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The London-based founder of Kiwi band Melic, who play at this weekend's TNT Travel Show, on double lives, the Dave Matthews Band and cutting shapes to Status Quo

How did the group (funk bassist, metal drummer, rock singer, classical trained pianist) come together?
As brothers, Steve [bass] and I planned to meet in London and start a band. We had a jam in his backyard in Clapham and put together a few songs. Andrew [drums] is an old school friend. When we caught up he told me he’d learnt drums at uni, so a week later he joined. We were then on the lookout for a keyboardist and I was keen to find a sax player to bring a live jam feel. 

And you found two-in-one with Romy ...
Yeah, we met en route to London when in Laos.

Has this range of styles caused conflict?
Not particularly, but there’s always differences of opinion which we invite – it’s how our songs find their middle ground.

Has this breadth changed the band?
Melic’s sound is an amalgamation of our influences, and the song-writing process has changed all of us as musicians – you have to be very patient and work together to find what works best out of often vastly different ideas.  

Do metal and funk breed some rather odd creations?
Pairing a metal drummer with a funk rock bassist makes for an awesome foundation and a technically interesting groove. Andrew’s metal and prog-rock background introduced us to bands like Porcupine Tree and Opeth. If we end up with a few eight- or nine-minute songs on the next album, you’ll know what happened. 

You played at Under The Bridge under Stamford Bridge. Any Chelsea fans in the band?
Romy has season tickets to Fulham FC actually, so we had to keep that quiet on the night. I have a mate who’s trying to convert me into a Luton Town supporter – not sure how I feel about that.

What is the new EP Nowhere I’d Rather Be about?
It’s influenced by our busy year of live shows and performances. The title track’s about the escape felt at a live concert leaving behind a busy working existence for just a moment.

How do you balance the day jobs with the band?
It can be a battle juggling parallel lives. We’d all love to become full-time musicians but for now we have to fund it ourselves so we get stuck in.

When did you record the EP?
We recorded it with I Am Giant’s Paul Matthews in New Malden and then mastered the tracks in New York. It was a tricky schedule, squeezing in night sessions after work and lengthy weekend jaunts – but we got there.

You played the Cornbury festival which was headlined by Status Quo – did they have any tips about ponytail length?
Unfortunately not. They played the last evening of the festival so by that point we were a few beers in and out in the crowd cutting shapes.

Who’s your musical icon?
Dave Matthews Band – They’ll do a 15 minute live version of a three minute song and I like that they never had a “big break”.  They let people film their gigs and post their music on the net - and the word spread.  Next minute: stadiums.

And guilty pleasure?
I’m always partial to a bit of Ace of Base, and Steve’s first album was Savage Garden.

What was your first gig?

In a band called ‘The DC3’.  We played three hours of covers we’d never attempted before to a drunken student crowd. It was a case of stumbling through and playing by ear.

How did your first Melic gig go?
It was at a classic little downstairs venue called The Comedy near Leicester Square. It was sweaty.

What was your best show?
We had a great time at Southern Sounds Festival last year – the crowd was just fantastic. It’s always all about the crowd.

Touring life has its clichés – what does the gigging in a band mean to you?
It’s a series of highs and lows ... too cliché? Haha. The buzz of performing followed by packing up the gear and heading home. We are looking forward to after parties and “roadies”.

What’s the strangest moment so far, playing in Melic?
Four Kiwis playing the TNT Australia Day celebration.

Melic play the TNT Travel Show Earl’s Court, Saturday March 3.  SW5 9TA Earls Court.

Info: www.tnttravelshow.com register for free entry

Nowhere I’d Rather Be is out now on iTunes.


Talkback


Chatroom: Mark Hitchcock from London-based Kiwi band Melic on double lives and Status Quo
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