Don’t whisper the word ‘departure’, but Mystery Jets’ new album Curve of the Earth has thrown out the carefree silliness and filled up the swimming pool with emotive psychedelia. What’s even more bonkers is that it suits them like a fine suit, making this record their most meaningful, moving and (dare we say) marvelous. We caught up with Blaine and Jack to find out how they pulled it off…
Artrocker: Congrats on a fab new album. Are you relieved its out, acclaimed, loved and proof that you’re as strong as ever?
Jack: Thank you very much! I think we’re all feeling very happy to finally have Curve of the Earth out in the open. We decided to build a recording studio and produce it together with our good friend Matt Twaites and it ended up taking 3 years to make. Like anything we are all naturally looking forward to what comes next. It’s only the very beginning really and taking the fruits of our labour on the road is something really quite exciting.
Artrocker: When you announced the record, you did so with a surreal video in Instagram, of a yacht… something weird being delivered to a yacht. What the hell was that?!
Jack: Ha! We took a band holiday to Croatia to celebrate mine and Blaine’s birthdays. We ended up having a lot of time on our hands and we had two VHS cameras with us. Being at sea for 2 weeks gave us a much needed breather from the album process, and we filmed a lot of funny things that I’m sure will end up seeing the light of day at some point over the next year or so.
Artrocker: Then there was a video which seemed to be the result of a drone going into space… are you having fun representing yourself creatively?
Jack: Always! That was actually the trailer video for the album. It was Blaine’s idea and making it was so much fun! We visited Herstmonceux observatory and fired a weather balloon with a go-pro attached to it up to space to film the Curve of the Earth!
Artrocker: There are some moving, sometimes tough songs to hear on the LP because they’re so honest – I’m thinking especially of Taken By the Tide. Can songwriting help musicians come to terms with tough emotional wounds, do you think?
Blaine: Absolutely. That song for me was a great example of how a song can just appear from out of a fog, like a ghost ship… I spent much of the winter of 2013 down at this beach house which I had rented on the south coast. I was bored of going out in London and I felt the need to be somewhere very isolated to allow songs to come.
One day I invited Henry down and played him this music which I had been playing on loop for three days without a title or any lyrics. When he took the headphones off he said ‘I can see fire, tall smoke stacks going up into the sky’. I instantly had this flashback to a band vacation we had in Varanassi in India, and watching the funeral pyres where the Hindu people send their loved ones up into the sky when they pass away.
It was also where the first incarnation of the Jets came to an end, so I guess that song was us drawing a parallel between those things, which will always be implicitly linked in my mind.
Artrocker: I got into your music relatively late and Serotonin is my first and biggest love in your discography. Will we see another Jets LP as upbeat and summery as that again?
Blaine: Knowing where music is going to take you next is like trying to change the weather, but I have a gut feeling that ‘Curve of the Earth’ is only the start of a new chapter for us. Being in a band hasn’t felt this much like being in a gang since we started out.
Back then it was us against the world, and although a lot has happened in the interim, I still feel like that when we get together – be it in a sweaty rehearsal room without sunlight for 10 hours a day, or over breakfast beers at the airport departure gate.
The idea of repeating ourselves has always been a big turn off, and yet there has been things I’ve loved about working with every producer we’ve been in a room with over the past ten years. Who is to say what the future holds…
Artrocker: Finally, we’re still gutted when we think about the loss of Bowie earlier this year. Was he important to the Mystery Jets – and if so, which song of his has the most resonance for you and why?
Blaine: There is a Bowie shaped hole in our world that could never be replaced. His passing felt like losing somebody we all knew very well. We all grew up with his music, he was without a doubt one of the most innovative and brave artists of all time, a true musical pioneer.
We recently ventured on a UK tour of record shops and covered ‘Five Years’ from ‘The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars’ every evening. So I have to say that would be the song that resonated the most with us as a band.
Mystery Jets will be one of the headline acts at Live At Leeds 2016, celebrating their 10th Anniversary on the 30th April. Tickets are on sale now at http://liveatleeds.com/tickets/