We did an interview with Artrocker!
Fighting their way out of North Wales music, Wrexham four-piece Mowbird have stayed true to their DIY aesthetic and “slacker” surf rock only to find themselves with a new label, a new record and some interesting tales of life on tour. With critical plaudits flying in we though it only right that Artrocker find out exactly what this band is all about and what really shakes their boat. Let us meet Mowbird, or Ben Sawin (Vocals/Guitar), Suzanne Dempsey (Organ/Vocals), Mike Smith (Bass) and Ben Trow (Drums/Vocals)
Tell me about getting signed, how did it come about?
BS: Back in 2011, I mailed a copy of our second EP ‘Ilk’ to Shape Records because even back then we loved what they do, and a couple of years later we go through a line up change, Islet ask us to support them and when we recorded the album last year, the first thing we did was send them a copy. Now it’s coming out on vinyl. It’s a very collaborative working relationship - we’ve sustained a near complete DIY sensibility between all of us on this release.
What releases are in the pipeline, do you have any gigs coming up?
SD: 2014 is going to be a busy one for us - the H.A.H.O 7” on Popty Ping came out in January, the album ‘Islander’ via Shape is out in February along with a UK tour. Then we’ve got Focus Wales in April, plus some very exciting summer proposals.
What are your most notable gigs so far?
MS: Getting to play Green Man was obviously a bit of a dream come true for us, but the gigs I’ve enjoyed the most are the smaller, weirder venues where the crowd really get into what you’re doing. My favourite ever gig was at a place called The Gold Room in Glasgow, when we were on tour with Furrow. We got there really late because of some near death van trouble, to find it was a bedroom in a flat. We thought there’d be no one there, but it ended up being crammed with about sixty people and was really intense. The tour we’ve got coming up is hopefully going to have some similar experiences!
How would you describe your music and who are your influences? What do you write about?
BS: The songs are usually formed as entire packages within a short space of time. They tend to be more influenced by stimuli other than music - people, characters, films, places, temperal planes - all a combination of manifested constructions and the real world.
You all seems to play in a number of different bands, how does that work out?
SD: It works well - we juggle being in bands, full time work and living in two different countries and we still keep starting new projects and pushing for new creative ventures everyday. We all love being musicians and each one of us will always be in a band, whether it’s Mowbird or not.
Is there a specific North Wales/ Wrexham scene?
MS: The Wrexham music scene has it’s ups and downs I think. When I first moved to Wrexham in 2002 it was really vibrant, loads of incredible bands that all seemed to be doing something different. That sort of fizzled out for a while, with the exception of a choice few - Camera etc - and that’s kind of what inspired us to start a band. There wasn’t a lot going on that interested us at the time, but now Wrexham’s scene is amazing again. Bands like Camera, Lovers Open Fire and Heal The Last Stand are all making amazing music at the moment, and I’m pretty grateful to be a part of it.
What are your hopes and dreams for the future?
BS: Make more records, play abroad (Japan, Australia, America), get more instruments, take more photographs and see what the rest of the world do in their spare time.
As more and more bands from North Wales hit Artrocker’s radar we’re in no doubt that you’ll be hearing plenty more from these four – whether in the form of Mowbird or otherwise.
by Martyn Coppack