Brighton is one of my favourite cities for rock music, being the home of a series of incredible bands, festivals, and concert venues. Acts like Royal Blood, The Kooks and Blood Red Shoes have originated from the area which is known as a vivid lively city, a hub for music, art and creativity. And MISS are an exciting new rock band who are certainly a contender in shaping the city’s musical legacy. They’re formed of Marty on lead vocals, guitar and piano, Wilson on bass, and Ben on drums and synth. A couple of weeks ago I interviewed the band, asking about their local music scene, musical influences and their debut album plans, which can be read about below. They released their EP ‘Do You Feel Electric?’ back in November, and recently premiered their new track ‘Kinkajou’ on iTunes, Bandcamp and SoundCloud. They plan to start recording their debut album next month, and it’s already safe to say it’s going to be mega. Their music really excited me when I first listened to it- ‘Kinkajou’ is a proper heavy rock track, with a rich bass to it and a clever intricate drum riff. It’s such a catchy tune as well, with really cool soft vocals which contrast brilliantly with the heavy deep guitar sound. The band’s aura is very much alternative rock, with a very unique unconventional sound, drawing in experimental sounds and techniques which you don’t hear all the time. ‘Smokescreen’ is another one of theirs which I love- it’s got that unique extended intro with an intense, vivid guitar riff. The structure of the track is so unconventional and new- with soft light harmonising on the line ‘Do you feel electric? Me too.’ Marty’s voice is so raw and raspy and edgy, with a pure rock bite to it. Their music is like a mix of dark grime/ R&B with hypnotic indie rock, such a unique exciting sound. I also really liked ‘Ant vs Elephant’ which has a truly beautiful, stunning guitar riff. The high pitch harmonising with the lead vocals is mesmerising to listen to. It’s such a soft light track that’s just so hypnotically captivating, one of those tracks you don’t want to end. ‘We fight for the hell of it, Ant vs Elephant’ is just one of the intriguingly beautiful lyrics in the track. At around the 4-minute mark it changes so much in tone though, with heavier raspier vocals kicking in, making the track go from something soft and light to a proper head banger style rock track. They’re also a three-piece band, which intrigued me as rock bands now days tend to be two pieces (The Last Shadow Puppets, Slaves, and Royal Blood for example,) or four pieces, like Arctic Monkeys, Catfish and The Bottlemen and Wolf Alice. But, three piece acts have always been brilliant, given the likes of acts like YAK and The Enemy. The loud hazy guitar sound they have reminds me a lot of Royal Blood and Hendrix and Jimmy Page fused together, and there’s a clear 70s rock sound with a cool intriguing modern edge to it. If you have a chance to catch them live, definitely take it; there’s more information on their tour dates and other band info at their website, http://www.missbandofficial.com/. As for the line ‘do you feel electric?’- that’s just one way they make me feel. Their sound is vivid, electric, intensifying and unique, promising them a bright future in the music industry
My Q&A with the band:
- How long have you been a band and where did you meet?
Marty: Well myself and Benji-man met at uni, but it wasn’t until the beginning of 2015 that we started working on MISS. And then after we released our debut EP (Do You Feel Electric?) in November last year we went on the prowl for a third member for live shows at which point we found Wilson washed ashore in Brighton
Wilson: The other two have been a band since last year, when they recorded their EP ‘Do You Feel Electric?’ I joined the band to help the boys take their EP live at the start of this year.
- Whereabouts are you from and what’s your local music scene like?
Marty: I’ve moved around quite a lot, but grew up in Kent. We’re all Brighton based now though and are part of that music scene which is a pretty vibrant one
Ben: Brighton. The music scene is really good, perhaps too good because there’s so much going on all the time. But on the other hand there’s a consistent music appreciating audience
Wilson: I’m originally from Reading. I moved to Brighton before I got the chance to get into the gigging circuit in Reading, but a lot of exciting stuff is coming out there; Sundara Karma, Echoic, Kaldera
- Who did you grow up listening to and which bands inspire your music?
Marty: I listened to a lot of Motown and pop music from the 60s/70s when I was very small, but then Eminem was the first artist I got really into when I was about 11? When I started playing guitar at 15 I got put onto Hendrix and then I got into rock and blues. But in terms of what kind of music inspires MISS songs it’s hard to say. I listen to a lot of jazz, electronic, etc. Despite the fact some of our tracks are pretty rocky I don’t really listen to much rock music anymore
Ben: Miles Davis, Stanley Clarke- loads of jazz and blues. And heavier stuff like Led Zeppelin as well
Wilson: I grew up listening to the same records my Dad played in the car, so a lot of Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, Dire Straits etc. I loved the heaviness of Led Zeppelin, and this has evolved into what I listen to today, which is a lot of Biffy Clyro, Muse, Rage Against The Machine etc. I’m a sucker for a big riff!
