Published on October 23rd, 2012 | Jonny Abrams
Bristol rave-makers Kosheen recently released their splendid fourth album Independence, so Rocksucker caught up with their affable drummer Mitchell Glover the night after their typically explosive headline show at O2 Academy Islington…
How did the Academy gig go?
Last night was epic! When you get four albums into your career, you’ve really got a real set, as opposed to earlier on when you’re playing from one or two albums. You get a really intimate gig at the O2 Academy, you can really get into it, and the new songs were going off really well so it was a good show, it was bumping. It had been four or five years since we last played London, there were a lot of old faces there as well as some new ones.
What are the others in the band like as touring partners?
Everyone’s good; we’ve gotten to know each other really well from touring over the years. Sian [Evans, vocals] is the only female member so it can be tough for her, but everyone gets on really well. We’ve known each other for ages.
Were you involved in the writing of Independence?
Basically, yeah. As with the last one [2007’s Damage], it was a very collective effort because we’ve all got studios now. The bulk of the embryos of the tracks were recorded in Bristol, but Markee [Substance, production]’s in Prague, Darren [Decoder, production]’s in Somerset, and everyone’s got really good studio setups. Markee would send me some stuff, I’d bounce some ideas back to him, and it just worked like that, really. Everyone was working from Logic so we were all on the same wavelength, although Sian does her stuff quite early on [in the process].
We were all getting stuck in, basically. I was recording drum tracks down here, maybe changing structural ideas to see what worked. The bulk of the work was done in Bristol, but the internet is such now that you can connect from anywhere and send ideas back and forth. Well all chipped in with bits and it got there in the end.
What’s the significance of the album’s title?
The band has been branching out by themselves for a period of years; we were on a major label for the first two albums, but we’re not a pop band so after we left Sony BMG we went on a licensing thing for Universal. In the time since the last album, the band set up their own record label. A lot of bands now are releasing stuff by themselves, so the title’s to do with that, the band doing all the work, the whole process, not being closely watched over by a higher source. That’s the main reason behind the title; nothing too complicated!
You play the drums with a tremendous amount of enthusiasm. Is that something you ever think about in any way, or is it just second nature?
I just get really into it when I’m onstage, enter another world, basically. I wasn’t like that when the band first started, but as time has gone on and the tracks have developed, everyone’s developed as performers, you know? I haven’t always done that in everything that I’ve done, like more chilled-out projects, but with Kosheen it’s quite full-on, trancy, in-your-face stuff, and it just comes out naturally.
I think it’s something people affiliate with the band; over the years people who have come to see us have said “you and Sian really go for it”, because some of the other guys in the band are quite rigid through having electronics and stuff to handle. Sian and I feed off each other’s energy, so it’s definitely a vibey thing.
What’s the story behind the “Stumpy Tree” videos?
(Laughs) We were on tour and our tour bus was parked up somewhere. The guys and I were in the back of the bus watching a movie when Sian and our backing singer at the time came on the bus, and she started playing a guitar and trying to show me how to sing, which didn’t quite work out (laughs). We’d had a few drinks, one thing led to another, and I just launched into a version of “Stumpy Tree”. There was no relevance to anything, really, but Sian started taking it seriously so I just had to go with it!
Are you involved in any other projects at the moment?
At the moment I’m working with someone called Jay Stevens, and that’s a rock thing, like a Velvet Revolver/Guns N’ Roses kind of thing, there’s an underground hip-hop thing I’m involved with, I’ve been working on and off with a band called Viva City who supported us last night, and then I’ve jumping in and out of other little session bits with friends.
Jason Lee is someone I’ve been keeping an eye on; it’s really fresh stuff, and he’s got a bunch of well-known session guys backing him up. He hasn’t got anything online at the moment; I think he’s waiting to bring it all out in one package, you know. Also, I teach in my studio, so I’m always playing drums! This is just an hour’s break I’ve got, otherwise it’s non-stop.
Worse ways to spend a day!
It’s not bad, you just don’t see a lot of daylight! I got in really late last night, didn’t get to bed ’til around 4am.
Finally, if you had to spend the rest of your life in solitary confinement, with the back catalogues of just five different musical artists for company, whose would you choose?
Rage Against The Machine, The Prodigy, Korn, Gary Numan and The Roots.
Mitchell Glover, thank you.