming a chaser on hit ITV show The Chase.
And what advice would you give to those looking to stay productive during the current crisis?
Paolo had another eloquent summary (he’s like our oracle) ‘I'd suggest just staying in contact with friends and see what they're up to! It's always great to find inspiration from your family and friends, but don't feel like not being constantly productive is necessarily a bad thing, it's a stressful time for all of us, take it easy if you have to of course’. Personally I am quite obsessed with structure. Some people find it strange and I suppose it isn’t for everyone. I just make sure I get out of bed early, get in the shower, clean my room. I’ve found it useful to write down some weekly and daily goals; things you need to get done. Then go from there. Exercising is a big one too. Do what you can to keep active and this should ensure you’re active in other areas of your life.
Micky Blouse's new self-titled EP is available to stream and download now. Have a listen to it in the player below.