Indie rock group Mystery Jets, known for their anthemic and impactful tunes, recently released their seventh studio album, A Billion Heartbeats, amongst the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic. The album amassed a great deal of praise due to its raw lyrics and although it maintained the classic Mystery Jets sound, it played upon a heavier sound than the band’s previous work which grabbed attention. Recently, I got that chance to discuss with the band the impact that Coronavirus has had on the music industry, alongside exploring how they have adapted their presence from touring the country this time last year to the online live streams and performances they have been doing regularly over on Instagram since lockdown began.
Where did the name ‘Mystery Jets’ come from?
It was Misery Jets in the beginning. Baby Blaine then spelt it wrong on his kick drum. Mystery Jets stuck.
Who would you say are your favourite artists right now, or perhaps your biggest inspirations?
Ty Segall – During this pandemic the man has been pumping out some seriously fat Harry Nilsson covers from his house / also been releasing field recordings from his roof. Legend.
Tony Allen – I’ve been using the lockdown to play lots of drums at home. Drums were the first instrument I ever played and Tony Allen was always a gigantic crush. Rest in peace the king of afrobeat.
Which do you prefer: Touring or Festivals?
Festivals. I enjoy being outdoors and having the opportunity to check out so many different artists on the same day.
Leading on from that, what is your favourite song to perform live?
‘Bombay Blue’ – it’s a different journey every time.
How would you sum up your most recent album A Billion Heartbeats in 3 words?
Expansive, Direct and Purposeful.
If you could collaborate with any artist right now, who would you choose?
How do you feel that your music has evolved over the years since the release of your first album Making Dens?
I wasn’t in the band when MD was made but I would say the band has had many different twists and turns. Also a couple of different line-up changes. I have no idea what direction the band is going to choose to depart towards next but the goal is always to make the music serve the lyrical wizardry of the Harrison clan. Which I suppose is why every album can seem so unique in its sonic elements.
You’ve recently been doing some brilliant ‘at home’ performances over on your Instagram account, how does it feel to have such a drastic change in your musical life during this challenging time?
Thank you. It was a bit of a blow having to cancel our tour for the 2nd time. We are going to do everything in our power to blow some heads off when we hit the open road and airways again. I think it’s good to remember that listening to and / or making music will always have the power to lift you out of whatever rut the universe is sticking you in.
If you could change anything about the music industry, what would it be?
Destroy the smartphone and bring back the CDs!
And finally, I’m a film student so I’ve just got to ask you – what’s your favourite film?
Midnight Cowboy 🙂
Check out the music video for Mystery Jets latest single ‘A Billion Heartbeats’.