Interview : The Muscle Club

Here is the first Music Liberation interview of 2009, with Ceri Jones and Mike Bateson-Hill from young Welsh band The Muscle Club.

Q1. Describe your music in three words?

Mike - "Laughing into the-abyss!"

Ceri - "That's four you numbskull, anyway, I'd say, "spiky art pop" or at least thats what someone else said about us, it just rolls off the tongue nice."

Q2. Who are your musical and non-musical influences?

M - "Musically, Pixies, Pavement, Desaparecidos, The Cure, The Smiths, The Cribs, Weezer, Les Savy Fav et al."

C - Loads of stuff dude, everything you hear has some sort of influence, bands that made me want to be in a band however are Jimmy Eat World, New Found Glory and loads of pop-punk in general! Haha. I think we all ended up together whilst liking a load of different stuff. Mike bases his entire shtick on being Spike Milligan and I love making tee shirts to sell at gigs. I do the designs and print them in my kitchen. As far as everything though, FACTORY was a huge movement that makes me wish I was born in Manchester, then left before manc pop of course but you know what I mean, it is a huge influence though and definately a model that, whilst not perfect, is something I'd like to try and follow."

Q3. What's on your agenda for the next 12 months? (Tours/Releases/etc..)

C - "The next 12 months will be as busy, or busier than the last, having formed just last January we crammed a lot in, so doing a tour seemed the right way to progress. We're re-releasing, kind of, HAIL JOE HALE, the 7" we did ourselves and then looking to do something again in April or May in the form of a brand new single."

Q4. What role do you think bloggers have in the current state of the music industry?

M - "Well i suppose they do have a positive influence in that they give people the chance who actually like music a space to air their music tastes. They are like a proverbial mouthpiece for music fans to share music to large groups of people, as opposed to just record company people just paying magazines to write about one of their bands. It's more democratic in that sense isn't it. On the other hand that's when blogs often have the power and its important for bloggers to write about stuff they like rather than just writing what everyone else on the blogosphere writes about in fear of not picking up "the hot new thing as it were." I mean i know i've found stuff i like on blogs but on the other hand it's important to find out about music by gigs. Ain't no substitue for gigs innit!."

C - "Picking up on what Mike says I think that Blogs are becoming a hugely integral part of the industry today, I mean, the majors now PAY PEOPLE to sit at their computer seeing what blogs are talking about, that's a pretty big milestone in handing power back to average joe if you ask me! It does worry me how little value music seems to have now though. I mean we gave our demo away free because we wanted people to hear us but to be able to click through a few links and get a bands new single or something is kind of self defeating, not only monetarily, we like to think we put a lot of effort into everything we release and want it to be reciprocated, a two way process.

Q5. Any new bands/artists you recommend checking out?

M - "A Local cardiff band called Picturebooks In Winter. They're got very good nice strings and stuff. Also a band from London called Wet Paint who sound like the best pavement tribute band ever (in a good way!)."

C - "There's so much dude, I dont even know where to start, I'm digging this super band called Fake Problems right now, their album is huge! Other than that, you can't really go further wrong than listening to Saturday Kids, a band I did some shirts for and they make the most scary sonic youth bothering noise you will ever hear!"

Q6. If you could tour with any two artists, past or present, who would they be and why?

M - "Talking Heads CIRCA the stop making sense dvd era so then we could all try on david byrne's big suite!."

C - "That is a tough question! I think it would have been awesome to be on the road alongside Nirvana, or any of those ace bands that were on the road around the early part of the 90's. I don't think there's been a real musical movement in our lifetime, I mean, I was only 8 or 9 when Nirvana ended but even Marks & Spencers had jeans with patches in them for kids, I should know, mine had teenage mutant HERO turtles on them!"

Q7. You have unlimited funds, what 3 things do you have on your tour rider?

C - "Rider is weird man, Buzzo from The Melvins asks for a tank of Nitrous Oxide, a suitable vehicle and a crash helmet. We're happy when we show up and get a couple of beers! Even better if they are cold!

M - "A big life size replica of the band made from ice!

C - "So, that and maybe a t-shirt, y'know the tourist-y kind, the naffest one in the gift shop!"

Q8. What's your perfect sandwich?

C - "I'm a huge fan of meatballs in sandwiches, with jalapeno's, green peppers and some tasty tomato sauce! There's a hint for riders actually!"

M - "Peanutbutter and cucumber. sounds nasty- is nice."

Q9. If The Muscle Club were an animal, what would you be?

M - "I don't know probably an amoeba of some kind. Or plankton perhaps."

Q10. How can we find out more about you?

C - "Well we pretty much stick to MySpace, as annoying as it is it's pretty rad for doing what you need it to! We've got a facebook but everyone gets bored of the messages after you attempt to tell them once so yeah... We just keep it to good ol' MySpace! Whilst we're on tour we'll be blogging, well one of the two english students will, so that means daily, inane nonsense -

Thanks very much to Ceri and Mike for answering our questions. You can catch The Muscle Club on tour during February and March.

MP3: The Muscle Club - Alright! Okay! You Win!


  1. The Muscle Club are a great band...good interview too!


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