Spotlight: Mondegreen


Time for another interview.
Having stalked Mondegreen online ever since they were The Covergirls and seen them more than a few times I figured it was finally time to sneak out from the bushes outside their homes and ask them a few questions. Sadly none of them answered “Can I come out, it is freezing in that bush” in the affirmative. Singer & guitarist Matthew was good enough to answer other questions too though, with Allan lending a hand.

Who are Mondegreen?

A three-headed beast with Allan on bass

Fraser on drums

and me (Matthew) on guitar.

What do you sound like?
The short answer is: three guys trying to make the most of a cowbell, a root note and a fuzz pedal.
The longer answer is: Stephen Malkmus trying to cover Pet Sounds with John Densmore on drums and Kim Deal on bass.

How did you all get together, and what made you stay together?
We’re a test-tube band, cobbled together from wanted ad respondees. Fraser and I were in a band called The Covergirls and we had an opportunity to record at Chem19 with the Scottish Arts Council. We were short of a bass player and Allan fitted in real fast. By this point I was the only original member of The Covergirls left, and some folk suggested we change the name. I suggested Mondegreen and I think it’s finally grown on us a bit.

A mondegreen is, usually at least, a misheard song lyric, do you have a favourite one?
“Even the greatest arse/Live their lives in the looking glass”. That’s Kraftwerk of course. One of my friends pointed out a mondegreen in one of our songs: “You draw paintings on smelly faeces”. It’s actually “You draw paintings and smiley faces”.
Allan: Myself and Matt went to see Blue Sky Archives in Bloc the other night and I thought their last song had the lyrics “we’re right wing to the core” repeated as the outro. I’m guessing that was a mondegreen at least!

The Headless EP was recorded at Chem19, how did that come about, and how was it recording there?
I emailed Chemikal Underground to ask if they’d record and release our concept album about a guy with no head, not expecting a reply. I think they admired my boldness, and they fitted us in on their Arts Council demo fund.
We had two days there with Jamie Savage and the result was an abbreviated version of the initial Headless album idea, so we had a friend draw up some artwork, and we punt it around as an EP. (Jim: which you can download here, and listen to down the bottom)

Chemikal Underground’s Stewart Henderson recently said he has “a real soft spot” for the band, so presumably you behaved yourself while in Chem19 at least.
I know, we saw that, and it was very nice of him. We have a lot of fun in this band but we also work very hard, so it’s cool to hear people saying nice things about what we’re doing. I’ll always remember our visit there because it was right at the beginning of that freezing snowy winter, and I thought we were going to get snowed in at Chem19.

Since we are getting alarmingly close to the end of the year let’s go all “year in review” style and ask what, if anything, have been highlights for the band this year?

I think the highlight for us was the road trip to Aberdeen in the summer. It was our first and only gig outside Glasgow, and we played at Cellar 35 with Min Diesel and Pensioner. Fraser’s car clapped out somewhere near Brechin, and we got a flat tyre not long after. We had a great night and a great show, and some of us had to sleep in the car outside the venue, but it was definitely the highlight of the year.
Allan: Not forgetting that Fraser actually used his cowbell to bash the tire iron when changing the wheel!

Any moments you’d rather forget about?
Really racking my brains here but I can’t think of anything that’s gone monstrously wrong. The year is not out yet though…

What other bands around at the moment would you recommend?
Allan: Quite partial to Fat Goth from Dundee and Min Diesel from Aberdeen. And Ultimate Thrush obviously.

What bands would you avoid like the plague?
We saw this one guy playing 13th Note one night. He had a guitar and a couple of loop pedals and he just made noise for half an hour. I don’t have a problem with that but I have tinnitus and I didnae have my ear plugs so I had to be rude and leave.
Allan: I saw a band do an entire 20 minute set where all the did was constantly attempt to tune their guitars. There were no songs, no banter, just tuning for 20 solid minutes. I’m not sure if they did it on purpose or not.

What do you have planned for the next few months?

We’re recording our album with Ross McGowan at Chime Studio, so maybe with another couple of visits we could have it all done, and there’s a gig at Tut’s to look forward to on December 15th. We’re planning to host our own nights starting January 13th in Stereo, if that goes well we’ll attempt it more often. Apart from that, I think we’ll be buttoning up our coats and keeping warm.

Finally, quirky interview questions, fun and harmless, or generally a bit of a waste of time?
Fun and harmless. “It is a very sad thing that nowadays there is so little useless information” – Oscar Wilde.

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