Mystery Jets talk war, murder and the credit crunch
‘I heard 2009 is going to be the year of New Rave. It’s catchy. Old rave isn’t good.’ You heard it here first kids. Now plaster on the glow paint and hold your sticks aloft – Mystery Jets are coming to a town near you.
Having just played a well-received set at the Freshers’ Ball, the band is both in, and drinking plenty of, high spirits. Their sarcasm isn’t malicious though – in fact nothing they say seems to come across that way.
When asked if they could swap anyone on the bill that evening with anyone else, singer Blaine deadpans
‘I’d swap Shitdisco for someone even shitter – shitter disco.’ Even with this, however, it isn’t clear whether Blaine genuinely dislikes his fellow Freshers’ Ball-band or whether his words are just meant as harmless banter.
When Blaine and drummer Kapil talk about their acoustic set on campus last year at East Slope bar, though, their appreciation is clear. ‘It was wicked – a really pleasant surprise,’ says Blaine.
‘I think East Slope was my best gig of the whole tour.’ Adds Kapil.
Blaine continues, ‘It was a really odd tour. It was kind of pitched by the record label – quite cynically – to appeal to the student population of all these towns, and we we’re kind of like, “Well, we’ll see how it goes”, but Sussex was one of the first ones we did and they were really into it. By the end I think we did Preston, and that was enough. We kind of cancelled the last couple of them…’
The East Slope gig certainly faired better than the set they played at last May’s Great Escape Festival, during which a certain Mystery Jet threatened onstage to kill the lighting man. Once again though, this threat somehow managed to avoid being malicious. ‘I think Will (guitarist) said that. Will’s killed a lot of people though. He once killed a man in Liverpool.’ Admits Kapil.
‘The problem with lighting I often find, as someone who hasn’t played guitar for very long, when the lights go out you can’t see the dots on the guitar frets.’ Explains Blaine.
‘But you should know…’
‘I should know, but because I don’t it creates a massive obstacle and it means that the songs suffer.’
‘You know Linkin Park had that glow in the dark guitar?’ Kapil turns to Blaine, ‘that’s what you need to get.’
Would the band like to be bigger than Linkin Park one day?
‘We’d like to be as good as Linkin Park,’ states Kapil.
‘If you’re on a par with the Park…’ Blaine begins.
Then you’re almost as good as U2?
‘Or Johnny Borrell.’ Kapil adds.
This refers, of course, to the lead singer of Razorlight – a man who once famously claimed he was ‘better than Dylan.’ Do the Mystery Jets have any overblown statements to make?
Blaine jumps straight in: ‘We’re better than Johnny Borrell. Which means we’re better than Dylan and Johnny Borrell.’
‘But we didn’t say we were better than Dylan,’ Kapil cuts in, ‘we just said we’re better than Johnny Borrell. That’s all right – that’s not that bad because everyone knows Johnny Borrell is better than Dylan.’
Inevitably, conversation turns to war. Both Kapil and Blaine claim that the band’s name ‘doesn’t mean anything,’ but do any of them have a favourite jet in particular?
‘Yeah – the Stealth Bomber,’ says Blaine, ‘or the Mesherschmidt Comet. That’s the actual jet we used in our artwork.’
‘That’s a Nazi plane isn’t it?’ asks Kapil.
‘I don’t endorse the holocaust. There’s no point denying it,’ adds Blaine.
‘But some people do want to deny it.’
‘But those people – they aren’t part of the fanbase.’
Is it fair to say that the Mystery Jets are anti-Nazi then?
‘Well… Well… I dunno,’ Kapil hesitates, ‘I think you (points at Blaine) and me, yeah. But the others… I’m not so sure.’
Blaine and Kapil’s favourite war, on the other hand, is a little less controversial. ‘What’s the one in Apocalypto?’ asks Blaine.
‘The Aztecs?’ his bandmate offers, ‘No it was the tribe – Jaguar Paw.’
‘Jaguar Paul? You mean Paul the jaguar?’
‘…versus Aztec Steve.’
‘Yeah, so, the Apocalypto war.’ Blaine concludes.
So: half anti-Nazi and a love of gory Mel Gibson films – it’s hard to know what to make of it all. Perhaps the
mystery surrounding the lyrics to their recent hit single Two Doors Down is something that can be solved, though. Exactly how is it that someone can be in love with the girl next-door, if she actually lives two doors down? The answer, apparently, is simple.
‘Anyone who’s lived in a house would know that neighbours can refer to people all up and down the street. So the girl next door could be five doors down.’ Explains Blaine. Is there no basis to the theory that the door numbers count diagonally along the street in question, so that number 25 sits directly next to number 27, and so on?
Blaine is adamant, ‘I think it’s a lot simpler than that – you’re thinking too much about it.’
‘Yeah, we’re not Radiohead,’ adds Kapil.
‘We don’t like to over think things,’ continues Blaine, ‘three chords are plenty for us. You know, keep everything in the present tense and you’ll be fine.’
Finally, in such financially difficult times, can the Mystery Jets offer their fans any solution to the credit-crunch™?
‘Crunch-Core. It’s the most relevent sub-genre of music,’ offers Blaine.
‘No no,’ Kapil argues, ‘the credit-crunk. You get a lot of juice and alcohol, and if you want to get crunked-up you put in some East-coast hip-hop – Lil’ Wayne, Billy Joel, DJ Shadow…’
‘DJ FTSE 100,’ Blaine interjects, ‘There’s many megastars of the crunch-core genre.’
‘Like MC Wallstreet. And in Brighton, you can have M C Gull…’
Oh yes, they went there. The Mystery Jets – a band unable to resist a pun:
‘…flocking to a town near you.’
And that they will be – the Mystery Jets’ European tour supporting the Kooks will include yet another stop at the Brighton Centre on 29 November.