It has been a huge year for Liverpool-based rock band The Mysterines so far, following the release of their debut album ‘Reeling’ back in March. Gemma Cockrell chatted to the band’s front-woman Lia Metcalfe about the album, their upcoming US tour, and the summer festival season.
‘Reeling’ saw immense success for The Mysterines, especially in light of it being their first ever full-length release, charting at number nine in the UK. “I feel relieved! We spent a long time listening to it before it was out, but now, with it being out, and the reaction that it’s had, which was not really expected to be honest, has made me feel better about the record. I’m glad it’s out, and I’m glad people can go and listen to it, and people are still discovering it.”
The Mysterines swiftly took the album on the road following its release, with some in-store performances at record stores across the UK. “We did the in-store tour, playing the record stripped-back, which people didn’t really expect us to be able to do, because they associate us with loud shouting! But it was nice to strip it back, we probably enjoyed it more when we played it stripped-back than we did on the actual tour with the loud guitars,” she admitted. “It was nice, it was intimate with people, it was good to know that everyone who was there was there for the record and because they enjoyed the music.”
The Mysterines are very unique as a band in the sense that the broader term of ‘rock’ seems to suit them quite well, rather than confining them to any subgenres. “I think we’ve got a lot of influences, which merge into one thing. We’re pretty good at bouncing off each other in terms of sound. Everything revolves around the melody and the words often reflect the tone of the song. A lot of it comes from The Velvet Underground, The Strokes, Radiohead, and Bob Dylan, who is mine and Callum’s God, pretty much!” Lia laughs, speaking of the outfit’s guitarist Callum Thompson. “Although a lot of these people aren’t associated entirely with heavy rock, which is what we’re often associated with, it’s important for us to reflect these people in our stuff in some way, shape or form.”
“I’m super grateful, but its not the reason why I wrote the record, and it never will be”
In terms of playing the album live, Lia explains that “Reeling, Under Your Skin, The Confession Song, and On The Run” are her favourite tracks to perform to an audience, “all for different reasons, I suppose. They all have the biggest outlet for me, emotionally. So, that’s been nice to do, I’ve never had that before on stage. Under Your Skin is good because we play it differently to the record, it’s a lot heavier live, it goes a bit Arcade Fire towards the end which is always fun to do.” The band have had no trouble selling out tour dates over the past year. “I didn’t really realise they’d sold out until I was on stage every night looking out at the people. This world that has been created around the record, like people coming to the shows, is not unimportant to me because I’m super grateful, but its not the reason why I wrote the record, and it never will be. But if people want to come and enjoy the record live, that’s amazing.”
The Mysterines hail from Liverpool, a city with one of the most exciting up-and-coming music scenes of the UK. However, the band have still succeeded in paving their own lane in the music industry. “I don’t feel like a part of [the Liverpool scene] to be honest, I don’t mix a lot with it. I feel like we’ve always been on the outside, I don’t know if that’s because I don’t have super curly hair, wear Fred Perry and jump around on stage – that’s probably why! It’s good that there’s so many creatives, but I don’t see being a part of it as important. That’s not to be arrogant, but I just think we’re very different to the other bands, and there’s nowhere for us to slot in right now.”
Another viewpoint of Lia’s that I wanted to delve into, with her being a woman in a band herself, was the recent debate surrounding whether describing bands as ‘female-fronted’ is no longer appropriate. “Again, I couldn’t really give a f*ck!” she laughs. “It’s not really important to me, there’s bigger issues that I think could be tackled instead. I don’t think ‘female-fronted’ is a genre, because that doesn’t mean anything, but genres don’t make much sense anymore anyway. I was speaking about this with someone the other day, who said ‘female-fronted’ and then they said ‘sorry, male-backed’ and I was like ‘what?’ – the males are at the back for a reason, I’m at the front! But I’m not too bothered really, there are bigger things for me that I have been affected by.”
Moving the conversation on to their upcoming touring plans, in less than two weeks, The Mysterines will embarking on their first ever US tour. “I’m excited about the whole thing! I’ve never been, so it’s going to be weird. We did an American press conference the other day. I don’t think they get sarcasm so I’m going to have to change that one,” she laughs. “But we’re all super excited. I’m excited for Detroit, because it has a lot of musical history. I’m pretty unprepared to be honest, we go to the Embassy tomorrow and I have no idea what to say. Naively unprepared, but naively looking forward to it at the same time!”
“Festivals are fun, everything is just one big party, and we’re pretty good at that”
Their touring plans don’t stop here, however, with a summer brimming with festival appearances, including Kendal Calling, Out East, Deer Shed, Y Not, and Meadowlands festival, focusing on the latter in particular. The Nottingham-based festival, that will take place on 3rd June 2022, is one that I know a lot of our readers are looking forward to, as well as being The Mysterines’ first festival appearance of the summer. “I think the festival season will definitely have a buzz around it, I think people will be wanting to get stuck in. So, I’m sure we will too, and we’ll either be very hungover or very drunk. Hopefully the latter! Festivals are fun, everything is just one big party, and we’re pretty good at that.”
The Mysterines’ touring schedule will keep them busy until the end of 2022, with a recently announced show at the O2 Forum Kentish Town in London in December. “We announced those today. We were pretty late delivering that actually… I completely forgot about it and I had seven missed calls from my manager!” Lia laughs. “But that’ll be really good obviously, it’s a pretty big step for us.” The band also have a European tour scheduled for September, “and some more stuff we still have to announce that I’m not allowed to mention yet,” she teases. “I have to keep checking my calendar to keep up with it, stuff keeps getting added all the time! We’ve got a lot on this year – it’s pretty overwhelming, but it’ll be fun.”
Featured image courtesy of Steve Gullick via Chuff Media. Permission to use granted to Impact. No changes made to this image.
In-article images 1 and 3 courtesy of @themysterines via instagram.com. No changes made to these images.
In-article image 2 courtesy of @inmeadowlands via instagram.com. No changes made to this image.
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