Mystery Jets are one of those bands who can give fans a sense of belonging. Growing up, they were my favourite band, and that fact hasn’t changed in the past eight years. Mystery Jets are to be admired for their flawless songwriting talents and endless amount of musical genius which is always shown throughout their work. The group have created some of my all-time favouite musical memories, and I’m sure the feeling they’ve given me has been felt by thousands of other fans. MJs have taken us through incredible journeys in each of their four albums, and that passion is completely inspiring. We always feel a sense of pride when our favourite bands graciously let us interview them, so AMBY’s extremely honoured to share our exclusive interview with Mystery Jets’ Blaine Harrison with everyone! So, have a read as we spoke about Radlands‘ falling Lonestar, awesome “shitty motels”, inspirations as a lyricist, and favourite moments.
AMBY: Before we begin, we’d like to say a massive thanks for doing this! What have Mystery Jets been up to?
Mystery Jets: Since Radlands came out we haven’t really stopped touring. Last year we played mostly festivals and our own shows and this year we’ve been out with Mumford and sons. In Europe last month and out to the states in may and June. Mega domes. It’s a lot of fun and they’re great dudes.
AMBY: What’s your favourite Mystery Jets song and why?
Mystery Jets: I’m most fond of our weird ones, I guess because they seem lonely and neglected. There’s always one on each of our records which don’t get to come out very often at shows. Lorna Doone on Serotonin for example, or ‘The Nothing’ – that one is such a joy to play out but I always kind of feel its met with indifference. I feel sorry for that song.
AMBY: What’s on your iPod at the moment?
Mystery Jets: I love the unknown mortal orchestra album and James Blake’s new record is really special. I bought Todd Rundgren’s new album on a whim too but it’s super, super bad.
AMBY: In Toronto, you told us that Radlands is a concept album. What was the main inspiration behind taking fans through this falling Lonestar’s journey?
Mystery Jets: Well Radlands to me feels very much rooted in Texas where we made it and we listened to a lot of old country and Americana out there. To me those records told stories in a way pop music is afraid to. Emmerson Lonestar is a character we created who we could project our own experiences onto, a way of unifying mine and Williams songs if you like. But when we drew him in the comic we based him on a couple if different friends we met out in Austin.
AMBY: How did harmonies become such a quintessential part of Mystery Jets’ sound?
Mystery Jets: Right from the start we all sang together. When you break out a perfect 4 part harmony in a song people just smile right back at you. In a way I kind of became the lead singer by accident.
AMBY: What’s the funniest thing to happen to you as a band?
Mystery Jets: We’ve had tire blowouts on the motorway, vans broken into and a really scary flight in a private plane in New Zealand where even the stewardess started praying to herself as we started diving down. Things like that are funny, but only afterwards.
AMBY: Your lyrics have had a massive influence on why I began writing about music. Who inspires you as a lyricist?
Mystery Jets: Wow thankyou that’s sweet! When I was younger, I think I was drawn to the sound of the voice rather than the lyric being sung, I guess because most lyrics on the prog records i love sucked. Morrissey was a big influence when I first started writing my own lyrics, I loved how he danced around what he was really saying, it was like he was flirting with the words coming out of his mouth.
Right now I think I’m more interested in what I can leave out of the lyrics, the negative space.
AMBY: On the topic of lyrics, what’s a lyric you’ll never get enough of?
Mystery Jets: ‘…The flames rose to her roman nose, and her Walkman started to melt’
There’s a good Morrissey one for you.
AMBY: What has you excited for 2013?
Mystery Jets: I can’t wait to tour the States and Canada again this spring, there’s a vastness out there that you just don’t really experience in Europe. You know when the road is baking and the horizon goes all wobbly, who doesn’t want to experience that?
And even the shitty motels are awesome. I like the sensation of being a complete stranger somewhere, and from a writing point of view, that perspective of being an alien looking in is something that you can just fill up notebooks with.
AMBY: Who would you like to be most and least stuck in an elevator with?
Mystery Jets: I really hate small spaces so ideally someone I wouldn’t feel intimidated by. Someone old and cute who wouldn’t start making me have a panic attack. Helen Mirren?
AMBY: What would a movie based on the band be called?
Mystery Jets: ‘You had me at a show’
AMBY: And lastly, what’s something about Mystery Jets that nobody knows yet?
Mystery Jets: We used to cover ‘one of us’ by Joan Osborne. No shit.
Thank you so much Mystery Jets, for giving us your answers!