Mourning Birds are a 5-piece rock band from Medway, Kent. They performed an electrifying set at one of Benumu’s Sunday Sessions held at Camden Assembly and afterwards we got a chance to pick their brains about the music industry and… crisp flavours. Beers in hand they gave us some pretty great answers. Mourning Birds are a rock and garage rock band with a few punky elements who have gained attention from BBC Radio 1, BBC 6 Music, BBC Kent Introducing, NME, XFM/Radio X and Amazing Radio as well as numerous blogs and alternative radio stations. Their stormy, rhythmic tracks, bolstered by an energy derived from their genuine passion for music makes for an exhilarating listen.
To start off, would you explain the origins of your band name?
(Pete) Oooo, that’s a good one (Jimmy) You know what, there is nothing interesting about it. (Jimmy) We literally put some names in a hat – (Dale) It wasn’t even a hat, it was a lunchbox. (Jimmy) Was it a lunch box? (Dale) Yeah, it was a lunchbox. (Jimmy) And that’s how we got the name!
So all of you were present?
(Pete) Nah, these three were in the band originally, it was a three-piece (Dale) Yeah, basically out of a hat, nothing glamorous. (Jimmy) No, there’s no deep meaning behind our name. (Sam) We like it though, don’t we? (Dale) Yeah, we do like it – it’s the best thing that could have come out of the hat I’ll tell you… (Sam) Yeah, you should have seen some of the others…
How many tries did you have before you settled for ‘Mourning Birds?’
(Dale) About three or four hundred -laughs- We were there a little while, but we didn’t have much to do so it didn’t matter. We had a few drinks and got the lunch box out, some words on paper
Which is your favourite venue you’ve played so far?
(Pete) If I’m gonna be honest, it’s here! (Jimmy) This has been a great venue. (Bill) Really good.
If you could perform anywhere in the world, no restrictions, where would it be?
(Pete) Glastonbury, definitely. (Bill) I’d like to think Rock In Rio (Dale) Can it be in any time as well? (Pete) In the universe? Then, the moon for me (Bill) I’d like to play on the moon with Oasis – (Jimmy) I don’t want to play with Oasis, them chumps! (Bill) But they support and we headline. (Jimmy) What have they even done? Jog on.
And if you could experience any musical era which would it be?
(Jimmy) Probably late 60s, early 70s. End of that psychedelic stuff, all that nonsense. (Pete) Like Stones, Beatles – (Jimmy) Into the hard heavy rock; Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath (Bill) Bowie, Ziggy Stardust… (Jimmy) Even verging onto Punk and stuff. Just a mixture of all of it, really.
And what do you think of the era you’ve landed in?
(Bill) Yeah, it’s alright, getting there, growing again. (Jimmy) It’s okay. (Bill) You can see form the bands that performed tonight that it is legitimately growing – nods of agreement – there was a lull about five years ago and there seemed to be a bit of a struggle. There’s bands coming out and you can see they have the right attitude.
Did you feel the difference of last year of how bands try to take everything into their own hands without the necessity of a middle man?
(Sam) Well what happened was that the money ran out, we’re all paying to do gigs so it’s down to us to think we want to do this so lets fucking do it ourselves, because no other cunt is gonna help us out. (Pete) But, the benefit of that is that if you do well you get it all to yourself and there’s no one taking a chunk out of you. (Sam) Creativity stays, doesn’t it. (Jimmy) That’s the thing isn’t it – everyone making that transition to realise that everything is online now, and everything is Spotify, social media – (Pete) You don’t sell albums anymore, it’s all streaming. You don’t sell singles, it’s all playlists. (Sam) There’s a lot of big bands out right now that aren’t even on big record labels that are selling a lot of records, and some even self-manage or do their own PR or have one little team and it’s better for the music because you have less people interfering.
Do you ever find self-managing annoying because it distracts you from what you really want to be doing – creating?
(Jimmy) It can be annoying in a lot of ways. (Sam) If you take it into you rown hands you can just churn out any old shit. (Jimmy) The problem lies in the fact that in the past you’d have record labels come up to you and offer you a big bunch of money, so you could go into the studio and spend as much time as you want in there. You’re limited now because you can only afford what you can afford. You can’t spend loads of time in the studio.
Absolutely, but again, you hear horror stories about people being given a budget and being told to do whatever they want, but then when they do whatever they want they sort of lose their own voice.
(Pete) Yeah, that’s the problem. (Sam) That’s the problem with record labels, the more you get the more you’ve go to pay back the less likely you’ll be able to live off it, and ultimately, that is what everyone wants to do .
Slightly lighter, if you had to liken each other to animals what would they be?
(Jimmy) That’s interesting (Jimmy) Let’s just name eachother from the left (Sam) I’d just be a chicken. (Pete) No, you have to name from the left! (Sam) Alright, you’d be some sort of bear. (Pete) I’ll take that. Jimmy, you’d be a raccoon. (Jimmy) I’m a raccoon. Okay Dale. I would say badger but I think a squirrel – laughs – (Dale) I’m going for a barn owl. (Bill) Sam would be a rabbit and he’s got one tattooed on him. (Sam) Fuck off, I would not be a rabbit.
Okay, now a less abusive question –
(Pete) Yeah, less swearing. (Sam) Fucking hell! (Jimmy) This is 2018 (Bill) Fucking rotting cunt. (Jimmy) Language!
If you were a crisp flavour what would it be?
(Sam) Brannigan’s ham and mustard. (Pete) Pickled onion Monster Munch (Jimmy) I’d go for limited edition Marmite flavour or something (Dale) Salt and vinegar discos (Bill) That man wreaks of prawn and cocktail wotsits –laughs- (Sam) I’m sure she said something less abusive…
If you could see a band or artist who is no longer performing who would it be?
(Sam) Maximo Park (Pete) I would go for either Prince or Bowie (Jimmy) Yeah, I’d go for Bowie or The Doors. (Dale) Elliott Smith (Bill) Pulp!(Jimmy) Their still going mate, you could still get tickets for Pulp. God, be a bit more creative man (Bill) You said the same as Pete!
Which of your songs took the longest to compose?
(Sam) Which was the shortest would probably be a better question – ‘Oh Yeah’ literally took us ten or fifteen minutes, we don’t spend long on songs (Jimmy) We really don’t, I’m sure you can tell…
And in your opinion what is your worst song to date?
(Pete) Danger! It’s got to be Danger! Danger is the worst song.
Do you have any songs that you really hate but the crowd love?
(Pete) Danger! Yeah, we played it and everyone was like ‘You’ve got to record that, that’s a single, but when we went into the studio and played it it was absolute fucking dogshit. By the time we got out the studio we were just fucking sick of it. We wasted a full day in the studio with that. (Jimmy) We’re actually selling singles -laughs- five pounds each… (Pete) We’d fucking give ‘em away. If anyone wants to like remix it or something or try and do something with what we recorded we’ll throw it out there.(Dale) Yeah, don’t put it in our name though…
Final question – what is planned for the future of Mourning Birds?
(Pete) Well, immediate future, we’re playing the Good Mixer on the 10th November which should be a good one.(Jimmy) We have just come out the studio and have three singles produced with brilliant Gavin Monaghan. (Dale) He’s done loads of our stuff. (Pete) He worked with Robert Plant, he did all the editors albums and everything so he was really good.