Interview + Giveaway :: Mystery Jets
September 19th 2012
The lads who make up the Mystery Jets are far from strangers to change.
Originally calling themselves Misery Jets (forced to change their name after an accidental typo) the band are reknowned for the poptastic indie rock they’ve graced us with over the past years. Here in the country touring their fourth record Radlands, it’s obvious that although the synths have disappeared and their sound has now changed, their tunes are just as fun and sing along-able as ever.
The Flog spoke to lead singer, Blaine Harrison, about the band’s experience recording in Texas, as well as their history of questionable wardrobe choices…
FBi: Your latest release Radlands sounds quite different to your previous releases, the synths are gone and your rockier, country sounds are even being compared to those of Neil Young. Was the change in direction a conscious decision?
Blaine: After our last album serotonin we felt we needed to break the mold. That album was such a pleasant experience to record that this time round we felt we wanted to make things a little more challenging for ourselves, I’ve often thought that we perform well when we find ourselves in unusual circumstances. You mention Neil Young- to me he is someone who has always been on his own trip, he walks along the ‘low side of the road’ where the ride is bumpier. We set off to Texas basically without any songs, and no producer.
What was it that made you decide to record in Austin, Texas?
Half the band wanted to head out to LA and the other half to Louisiana, I guess Austin kind of fell somewhere in the middle. We had played out there back in the day for SXSW and I really loved the place. It’s really not at all like the rest of Texas, it’s like a little blue dot in a big red square. If that makes sense.
Tell us about the album’s title. Is it true it’s a reference to the infamous Redlands estate? Despite having relocating to Texas to record this material, were you guys partying Keith Richards style?
Yeah Radlands in a sense is an amalgamation of ‘Redlands’ and ‘Badands’ (in reference to the Terence Malik movie) and it’s the name we gave our house out in Austin, which was this big new England style place with a porch and a yard that let right down to the Colorado River. We had a lot of fun but we weren’t really there to party- that’s what touring is for. We were there to get lost in the writing process.
Getting ready for your Australian shows off the back of this album, you guys must be pros at the touring thing by now! What’s your favourite thing about touring with the band even after all this time?
I would love to say we are pros, but looking at all the guys crashed out on the dressing room floor, I can’t really say that’s the case. I was thinking about this last night and came to the conclusion that I can’t really think of any other occupation that involves you basically not sleeping for days on end, and allows you to turn up at a job where they pay you in liquor and peanuts.
I saw Mystery Jets play back in 2008 at The Falls Festival and specifically remember you guys rocking some pretty awesome sparkly jackets on stage. Will such attire be making an appearance this time round? Or can we expect something completely different?
Our wardrobe ideas have varied hugely over the years, and have definitely slipped into the realm of the distasteful more than a couple of times. The glitter years were some of my favourites though. The Radlands look is pretty much all stuff we bought out in Austin. Western shirts, nice boots, and the odd tassel here or there. No rhinestones though so far.
Heading to this part of the world obviously involves some pretty lengthy flights. How do the Mystery Jets make their flights more bearable? Any particular records you listened to mid-air?
Before I left a good friend of mine sent me a whole drive of Paul McCartney rarities that I’ve been working my way through, all the amazing old B sides and one off live performances. But I spend a lot of time at airports on my laptop making tunes and recording things I hear around us.
Who: Mystery Jets + Toucan
Where: The Metro Theatre
When: Sunday 23rd September 2012
How Much: $47.90
Mystery Jets are also playing Fat as Butter Festival in Newcastle this Saturday 22nd September.
We’ve got a bunch of double passes to the Mystery Jets Sydney show on Sunday 23rd September. For your chance to win one, email firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us where you would most like to jet off to on a mystery flight.