News Mafia Lights

We have a chat with Mafia Lights after their set at 1234 Festival.

When scouting the 1234 Shoreditch festival line up for possible bands to watch, we stumbled upon Mafia Lights - an ambitious and diverse, upcoming band. We checked them out at their aftershow party at the Underbelly and were pleasantly surprised to see a band that seemingly disregard the cool atmosphere of 1234 to deliver a supreme set of what could only be described as ‘real songs’. We caught up with them to talk about 1234, their future and their ideology:

What inspires you in writing your songs, is it current events, emotions, theories perhaps?
A desire to do something new, to develop a sound that was previously just an idea. We have touched on different things, some more fantasy than others. Some of the lyrics are personal and others are more inspired by losing our minds.

Would you agree that Mafia Lights stand out from the general musical blog by a clear disregard for changing movements and fortunes in music?
We would like to think so. It’s not that we don’t enjoy some of the current bands out there, but it’s more they aren’t doing things how we would want to, which I guess is reason enough for anyone to start a band. The demos we have now will sound completely different from what we are going to put up in the next couple of weeks, whereas most of today’s bands are likely to repeat repeat repeat and then just stop.

You have played at 1234 Aftershow Parties for the last two years, is there a certain link to 1234 that you have and how have you found those performances?
We keep getting asked back to play. Sean McLusky has known us since we started out a few years ago when we were all like 14, 15 and sort of stayed in contact since. It’s a cool festival but the after parties are always where it’s at. Last year the Old Blue Last was the most rammed I’d seen it and this year was no different; they have good vibes at those parties and everything seems to go off at the right moments.

What bands have you enjoyed at 1234 Festivals?
What I saw of Wavves was fun but I think Bobby Gillespie and his gang stole the show for me personally, covering MC5’s ‘I Can Only Give You Everything.’; they reminded us that rock and roll makes everything else sound rubbish when it’s done properly.

If you could curate an ATP festival lineup, who would you get on stage?
Joel: I’d pick The Bronx, Boards of Canada and Lightning Bolt.
Toby: Prince Buster, Stevie Wonder and Cockney Rejects.
James: Four Tet, The Stooges, an orchestra performing the works of Ennio Morricone.
Cameron: Bon Iver, Animal Collective.

What’s your favourite format for listening to music on?
A purchased format. That aside, we all love records but CDs are best to listen to music on. They are so round and meaty.

Do you believe that the DIY culture is good for music?
Always has been, always will be. Soon it will be the norm; dinosaur majors will die out, bands will split release, friends will record friends and everyone will be happy. Maybe.

Stage pyrotechnics - love or hate?
James chooses to play amidst a ring of fire, with lasers attached to his eye lids and wearing rocket skates. Other than that, they suck.

Where do your influences come from?
Our toughest question probably. In an age where music can be heard on the click of a button, there’s no excuse to be into a singular sound or scene. None of us like the same things but it’s why it works the way it does. Recently I’ve been listening to J Dilla and The Brian Jonestown Massacre, James’s car is full of QOTSA records and Four Tet remix CD’s, Cameron is basing a lot of his new compositions on Phillip Glass recordings and Toby is always adding to his vast collection of Reggae and Oi! records. Toby is an amazing jazz drummer, which opens everything up and Cameron can play the most ridiculous guitar segments. James and I like our riffs and our harmonies, so everything sort of contradicts and pulls away yet somehow it snaps back together. So everything fits in with everything else.

Does production matter to you when it comes to recording, or do your songs come together regardless of who’s on production duties?
Good songs are good songs, no matter what, but it seems that people are trying to mask bad ones with a ‘cool’ recording technique. We knew that’s definitely what we didn’t want when we recorded with Rory Brattwell, we wanted everything clear and raw. We recorded everything live a few times, over dubbed this and that and left it as it was. Rory is our favourite producer by a million miles, and he is integral to a lot of the sounds most bands from East London have put out over the last few years, so it was a pleasure to work with him.

Are there any plans to release material?
We are being included on the next Northern Star compilation which we are excited about because those guys have put out some of our favourite bands before others did and have their finger on the pulse when it comes to forward-thinking guitar music. Labels like Northern Star, XL and Wichita are our favourites in modern times, just for their output and ethics.

Do you believe that scenes or waves in music are important?
It’s fun to feel like you are part of something as it makes you feel stronger and that things are going to start happening. But after a while being part of something waters everything down, everyone sounds the same, you start to compete and it can get dull. We’d prefer to stand alone then be roped in or pigeonholed with anyone other than ourselves.

What are your thoughts on social networking and how that’s become a major part of the music industry?
We don’t really use them; MySpace is an elephant’s graveyard while Twitter just seems like the latest way to numb your mind. We don’t think they are the devil or anything but I would prefer the people we look up to to be as mysterious and romantically untouchable as possible, rather than telling us about their sleeping habits or favourite pets.

Tags: Mafia Lights, Neu

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