06 December 2010

Fresh Meat Monday - Trapped Mice

Would you care to introduce yourself?

Brian: I’m Brian and I play bass and occasionally ukulele, we have Ian on guitar and lead vocals, Dave on guitar and backing vocals, Anne on violin and Barry on the drums.

How would you describe the music you make?

Brian: I always find it hard to describe my own music; ‘Alt-folk with fingers in the noise pie’ is the best description I’ve heard so far. We’ve got some really stripped back songs like A Brief Introduction to Modern History and Beat, right up to Ghostwriter Blues which you might even describe as sort of noise-rock. We’ve got a lot of dynamics going on in our songs but I think we do a good job of creating a recognizable sound.

Ian: Yeah it's hard to describe your own music without sounding like a bit of a twat - there's always the risk of slipping into "yeah it's an effortless fusion of genres..." territory. Saying that, a lot of my favourite bands have really nice touching quiet songs and really bleak songs and really fucking loud songs, so that's something I've been aiming for I guess. I certainly like the sound of noise pie.

How did you start out making music?

Brian: Ian and Barry used to play in a band called The Caravel Post together and when their guitarist and bassist left they wanted to keep playing together so started looking for some new people. Me and Dave joined up with them in April and we got a set together then decided we wanted to augment things with a fifth member so invited Anne along at the start of summer. Ian had been performing these songs under the name Portrait of the Great Father, but we decided that as a band we’d rather be called Trapped Mice, mainly to avoid any religious connotations.

Ian: There was an incident with a mouse. We needed a name and I couldn't find any other bands on google called Trapped Mice. Not sure if that's a good sign or not...

What process goes into the way you write songs?

Brian: Usually Ian brings the lyrics and a guitar part to practice for us to jam out but what happens before that is a mystery to me!

Ian: Yeah sometimes I write the lyrics all in one go, and often those turn out to be my favourite songs. Other times I'll have a couple of ideas bouncing around in there for a while until they stick together and start to make sense. Once I've got a rudimentary song together I take it to the others and they try and make it nice to listen to...

What can people expect from your live shows?

Brian: I think if you’ve only listened to the songs which we recorded and stuck up on the bandcamp page at the start of summer you might be surprised by a few of the louder songs we usually play live. Visually you can probably expect Ian to be pretty animated in the middle while the rest of us make eyes towards our instruments.

Ian: Animated eh? Yeah I guess I can get a bit excited sometimes. It's still kinda early days for us - we played our first gig together two months ago so we're still learning our trade, and enjoying it rather a lot I would say, albeit with a few rough edges here and there!

What are you all listening to at the moment?

Brian: Meursault is probably the band I’m most listening to most just now,along with The Last Battle’s new album and some Death From Above 1979or Alexisonfire when I feel like something a bit louder.

Ian: Well my most recent purchase is the new Grinderman album which has been rocking my socks off the last few days, and generally I'd say the last year or so has seen my love of Nick Cave reach new levels of obsession. Apart from that, I recently discovered the first Red House Painters album and it's hardly left my CD player since. I'm in awe of the way Kozelek can write these long, meandering songs with hardly any instrumentation that suck you in and leave you wanting more when they eventually fade out ten minutes later. I know the rest of team mouse have been variously spending time with the new Belle and Sebastian album and the Villagers album among others.

What can we expect to see/hear from you in 2011?

Brian: We've just put out our self-recorded "Portrait of the Great Father" EP which is available for free download on bandcamp and on CD from us and in Avalanche. We'll hopefully be getting some interest in that and some feedback before we go to record some new tracks at Elba Studios in January. Everyone's heading home for a few weeks over Christmas so December is pretty quiet for us gig-wise but we'll be back playing live in the new year and should have some new songs too. It looks like we'll be making our debut outside of Edinburgh in the new year too so we're really looking forward to that!

Ian: Yeah we're itching to get out and play the new songs and maybe get them down on tape too. I'd like to release an album's worth of songs sometime next year but I'm aware we should probably try to exercise some sort of quality control! I've got a couple of ideas for spicing things up with field recordings etc. but the rest of the band don't know about that yet... I've edited Ian's words slightly but should be fine, hopefully it's suitable. Oh, we've got a gig on the 4th February at The Wee Red Bar and I'm fairly sure we're playing at Jim's gig at Stereo on the 21st January but I'm not sure if I'm allowed to tell anyone about that yet...

Trapped Mice - Waving and Pointing


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