Trick Mist - 'Jars in Rows' Full Stream
Info: Trick Mist is an Irish electronic songwriter based in Manchester. His music positions the lyrical song within a wider experimental electronic context. An intriguing blend of lyrics, traditional Irish music odes and homemade samples form a sound which aims to move you inside and out.
Jars in Rows EP was written, recorded and mixed over the course of 9 months after a relocation to Manchester from London. It is observational in nature with songs exploring topics of change, love, value systems, escapism, and acceptance.
The Jars in Rows E.P. from Trick Mist is a highly atmospheric and unique collection of five tracks blending experimental electronica with trad music. From the opening strings on 'Tampering Happy' we're brought on a strange, sometimes dark, yet wonderful journey by Trick Mist. The vocals from Dundalk's Gavin Murray are deep in tone, somewhat reminiscent of The National's Matt Berninger, in particular on second track, the excellent 'Tummy Speak' which utilises slightly off-key percussion to great effect.
Proceedings spiral out all around us in full flow on 'Your Brass Angel', there's a sci-fi buzz about this track, floating aimlessly in space with multiple rhythmic layers and beats propelling it along. One of the highlights on the E.P. is 'Cracking Settlement', it's an enchanting piece of music where we find Trick Mist embracing the traditional Irish music sounds he has scattered across the tracks, conjuring an old world mystical soundscape.
Final track 'Another's Tale' was my favourite of all, it's impossible not to become entranced by the industrial and tribal sound of the beat, it's grey and machine-like and very vivid, bringing a very interesting and expansive E.P. to a close. Trick Mist has presented a strong and very different debut that displays an undoubted ability to conjure up magic, like a conductor bringing order to the potential chaos of the many sounds that have spilled from his head and into our ears.
To accompany the premiere feature of Trick Mist's 'Jars in Rows' E.P., we had a chat about the background and development of the music and an upcoming video series which will align itself to each of the recordings songs.
Remy: Up until this new solo project, Trick Mist, you've mostly been involved in alternative indie bands, this ambient electronica sound is quite different. Is it something you've always felt you wanted to dip your toes into?
Trick Mist: Yeah I’ve always been into electronic music. I studied Music Technology at college and specialised in electronic music composition and went down a bit of a mad rabbit hole recording stuff around the house constantly viewing everything as a sound object. I still get slagged for it but it was a time that really stuck out for me and I did want to delve back into that mindset.
R: One of the things that struck me in a most pleasant way was your adoption of some elements of traditional Irish music, perhaps most notably on 'Cracking Settlement', you may have just redeemed the tin whistle for thousands of Irish youngsters! Was this a spontaneous idea or borne of an exile's heart?!
TM: A bit of both really. Being part of that generation that left, you begin to realise and cling onto your Irishness more I think. So I guess I have become more naturally drawn to traditional Irish music’s charge in recent years. Trying to use it in a different context and push it around a bit was something that made sense to me as someone who doesn't have a deep knowledge of trad. It’s the first music I ever played but I moved onto Drums really quickly and it fell by the wayside. I learned tin whistle and then bodhrán when I was 8 so it was nice to revisit it when embarking on my first venture as a solo artist. I was very aware of the ‘didley-eye’ associations of trad and I guess I wanted to confront that. The instruments were always to hand so it was easy for them to find their way onto the EP. I also miraculously found a violin in a wheelie bin the same week I decided I wanted to start a song based around violin so that was very handy/weird! Some things are meant to be.
R: Tell us a bit about the overall process for Jars in Rows, from when you decided to go ahead with Trick Mist to completing the recording?
TM: I decided to build up a portfolio of work. That turned into an EP. I wanted to make a body of work and not worry about how to recreate it live when I was making it. I set about creating a library of homemade samples. I worked sections of audio until I felt comfortable then I’d loop it and start to make up melodies and lyrics on the fly and record them as guides. I ended up keeping lots of intended guide vocals takes which was really nice and natural. I wanted to write about things that interested me and explore things around me. The EP is very observational in nature. I think that’s because I was a new resident to Manchester. Each song on the EP explores specific topics. Change, love, value systems, escapism and acceptance all get a run out. I had this constant image of them all lined up beside each other hence the title ‘Jars in Rows’. I took my time working on the songs and mixing them. It was a new way of working for me so I needed to live with the work I was creating.
