Take an Australian, a Frenchman, a Scot and a couple of Mancunians and what have you got? No, not the start of some crappy joke, they are in fact a cracking wee Edinburgh based band that got me just a little bit excited a couple of months ago.
I first came across Mayhew after picking up on a random tweet from BBC6 Music presenter, Tom Robinson. I found myself thinking that here’s someones music tastes that I really respect, plugging a Scottish band that I’ve never heard of. I couldn’t help but try and find out a bit more. I’m chuffed that I did as I was quite taken aback by how amazing they sounded. Their folk-tinged sound combined with the delicate husky vocals of lead singer Cathy Wilcock make for a wonderful combination. It’s uplifting music for the wee small hours of the morning, delicate and haunting. Ladies and gents, I give you Mayhew…..
Would you care to introduce yourself?
We are ‘Mayhew’ and we are a band. Nice to meet you.
How would you describe the music you make?
Imagine intricate dual guitars, calling to mind Midlake, propelled by inventive drumming sometimes likened to Phil Selway. Add in vocals comparable to PJ Harvey in distinctive dialogue with imaginative cello parts, all characterised by a song-writing approach reminiscent of Elbow. But it’s best just to listen to it.
How did you come together as a band?
Dan (Australian) and Greg (French) met in a hostel when they moved to Edinburgh- they didn’t realise at the time they would be staying in the UK for a matter of years! Dan met me during my first performance at an open mic night, Greg picked Chris up off the street, and Gordon joined after Dan poached him in a park. All quite random encounters.
How did you start out making music?
I never played an instrument at school but I was a classic angst-ridden teen with an acoustic guitar playing Coldplay covers in a messy bedroom. It wasn’t until I met the guys that I started to write (hopefully) good songs. I think Chris and Gordon are life-long musicians but Dan and Greg came into the game quite late like me. Although, I think, Dan used to sing in a barber shop quartet- you’ll have to ask him about that!
What process goes into the way you write songs?
It’s all very collaborative really, everyone brings their own ideas to each song. We all have quite diverse tastes in music so we hope we end up creating songs with wide appeal. We’re very diligent and won’t let something slip through the net unless we’re all happy with it.
Who are your big musical influences?
Elbow, Radiohead, Fleetwood Mac, Katatonia, Midlake, Low
Your just back from playing at this year’s Glastonbury Festival, what was your experience like?
Amazing. We all had a fantastic time both as performers and spectators- it’s got to be the best party in the world and we were completely thrilled to be part of it. Glastonbury was the first festival we’ve played and we’re hooked now- it was great!
Any stories you’d like to share, or does what happens at Glastonbury, stay at Glastonbury?
About 10 mins before we went on stage Gordon realised his bass drum pedal was missing. It turned out that it had been left in the Park where we had done a warm-up gig the day before. Anyone who knows Glastonbury will know that the Park and the Acoustic Stage are absolutely miles away from each other and separated by a gauntlet of stages, a circus, and at least two hippie hotspots. Gordon was seriously sweating by this point thinking he might have to boot the bass drum with his big toe through our whole set. We were all having visions of Michael Eavis telling us off headmaster-style for being such careless novices. Luckily, one of the Park’s athletic stewards steeplechased through the crowds with it and delivered it just in time for Gordon to kiss it and put it in place for the start of the set. Our first song was quite nervy due to all that!
What can we expect to see/hear from you in 2010?
We’ve just recorded a single called ‘Shallow Water’ which has a kind of ‘summer anthem’ feel to it. We’re hoping to get it on radios across the land. We’re also going to be writing songs making use of some new instruments. Chris is going to be showing off his skills on the synth and Greg’s gorgeous new electric guitar will be making appearances in our new songs. I’m hoping to get my hands on a loop pedal too. We’re also in the middle of moving to Manchester and we should all be settled there by the autumn. Exciting stuff.
Mayhew’s debut EP ‘Tinderbox’ is available to download now over on CD Baby or alternatively you can pick yourself up a copy via the bands website. I reckon it’s a whole load of folk loveliness, and I can’t recommend it highly enough. As of the moment the band have no live dates lined up, keep checking their Myspace for any updates.
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Photo Credit: photonbrush