Having recorded four albums, Mystery Jets are bound to have a considerable bunch of loyal fans. I meet two of them at the Oran Mor doors three hours before the band are scheduled to appear on stage. Even the worst rain Glasgow has seen in weeks doesn’t seem to scare them off. We’ve been here for two hours. We love them! – the girls shout with excitmenet.
I use the back door and find myself at the end of the band’s soundcheck. As soon as the boys finish playing, we head to their dressing room. How to describe it? Well, it’s fancy; there are leather couches, a long dining table, and a stag on the wall. The somewhat intimidating design doesn’t match William Rees and Kapil Trivedi’s personalities though. In fact, the Mystery Jets’ guitarist and drummer are far from being cold or distant.
musicis.pl: Many critics have said that Radlands sounds very American. You did go to the US to get inspired before recording it, didn’t you?
William: We recorded it in America so getting inspired, writing and recording it was all one junk of time.
musicis.pl: The story behind Sister Everett is quite interesting. She handed you a bible and her business card when you were on a plane. Have you had any other unusual stories over there?
Kapil: I went on a separate flight to these guys and the same thing happened. It was a dude, an American football coach. He went You’re a musician, we’ve got loads of musicians. The guy from Placebo just joined our church. Here’s my card and he gave me his business card as well.
William: Did he? What’s his name?
Kapil: I don’t know.
William: We should write part two. Brother John or whatever his name was.
musicis.pl: Exactly! It seems to be quite popular in America then?
Kapil: Yeah, it’s a big business over there.
William: That’s the difference between the English approach and the American one.
musicis.pl: Speaking of which, what was the biggest difference between the UK and the USA that shocked you?
Kapil: There’s loads of different parts of America, obviously. It’s a huge country. Each state has its own culture. Texas is the most Republican as you can get, I guess. Austin is kind of alternative for a city. You get a glimpse of both, I think. But I wasn’t too into the republican side of it. It was quite materialistic. The quality of life is pretty amazing though.
musicis.pl: What’s the thing that you really enjoyed? Pick just one.
Kapil: (without hesitation) Fried pickles!
William: There’s so many things. Their attitude is very different. They really understand how to make and build things. They’re really good at engineering which kind of had nothing to do with us but in fact it did. When we were setting up the studio there were couple of guys that were helping us out with the equipment and their attitude was really like the sky was the limit. They could take any amplifier and rebuild it and take your guitar and put different effects, buttons and tones all over it.
Kapil: They wouldn’t stop thinking about it, they wouldn’t stop talking about it.
William: They’re obsessed. They’re really good at building jets and warfare stuff, aren’t they. It was similar with their instruments and their equipment there. They’re not limited by any kind of attitudes.
musicis.pl: Radlands tells a story of Emmerson Lone Starr. Did you want to record a conceptual album from the very beginning or did it just come naturally?
Kapil: It kind of really happened when we got back to the UK. We realised that we had a bunch of songs that told a story.
William: It was an accident, really. Emmerson Lone Starr was a kind of device to help us finish the album. Through him everything made sense. We had lots of material but it wasn’t really joining together as a record. When he was created the whole thing just clicked into place.
Kapil: There’s a comic book that goes with it too.
musicis.pl: Yeah, I was gonna ask you about it. It comes with the vinyl, doesn’t it? Are you planning to release the continuation?
William: There’s two more parts.
musicis.pl: Do you know when you’re going to release them?
Kapil: Not sure yet.
William: We’re still working on it. Hopefully next year. We’ll release a limited book with all three parts.
musicis.pl: Looking forward to it. The launch party for the album took place at Abney Park Cemetery; tonight you’re playing in what used to be a church. You must enjoy playing in interesting venues. What would be your dream place for a gig?
William: I think Abbney Park was pretty close to ideal. No one had really done any gigs there so it was kind of a one-off. It was a bit cold but there were lanterns that people followed through the wood to the church where the stage was.
musicis.pl: Sounds great. So you like churches then?
William: Kind of. We love them and hate them. We love them for the wrong reasons.
musicis.pl: They’re quite pretty, aren’t they?
Kapil: They’re beautiful. We went to one in Texas. We were looking for kind of a gospel church to go to. Have you ever seen Blues Brothers? We were looking for one of those but we ended up in a Methodist church and they’re very different. We ended up getting mobbed at the end of it by bunch of people.
William: Quite intense Christians.
musicis.pl: In August, you played at Coke Live Music Festival in Cracow. How did you find it?
Kapil: (excited) Oh, that was wicked! The crowd was amazing! It was our first ever gig in Poland and they went crazy for it, they were loving it.
William: They seemed to really appreciate it.
musicis.pl: Did you manage to travel around the country as well?
Kapil: Unfortunately not. I’d love to travel around. I think I’ll go to Poland for my vacation. Cracow is really beautiful.
At the very beginning of our chat, the boys ensure me that they enjoy playing in Glasgow. It certainly shows during their gig. They open with Someone Purer and stay on the new material throughout most of the performance. Luckily for the faithful fans, the likes of Serotonin and Flakes also appear in the Jets’ setlist. However, the Scottish crowd has to wait until the encore to hear the famous Two Doors Down and Half in Love with Elizabeth.
The theme of America reflects not only in the Jets’ new sound, but in their image as well; white t-shirts and funky jumpers have been swapped in favour of American flag shirts and cowbody attire. We also have visualisations of birds and Texan sky – William informs the audience. Unfortunately, the venue turned out to be too small to fit the projector in. With our without it, the Oran Mor crowd still had an amazing night and, judging by the musians’ faces, the band did too. Let’s hope that soon enough Poland will too have another chance to witness the incredible stage energy of Mystery Jets.