Face to face with Mr Shiraz
If you like your music brutal, energetic, mind-blowing and spiced up by fun, fun, fun, let me introduce Mr Shiraz to you. This hard-working and heavy-touring outfit don’t take them too seriously and appeal to numerous listeners with some awfully good music. February 2013 saw Mr Shiraz release their sophomore self-titled album, which showed renewed Mr Shiraz to the world and brought the band to the brand-new stage in their career. Mr Shiraz’s frontman Mikey reveals it all about the new record and tons of other exciting things.
- Your newest self-titled album has been out for a while now. What are the main qualities of this album that make it an appealing listen?
– It’s a very honest album and a band firing on all cylinders. This is what Mr Shiraz are and what we are about. No auto-tune, no glitter and bows just 11 bad-ass tunes for your ear-holes!
- What were the most memorable moments during the recordings of this album?
– I have never been the biggest fan of recording, it kind of scares me. I much prefer playing gigs but saying that, the day it was all finished and mixed and we got to sit and listen to it. That was a very proud day, all the hard work paid off. Also we have a wicked producer. Kerry Hughes at GN Studios in Huddersfield (quick plug there haha)
- What slogan would you use to advertise the record?
– ‘Excitement, adventure, a Jedi craves not these things’. Sorry that’s terrible, I’m poo at slogans.
- Sophomore albums are infamous for putting even more pressure on musicians than debuts. Was it the case with Mr Shiraz and your sophomore record?
– I guess so. We wanted to release an album that captured what we are about. As I said earlier I love playing gigs, it’s the reason I’m in a band and not to sound cocky but we deliver a very cool live show, lots on energy, etc but we have never been able to capture that on record in the past. Luckily our producer has seen us a lot and is a good friend so went out of his way to help us somewhat bottle the energy of our live show. Also we have changed a hell of a lot since our first album, it was almost like wiping the slate clean. We want to show people that. That it was like a fresh start to us. In that way the new album has been like a cathartic release. Forget what you thought you knew about us, this is us.
- What does an ideal launch party for your album look like?
– I think we had the ideal launch party to be honest. We played the new album live in full, played some old tunes we hadn’t played in years. Had old members come up and join us. Also we had some of our friends from some of our favorite bands that we have played with come and play too (Random Hand, Cavorts, The Human Project) our friends, family and fans all came out, we partied, we drank, we drank more. It was just a wicked awesome night.
- What’s the craziest thing that’s ever happened to you on tour?
– Haha too many to put down, also I don’t think it is my place to name names and destroy reputations. You have to remember, we have been around a long time and toured all over the UK, Europe and the USA. I could honestly write a book. We have been held a gunpoint, had tour bus raided by giant search dogs, woke up to a giraffe looking through our window, got lost in the middle of a desert, had a riot break out in the middle of a set, picked up hitch-hikers with tourettes, sneaked under borders with nothing in my bag but a porn-mag and a shoe, got our tour-manager banned from a chain of hotels all over Europe and these are only a few of the things that I can talk about. All great fun though!
- Mr Shiraz have had some line-up changes during the band’s career. How do these changes influence the band?
– Although it is always sad when people leave it can also be quite liberating, it can freshen things up, give the band a new dynamic. If a person is wanting to leave there is no point in trying to change their minds as their heart is obviously not in it and it has to be. You have to have that passion and that drive. I think the only one which has really upset me is Rob our drummer. It wasn’t a choice for him. He loves Mr Shiraz, he has been in from the very start, sadly he has got sick and been forced to put down his sticks which is gutting for him and for us. Rob is a wonderful dude and doesn’t deserve what he is currently going through. We have a new drummer now, Iain, who is incredible. We want to keep Rob involved though, even though he can’t play drums anymore, he will still be a big part of our lives. No-one can really leave Shiraz haha you may not be in the band but you are still a part of it.
- You have been in music for quite a long time. What’s the main thing you’ve learnt about the industry during this time?
– It’s hard, really hard. You have to be willing to work for it, nothing is going to just drop into your hands and people will always try and drag you down. The main thing is to not listen to any of the naysayers and bad mouthing. If you are doing well people will always bitch about it, just ignore it and have fun. That’s the reason you do this at the end of the day. When you first set up a band it’s always a bunch of friends wanting to have fun and play music and that is what it needs to stay. The second you are not having fun then stop and look around. Remember the reason you started this in the first place. Never take yourself too seriously. If you do it will just become a job and nobody wants that.
- If Mr Shiraz could host their own show on the radio, what kind of show would it be?
– A wicked one!!!! Probably pretty diverse, we all have a wide range of musical influences, everything from Punk to metal to hip-hop to soul to funk to hardcore to the blues and think this comes across on the record. Also I think I’d be a rad dj as I’m HILARIOUS!!!
- What advice would you give to those musicians who are only beginning their way in music?
– Have fun. Don’t do it just to try and get signed and be a millionaire rock-star. Have fun, play your music and make lots of new friends and have lots of new experiences. It’s worth it!
- What are your plans for the nearest future?
– Gig! I want to gig lots! Also write. We have started writing a bunch of new songs which is always exciting. Also get as many people as possible to hear the new album! It’s wicked! Have a listen!