Ten new tracks by Thee MOOT, all recorded in glorious analogue on vintage recording equipment at Gizzard Studio, London.
Dave Clark (DC, guitarist) and Nick Stone (NS, singer/songwriter) explain it all.
1) What was the moment you knew you were onto something?
(DC) Mark (bass), Freezer (drums) and I had played together for a few years and had a good understanding of what we wanted to do, but I knew it was going to be special when Nick sent us demos of the first few songs in early 2016.
2) How did this record come together?
(DC). We generally start off with an acoustic demo, work it up in rehearsal, then test it out live. I’ve usually got a picture in my mind about what guitar overdubs will work in the studio and Nick will know what vocal harmonies will add to it. We like to work pretty quickly in the studio like they did in the ’60s! We’ll usually play live and try and keep drums, bass and guitar as live takes. Then we’ll add a few overdubs later on. We should mention that we use a really cool all-analog studio in London called Gizzard, with a great engineer Ed Deegan who gets a sound we really like. It’s all recorded direct to tape and mixed down onto tape too. We use vintage recording gear and studio effects. It really does get a warmer, more natural sound that works for us. We’ve tried doing it the other way, fiddling around with software, and it didn’t work for us!
3) As an artist, you choose to show your emotions to the world. Is it always comfortable to do so?
(NS) It’s not always comfortable sharing thoughts and emotions with the world but it is essential to be authentic. MOOT songs have to be meaningful for me lyrically but I want as many people as possible to hear our music, so I like to sprinkle a little humor in there as well
4) Any ideas about how to turn this one into a million-seller?
(NS) Million-seller? That’s not for us to say. Our future audience may deliver that one! Our hope is that an established artist or band will one day like one of our songs enough to cover it.
5) You can pick 3 co-writers to write new songs with. Who? And Why?
(NS) Jack White or Pete Shelley. Jack is one of my favorite American songwriters. I really liked what he did with the American Epic Sessions and I’ve recently revisited his Acoustic Recordings, so I’d like to learn from him and he loves English bands so I’m told!. Pete Shelley was another master of melody and I would have questioned him (nicely) about his cracking love songs. I tend to avoid the subject of love but Pete had a wonderful knack of capturing an audience with his catchy and often touching anthems.
(DC) It would be interesting to work with two true originals who created their own world and drew you in – the late Syd Barrett and Pete Townshend. Neither of them are really co-writers but it would be fascinating to see how they do it and to see if some of the processes would rub off on you. I’d also love to sit down and work out guitar arrangements with Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd. We could also talk about guitars and old Fender amps!
6) What’s the gig you will always remember and why?
(DC) We did a great gig just this month with two like-minded bands from London, The Past Tense and Trees and The Slipway. It was a small gig and we had to change the venue at the last minute, but it was a great evening and it was probably the best we’ve played. We got some new songs in the set and got great feedback about them. This tells me that we’re going in the right direction. It was nice to see some of the audience singing back the words to some of the songs on the album too.
7) When was the last time you thought ‘I just wrote a hit’?
(DC) I think lots of our songs could be hits, whatever that means nowadays. I am absolutely certain that we’ve written a few that would be massive if more people could hear them. For example, we’ve got a new one called ‘Fools Plan’ that should be blasting out of car radios, iPhones and laptops the world over!
8) Is recording a record easier than getting it heard nowadays?
(NS) Much easier and more enjoyable to record! Getting our music out there is more challenging despite the advent of streaming and downloads. We are fortunate that music bloggers and small radio stations are playing our stuff and that helps greatly to raise awareness that we exist! Also, reviewers like yourself who are enthusiastic and love new original music are our new best friends!
9) Which 5 records would you bring with you for your stay on Mars?
(DC) The Beatles – Revolver, Television – Marquee Moon, The Rain Parade – Emergency Third Rail Power Trip, The Byrds – Younger Than Yesterday, Pink Floyd – Meddle
10) Recording music – what’s all the fun about?
(DC) Using your imagination to make the songs better than you thought they could be.
11) Playing music in front of a crowd – what’s all the fun about?
(DC) Obviously the connection with the audience, but I think for me the real fun is the band working as a unit that’s bigger than the sum of the individual parts. You can get real magic that way.
12) You can’t control the way people hear your music. But if you could make them aware of certain aspects that you think set your songs apart what would they be?
(NS) Our album is far more contemporary musically and lyrically than some reviewers give us credit for. We are sometimes labeled as mod revival or nostalgic by people who aren’t really listening to what we do. Sure we are influenced by bands like the Beatles, Kinks and Small Faces but essentially it’s melodically underpinned by the do it ourselves spirit of Punk. We write the music, arrange and record it and distribute it ourselves. And it’s all self-funded!