“Eel Pie Island”. To many, it sounds like the name of a place fitting to children’s stories that belong in Enid Blyton books. But in reality, Eel Pie Island in Twickenham, London is home to five-piece indie band, “Mystery Jets“.
Oh, yes, Mystery Jets also sounds like it belongs in a superhero movie of some sort. We’re really into the name game right now!
All ramblings aside, the English band was here on Saturday, 15th September 2012 for a fashionably rockin’ night at Stage KL to mark the opening of the Ben Sherman flagship stores in both Pavilion KL and Bangsar Village II. It was also the Mystery Jets’ debut performance in Malaysia (as part of their tour) so you can imagine how excited their enthusiastic fans were to see them live for the first time.
Much more so when our friends at Livescape Asia and Warner Music Malaysia told us that we’ll be interviewing the boys before their show. Here’s what went down:
Hi guys. This is your first time to our city so, welcome! You’re a long, long way from home. When did you guys get in?
“We just got in a couple of hours ago. Our first few hours have been good although we haven’t seen as much as we’d like to. We did eat some local food though. It was in a shopping mall but it was local, we think. We had this crazy kind of sorbet. It kinda had like rose syrup, sweet corn, rose syrup..”
Oh, that’s ice kacang! It’s like flavoured snow.
“That’s probably it. It’s like having a party in your mouth. The rose one was nice until we got to the sweet corn. That kinda freaked us out.”
That’s actually a safer alternative than if someone got you guys to try the durian.
“That’s the fruit, isn’t it? We had durians the last time. It tasted like socks! Don’t..ask us how we know what socks taste like.”
Haha! Okay, serious business. Congratulations on “Radlands”! Tell us a little bit more about that album.
“It was a real challenge because for starters, we began the process producing it ourselves. We didn’t take anyone with us to Austin in Texas. It’s a long, long way from home. We set off to America with a bunch of guitars, rented a house, it was very isolated, and it was just four of us together. We wanted to make it quite difficult for ourselves. With the previous record we made, it was with a producer who has been in the music industry for a long time. He has been making records for 30 years. It was such a smooth process that it was very enjoyable but it didn’t allow a lot of room for spontaneity or stakes. So, with this album, we very much wanted to dive into the unknown and producing a record ourselves.”
Wait, hang on. Why did you choose Austin, Texas?
“We started off choosing two different places; half of the band wanted to go to Los Angeles but the other half wanted to go to New Orleans. Austin, Texas is kinda like right in between the two. It was a pretty good compromise because a lot of musicians lived there and it’s a very musical city. The house we rented was about 30 miles outside of town on a piece of land with its own woods and a river running beside it. It was very secluded. We had deer that would come through our garden and raccoons that would go through our garbage..”
That’s pretty funny! Would you do that all over again?
“No. Don’t think so.”
What have you learnt from that experience though?
“It was very difficult to start with. Production is very much about sounds, and how the record sounds. But it’s also about the people to play together better, listen to each other, and speak to each other. Without that, it can make the process quite hard. When we got back from Texas, we got a producer to help us finish off the record. He brought a lot to the album and actually, what he said to us was..’You’ve got an album; you just need to finish it’. He told us that the songs fit together so he kinda gave us hope.”
The process of working on “Radlands” is slightly different from when you released an album under Dim Mak Records. That’s Steve Aoki, right? Did you guys work with him?
“Yeah! That was for our first album. Steve Aoki put out a really good version of our record. What he did was, he took about 80% of our first record and then he put in a few new tracks and a few rerecorded things. Then, he released that in America.”
Okay we gotta be honest, we’re really curious about this. Tell us about Eel Pie Island.
“Haha. You can get eel pie, you know? Not on the island, but they still serve it in East London, where it’s very common. The reason why it’s called Eel Pie Island is because Henry the VIII used to go there to catch eels to make pies because he liked it. It’s a great place. There are a lot of artists, ship builders, hippies, and gypsies..it’s cool. It’s like an escape. When you get onto the island you’ll feel like you’re not in London.”
That sounds so trippy.
“It’s very trippy. Because the area that it’s actually in is in quite an ordinary part of West London. Kinda like a suburb of London. Then you go to the bridge and go through these big metal doors and be like, whoa..”
Trust the Mystery Jets boys to know what trippy really is like. As a matter of fact, we were there for their debut performance at Stage KL and, yup, it was as trippy as expected. Great show, guys! And thanks so, so much for speaking to us. We had fun!
For more information on Mystery Jets, visit their official website.
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