R: It's most definitely a modern composition (the EP), a lot of contemporary electronic music has clear 1980's indicators like New Order or Gary Numan to name but two of many, but I'm not hearing any here, are there any artists from say, the last 5-10 years that may have inspired some elements of the song-writing?
TM: Yeah that’s a fair point. I love the original palate of sounds contemporary artists like Jon Hopkins, Patten and Fka Twigs draw from. Having a vocabulary of sounds that is unusual was something I strived for. The majority of samples used on the EP are homemade. It’s a lot of work making homemade samples but I hope that they bring there own imprint to proceedings. I wanted to make music that has a clear electronic vocabulary but that was focused on the song and its lyrical content. From this point of view Villagers songwriting capabilities are a constant inspiration.
R: You'll also be periodically releasing a video to go with each of the five tracks on Jars in Rows, can you tell us a bit more about that?
TM: Yeah I’m doing a video series in conjunction with the EP called ‘Gap Series’. I’ve invited multiple artists to respond to a song from the EP and to make a reactionary piece of video based solely on their perception. It’s a really interesting project as its all about individual perception. I’m not involved in the process so it’s quite different from the path music videos constructions can take (ie musician has video idea and finds people to execute it). I’m looking forward to seeing the completed videos. I’ve got visual artists, filmmakers and a contemporary dancer involved so it’s a lovely showcase for how much diverse and creative talent resides within my peer network. Making music on your own can be a very solitary experience. It was for me anyway at times. I recorded and mixed the entire EP in a tiny walk-in wardrobe in my flat!! And I’m a tall fella!! The ‘Gap Series’ was a really nice way to reach out to others and breathe external life into the songs I was creating. The videos will be released in 2 week intervals over the course of December and January. Before that I’ll be premiering the entire thing at my EP launch show at Fuel in Manchester on Saturday 28th November. I’ll be screening it before the live show on the night so that should be special.
R: On a personal note you've been living in England for roughly the past 5 years between London and now Manchester, has being away from Ireland had any impact on your music and what do you think are the advantages / disadvantages with regard to releasing and promoting yourself as an artist in England vs. Ireland?
TM: I think it’s had a huge impact on my music. I’m not sure if I would have such an attraction to using traditional Irish music in my music if I hadn't of left Ireland. I was definitely introduced to a lot of new music and music making processes in London. Visual art also inspires me a lot. London is amazing in terms of the volume of good art on show. Also living in a crazy city like London the dancing at the weekend becomes such a sacred thing. That definitely turned my head to making music that induces physicality. Manchester is a city where music is part of the social fabric and my experience here has had a direct effect on the content of the EP. With regards pros and cons of releasing and promoting in England vs. Ireland I’m not sure. The UK is bigger so there is more on offer music infrastructure wise but it’s possibly harder to gain attention. Ireland has a comparatively smaller infrastructure but has a supply of extremely talented musicians so competition is high. I couldn't say one is better than the other. I feel I ‘m a bit in between the two anyway so that works for me.
R: Do you see Trick Mist as a temporary or long-term incarnation? Or are you happy to just see where it leads for now and go with the flow?
TM: Long-term definitely. Its been great so far and it’s only just beginning.
R: Finally, aside from the video series which we can look forward to seeing, do you have any plans in the near future to write more music and / or perform live with the new E.P.?
TM: Yeah I’m going to be playing live going forward now. I’ve been figuring out how to play my songs live which has been really challenging and interesting. I’ve got two great upcoming shows. I’ll be launching the EP with a gig and screening night at Fuel in Manchester Saturday 28th November. Also, myself and Video Blue are going to be playing the Spirit Store in Dundalk on Tuesday 22nd December. I’ll planning to get a tour together in the new Year and I’m writing and recording continuously so I’ll be hanging around.
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