'A Hole In My Heart ... The Size of Wales' - An Interview With John Mouse
Posted in: Music
AmeriCymru: Hi John and many thanks for agreeing to this interview. Care to tell us a little about your new (forthcoming) single 'There's a hole in my heart (an area the size of Wales)'?
John: Hey, its what I thought was a breakup song, but it turns out that the main character is speaking from the grave, but it is still probably a break up song.
A meriCymru: Will there be a new album forthcoming soon?
John: Hopefully, yes. Though as much as I love the form I have been told that it isn't the best vehicle to promote an artist work anymore.
AmeriCymru: We learn from a recent press release that your 'most recent album “The Fen Sessions” was written and released over a weekend and then deleted on the Monday.' Why? Are there any plans to resurrect it?
John: It was a conceptual idea that I had. I wanted to see how many people pay attention to my social media, as that was the main vehicle of promotion prior to and during the sessions. I also like to challenge the creative process and force myself into producing material. I think consumers of music expect the music always to be available and to be free, so I was questioning this concept. One thing I didn't expect to come from the sessions was that many of the people who downloaded the songs actually ended up paying for them. I think this was because they had invested in the process, some of them followed it throughout the weekend, and maybe limiting the release availability gave the album some monetary value.
AmeriCymru: After your 2014 album 'The Death of.....', John Mouse went away for a while. Why was this and why did he return?
John: I had had enough about not reaching a larger audience. I sort of gave up. Now, I'm liberated by this fact and so do what I want knowing that no-one really cares.
AmeriCymru: The track 'Happy I am Not' from 'The Death of John Mouse' seems to sum up the album and is a personal favourite of mine. Care to tell us a little more about the song?
John: That is an oldie! Right, so I mashed up Heaven Knows I'm miserable now, by the Smiths, Lets move to the country, by Smog and Considering a move to Memphis by The Colourblind James Experience. Just have a listen to those three songs and you'll understand Unhappy a little more.
AmeriCymru: Another intriguing track from 'Death of....' is 'Ilka Moor'. Punk versions of old standards are not unheard of, 'The Dickies', 'Banana Splits' and 'Eve of Destruction' spring to mind, but why 'Ilka Moor'?
John: I had this old folk song book and the lyrics for Ilka Moor really stood out. It's so bizzare, eating your mate, turns out it's about sexual disease though.
AmeriCymru: What is your creative process? Do your lyrics simply come to you fully formed or do you work for days/weeks carefully polishing them to perfection?
John: I do a lot of pre-editing, inhaling, before I write the words. I don't really change them much, sometimes move some sentences around so that they rhyme or that the words rhythmically fit.
AmeriCymru: How would you caharacterize your writing and recording process in general? How closely do you collaborate with the other musicians on arrangements etc?
John: It just depends. Sometimes I write by myself and tell people I work with what I'd like to achieve on the instruments I can't play. Sometimes I just let them write the song, for example this new one is written entirely by Phil.
AmeriCymru: What music are you currently listening to? Are there any artists you would claim as an inspiration?
John: New music that I am listening to include Fontains DC, John Maus (I know), Yak, Beak, King Gizzard and the Lizzard Wizzard, but I'll always go back to albums by Bill Callahan and anything Arab Strap related.
AmeriCymru: Any final message for the members and readers of AmeriCymru?
John: Thanks for reading, and please do spread the word.