- What’s the first record you bought?
Marty: The first single I ever bought was ‘I’m not a girl, not yet a woman’ by Britney Spears and the first album I ever bought was ‘Hot Shot’ by Shaggy. They’re both timeless classics
Ben: Dido- Life For Rent
Wilson: Slipknot’s self-titled album haha!
- Which venue is your favourite, and if you could headline any festival or venue what would it be?
Marty: My favourite venue we’ve played so far was Bleach in Brighton but Glastonbury’s where I’d most like to play. It’s the best place in the world
Ben: Headlining Glastonbury
Wilson: In Brighton I would have to say Concorde 2, it’s such a great venue to play and to watch gigs at! I would love to headline Truckfest, it’s the first festival I went to with my mates so it would be nice to play there one day!
- Is music a full time career for you, and why did you choose to have a career in it?
Marty: Essentially yeah, we just make fuck all money from it at the moment! And it’s not really a matter of choosing a career in it. I get bored to death doing anything else besides music and so it’s just a matter of working hard and hoping it pays off one day
Ben: Yeah it is, but people don’t pay for music in any form or genre anymore
Wilson: Music is definitely something I would love to make a living from. Frankly fuck doing anything else, I want to make music and perform to people!
- Tell me about your writing process and debut album plans
Marty: Normally I’ll write a song, demo it, show it to the guys and see how it goes down. Nowadays when I write I’m simultaneously thinking about production as well. I think that’s a side effect of working with Ben who’s always cooking up really cool experimental recording techniques and production ideas
Wilson: Marty is the main songwriter. He’ll normally come up with something and then send us a demo recording of it. The three of us then take that into rehearsal and start working out live arrangements and how to make it sound big, as there are only three of us. This process we work on together
- Who are your favourite musicians right now?
Marty: It changes week by week. In terms of current artists I’ve been listening to a fair bit of Sufjan Stevens and Oneothrix Point Never this week. But there are a few artists who are permanently at the top of my list; Tom Waits, Jimi Hendrix, Kendrick Lamar, Keith Jarrett. Those guys are all giants in their own right
Ben: Matt Bellamy
Wilson: At the moment I’m listening to a lot of David Gray, Damien Rice, and anything that Pino Palladino (session bassist) has played on! I’m loving John Butler Trio, such an incredible live band as well as in the studio. I’ve also been getting into Alabama 3, those guys write some really catchy hooks and beats!
- Who would be your dream artist to perform/ record with?
Marty: Kevin Parker
Wilson: I would love to work with Lana Del Rey. Her music is very emotional, and there are so many layers to it that replicating her material in a live setting would be a real challenge, and so much fun! I guess the big dream would be to play guitar with Mark Knopfler, he has such a particular way of playing, real genius!
Marty: Actually, I’m going to copy Wilson there and change my answer to Lana Del Rey. She’s the love of my life
- What’s the best gig you’ve ever been to?
Marty: The Hives at Glastonbury in 2013. They played at about one in the afternoon and everyone was going mental
Ben: A hardcore gig in Amsterdam. I don’t remember the name of the band, they weren’t big. But the whole room was shaking and sweat was dripping from the ceiling. It’s how high energy gigs should be
Wilson. Nickleback at the O2. Nah I’m joking, there are too many incredible gigs I’ve been to. A handful of them would have to be Iron Maiden, Mark Knopfler, John Butler Trio, and Skindred!
- What inspires your lyrics?
Marty: All sorts. Liquorice all sorts. Certainly not other lyricists. Films, poems, things people say in conversation. I quite like fiddling with idioms. I dunno. I’m sort of constantly sniffing out words that sound good together. Or on their own
- What’s your opinion on current day politics, and is it something you’d consider writing about?
Marty: Well I’m pretty ashamed to be British. Everything’s so ridiculous at the moment it would be funny if the implications and possible repercussions weren’t so sinister. But I don’t think I’d write a song about it, at least not directly. And if I did, about 50% of the population would disagree with it from the off
Ben: Everyone’s a cunt basically. Topple one cunt and there’s another one to take his/ her place. I’m too angry about politics to write about it.
For more on MISS, you can visit the following pages:
©Photo one taken by Dani Bower