Q+A: 5 Minutes with Mellor

Right from the get-go, kaleidoscopic rock band Mellor makes an impression with the release of their latest psychedelic single ‘Gargoyle Groove’, a taste of what is to come from their pending album Problematic Passions. Complete with unforgiving percussions, gritty guitars, and an attitude that would anger even the least sensible parents, the track has everything you could ever want from a rock record. Released under Triple B Records, the single showcases what Mellor stands for. Conceptually minded, the band tells the story of a crazed psychiatrist who “gets a kick out of making people think they’re more ill or insane than they really are“. Is there a better starting point to ask Mellor a few questions? 

Stream / Download ‘Gargoyle Groove’

Set the tone for us. Why the arts?

Music provides an opportunity to express yourself in so many different ways. At any place or time. In front of thousands or completely on your own. Growing up I was always in awe of anyone performing on a huge stage, getting the crowd riled up and making their own little bits of history. I took to playing guitar and drums pretty quickly, which soon lead me to songwriting, which turned into a whole new obsession altogether. I loved the fact that one minute a song didn’t exist and the next it did and could be a potential masterpiece sung by millions. For me, the only answer to ‘why the arts’ would be, what else would it be, if not music?

Which comes first when you’re producing – the sound or the idea?

I think influence and writing style will usually dictate the sound unless an idea has a really obvious personality of its own. For a band, it gets to a point where they both go hand in hand. The sounds should come naturally.

Does your material feature any collaborations?

Not as of yet.

What’s on your current playlist?

I always try to listen to something new every day. I’ll always have my go-to artists like Nirvana, Beach Boys, Beatles, Arctic Monkeys, and The Strokes. But I often flick through decades and genres.

I also have a guilty pleasure playlist of pop: Dua Lipa, Sigrid, Taylor Swift, etc. They all remind one that a great chorus is a great chorus no matter the genre!

Tell us about the chemistry you have with your fans on stage.

We pride ourselves on having a lot of energy in our live performances. I always aim to come off stage dripping with sweat, or I feel we haven’t done enough for the crowd. Nothing is better than seeing people enjoy and sing along to your songs.

What techniques do you experiment with to get your original sound?

Despite being told that I have a recognizable voice, which definitely helps define our sound, we have our favoured amplifiers and guitar pedals that we’ve experimented with through the years. Musically, we definitely have a tendency to go against the grain, trying out different time signatures, unnerving chords, and melodies. I think we’re good at creating catchy hooks with some dark edges.

Take us through a day in the recording studio.

It varies depending on where we are and what’s on the agenda. One thing is for certain: there’s a lot of waiting around killing time. I try to orchestrate as much as possible. I like to be involved in the whole process even if it’s not my parts being done. This album has been engineered by ourselves so it’s been a lot more spread out and I’ve spent a lot more time on my own. Covid made the whole experience very testing!

Was there a specific moment in your life where you thought, “this is what I want to do”?

I went to see Muse at Earls Court when I was pretty young. I definitely got the hunger from that show. What better band to set an example of how it’s done? As stupid as it may seem, a couple of years before that my secondary school had a Christmas rock show. A band of older lads played a couple of Oasis and Stereophonics tunes, and I definitely picked up my guitar as soon as I got in from school. That sticks in the mind for sure.

What do you keep close by while you’re playing a set?

I only have two things on stage other than equipment, that’s a lucky blue towel with Mellor embroidered on it and a beer of some sort.

Any emerging artists on your radar?

We naturally come across a lot of unsigned acts on our travels, but Tom Lumley and the Brave Liason, Gallus, and Adam & Elvis are all well worth a listen.

What gets your creative juices flowing?

I find I’m most creative when I’m doing something I find boring and my mind is half switched off. I hum and sing nonsense until something sounds interesting. I then sit down with a guitar later on and try to remember what it was! If I allocate a specific time slot to sit and write, it can just feel forced. I also watch a lot of films, they’re a great source of inspiration.

Take us through your collection of gear, tech or software that accompanies your creative expression.

My general setup is Vox AC15 or 30, Gibson Les Paul Standard, Hagstrom and Fender Telecaster. Then numerous pedals. I’d say my most important was the Danelectro reel echo; I use it in nearly every track. It creates a beautiful shimmer that no other can create!

Any side projects you’re working on?

I tend to stay focused on the band. I do write a lot of songs that don’t particularly fit the style, so I keep them for a rainy day or just sit in the back catalogue.

How have you refined your craft since you entered the industry?

Just by practice, musically and lyrically, the more you do the better you’ll get, simple as that! Being open to criticism is also very important to your progress. I’ve chosen to ignore advice in the past that I’d now completely agree with. Some people want to put you down, but more often than not they want to help.

Breakdown the news for us: what can we expect from you this year?

We simply want to make as big of an impact as possible with this album. Plenty of shows around the release and an eye and a half on next years festivals. We’ve got a lot of songs that didn’t make the album, so there could even be an EP or a deluxe version of the album.

Famous last words?

We hope this album can help the surge of rock and roll fighting its way back into the mainstream.

Mellor Tour Dates 2022:

20th October – 33 Oldham Street, Manchester

21st October – Sneaky Pete’s, Edinburgh

27th October – The Star, Guildford

3rd November – Sidney & Matilde, Sheffield

4th November – Old Blue Last, London

5th November – River Studios, Southampton

10th November – Dead Wax Digbeth, Birmingham

11th November –  Purple Turtle, Reading

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Image credit: Alex Wickenden