Tuesday, 17 March 2015

We're Only Here For The Banter - Mayor Stubbs

Hailing from Lanarkshire, Mayor Stubbs is the alt-folk project of Matt Adam; and also the name of an Alaskan mayor who happens to be a cat.  Working with renowned producer Andy Miller, Mayor Stubbs releases his self titled EP on the 23rd of this month.  Ahead of that, I caught up with Matt for a quick Q&A.

Hello!   How the devil are you?

Hey Neil, I am grand!  Currently working away in Camp Stubbs getting everything perfect for the EP launching.  I'm getting right excited to officially share it with everyone

It's the question everyone hates, but could illuminate our readers with a little bit about your music and your influences?

No hassle at all!  The influence question is always a bit of a tough one for me, there isn't any particular musician or songwriter that made me decide to start writing music in the style of Mayor Stubbs.  I've always been in the mindset that for people to be able to enjoy the music it has to be genuine, honest and original - not trying to replicate or build on someone else's sound.

The resulting sound is barebones indie folk music.  The guitar's a bit wanky, the vocals a bit wonky but I'm proud of it and all I want to do is share it with others.

What's your song-writing / creative process like?

My songs are built from the guitar up - I definitely identify myself as a guitar player over a vocalist so the initial stages of writing are always a lot of fun for me.  I tend to stick to pop sensibilities (I'm a big fan of perfect 3 minute pop song) and from there I like to push the guitar to create unique and original music.  It's such a versatile instrument and there's so much you can do to really work the guitar and manipulate the sound.  It's a shame, my poor wee guitar (lovingly named Chief by my friends and I) takes some beating.

Lyrically, its a bit of a tougher process for me.  I struggle to sit down and assign time to writing a song so I try not to give it too much conscious thought at all.  The lyrics usually come from some little epiphany or thought I have when I'm spending time alone, then I'll try to articulate that thought as genuinely as possible.  From that point, it's a pretty immediate process where that initial thought gives me enough momentum to keep writing until I feel I'll conveyed and resolved whatever that thought was.  When I've finished, I don't tend to go back and edit or tweak - it's all about capturing that initial thought as pure as I can.

What could we expect to see from a live show?

I'm very aware that a live show is a shared experience - I don't feel its enough to just play a solid set.  It's all about connecting with the people who've taken time to come and see me and giving them something to take away from the gig.  With the songs being so personal, I feel if you can take something from Mayor Stubbs then you're part of Mayor Stubbs; it's as much about the connection as it is the music. 

So at a Mayor Stubbs live show you can see me stomping around on stage, beating the harmony from my guitar and singing good songs to good people.

Tell us about your new self titled EP.

The recording process was a simple and relaxed affair.  I knew from the beginning that I didn’t want a fancy polished record, I wanted whoever was listening to my songs to feel like I was sat in front of them just playing them a few tunes.  The whole EP was recorded, mixed and mastered in two days.  I really didn’t want it to feel like the EP was a result of the studio but more to use the studios to produce an honest and bare-boned representation of what Mayor Stubbs is musically.

To get that human and genuine sound the songs were recorded live in Gargleblast Studios mostly in single takes with minimal production afterwards.  I knew I wanted to work with Andy Miller (engineer at Gargleblast) not just because of who he’s worked with before (Mogwai, De Rosa, Arab Strap, Life Without Buildings) or his crazy knowledge of sound, but because we've known each other as friends for years and I was adamant that only if I was somewhere familiar and constant, would I be able to avoid the red light syndrome and record my songs honestly. 

I'm very excited to officially release the EP on the 23rd March through Gargleblast Records.  The EP will be available at mayorstubbs.bandcamp.com and all other online retail and streaming services.

What else have you got planned for 2015?

On the 29th March I'm doing a launch gig at the Flying Duck on Renfrew Street.  Tickets are £5 and available on the door.  It's looking like a great night already and I can't wait to play in The Flying Duck, it's a really cool space for a gig.

I'll also be supporting Henry & Fleetwood at the Glad Cafe on 11th April for their EP launch.

What are you listening to at the moment?

A whole mess of stuff which really doesn't marry up with my wee folky tunes haha.  I've been listening to Sylvan Esso pretty constantly for a while - their album is so well put together in terms of arrangement and production.  Also been listening to Run the Jewels, Sleater-Kinney, PAWS, Alvvays and, as always, Death Cab For Cutie.

Locally, I'm really digging A Sudden Burst of Colour, Finn LeMarinel, Amatrart, Michael Timmons and my label mates TOWERS (they make a mean noise!) at the moment.

Check out more from Mayor Stubbs

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