At the 405, we write about music because we love music. No other reason other than that. So even if it means to put the talents of our *ahem* incredibly talented writers to the side for a minute, so that two bands can wax lyrical about themselves without the needs of a probing interviewer, then so be it. Call it the death of the author.

Soft Arrows and MYSTYRYS interviewed each other. They discussed their life span in the music industry, amongst other things such as - Betty Shine the incredibly rich medium and spiritual leader, who would play them in a film if Steven Spielberg knocked on the door (he loves these guys) and indie top trumps.


Soft Arrows Interview MYSTYRYS

SA: Tell us about your label Psychic Healing Network and why you wanted to start it?

Adam: Psychic Healing Network originally started before MYSTYRYS was born. Jon and I were in a band called The Betty Shine who did the grand total of one gig at the night we put on in east London, under the name Psychic Healing Network.

Betty Shine (the person) was a medium and spiritual healer who was notable for informing David Icke he was the Son of God. She invented the 'Spiritual/Global Healing Network'. Ours sounds cooler, it's just as effective at alleviating suffering, but has not made us as rich as her. We don't understand why. On the plus side, she's dead, and we're not.

Jon: The label came out as a reaction to some cool stuff being written about the first couple of tracks we put up online. Kind of came out of nowhere really. We just put them online with very little info and they got picked up in some cool places. I've always wanted to do a label but had never really had the opportunity or motivation to put out stuff that I'd really liked, so we got together to start putting stuff out. So far we've put out two singles for MYSTYRYS, a single for a band from LA called The Vivids and an EP for Sarah Johns Music Party. We put these out for no other reason than we love the tracks.

In the case of Sarah Johns, we knew her already and seen her play loads of times. She's an incredible songwriter with an amazing voice and a lo-fi charm that I couldn't get out of my head for a long time. It seemed to make total sense to put the EP out together.

The split we're doing with Soft Arrows has been a long time coming. We first talked about it when we played our first gig together just over a year ago. They're a great band and really great live. We've played together live a fair few times, and become good friends through the whole process. We're really excited about putting a single out with them. We're also continuing to put nights on in London under the name, we'll be stepping that up pretty soon.

When do we get to hear a MYSTYRYS album?

Adam: We're writing one right now! I guess it'll be early next year before it sees the light of day, but we're hunkered down trying to create something a bit special (we hope). I guess the initial challenge is figuring out how you channel what we do, which is by it's nature kind of 'throw-away', into something that stands up over an entire album. There's a lot of talk going on, about 30000 different ideas and motifs floating about, and now some songs coming together. We're taking this one seriously. Expect a lot more noise, bigger harmonies, more guitars, and less lyrics.

Who is the band diva?

Adam: It's totally Jon, then Sagar, then me.

Jon: I think he's mistaking the word diva for dude.

Who would you like to play the members of MYSTYRYS in "MYSTYRYS : The Movie"?

Sagar: I'd probably be played by Kal Penn, that guy from 'Harold and Kumar Get The Munchies', who bizarrely now works for the Obama administration. I think Adam would be played by Carla Del Ponte, the former Swiss Attorney General, who is basically just an elderly female version of him. Finally, Jon would play himself, because he's just difficult like that. I'm probably going to get several dead arms for this.

Jon - Being the only bass player on the split, you are dominating your frequency, effectively making you the King of Bass on this release. How does that make you feel and do you think it will affect your ego in the long term?

Jon: I'm fine with it although I'd like some company once in a while. More and more bands are two pieces nowadays, guitar and drums, like you guys. There's even been some writing for the album where I've played guitar instead of bass. Maybe bass is being edged out. I hope not. It's lonely at the bottom.

Lastly, what's up with the spelling dudes?

Sagar: I was on a bus from Archway to Seven Sisters and went past a meat processing warehouse, or at least that's what I thought it was. There was a sign on the front that said 'Mistiris'. I liked the name so I stole it and replaced the I's with Y's. I like to tell people that our band name utilises every possible phonetic use of the letter Y, but that's probably not true.



MYSTYRYS interview Soft Arrows

You're included in the latest indie band top trumps release. Rate yourselves on the following categories and justify your ratings

Tom: Indie cred: 1 to 10 out of 10 Indie cred is one of those unquantifiable things, so I'm going be be like Ant Man's height score in the Marvel top trumps and have a variable score that goes from really low to really high (Ant Man turns into Giant Man you see).

Gig stamina: 8 out of 10 We did some hour long shows when we played in Europe last year and it was tough but fun. We can stick it out.

Fashion sense: 7 out of 10

At the end of the day we're some dudes in a band, that's what we look like. I think I can get dressed in the morning without looking like a total arsehole.

Attractiveness: 10 out of 10 I asked my wife... she says 10.

Discography (quantity): number

Albums / mini albums / b-sides comps - 8 singles / EPs - 9

Russell:Indie cred: For maximum indie cred I'm proclaiming myself too indie for your mainstream ratings system.

Gig stamina: We've played some hour long sets before and still felt like playing more after that, so I think we could keep going for a fair bit if we had to! 8 out of 10.

Fashion sense: I've started to notice myself drawn more to brown things the older I get but have no idea if brown is a fashionable colour or not. Brown out of 10.

Attractiveness: I am going for a modest 7, but as modesty can be a pretty attractive quality in itself I'll convert that into 3 bonus points for a solid 10 out of 10.

Discography (quantity): number - not 100% sure about these, but: albums/mini albums: 6, singles: 6

In fantasy band land, which band member would you like to replace from which band and why?

Tom: I've always thought it would have been fun to be a live guitarist in Michael Jacksons band, but I really think I'd have to be in the E Street Band so I could say that I was friends with Bruce Springsteen. The only draw back would be that I think I'd die if I met The Boss.

Russell: I would replace Mike Love in the Beach Boys to give Brian Wilson a break, he's got enough on his plate already without that guy giving him a hard time.

Soft Arrows seem to have quite a history of previous bands over the years. Firstly, where did it all start and tell us about the one you'd most like to forget (or remember, up to you!)

Tom: For me it started with playing in Help She Can't Swim, which was a big learning experience, especially in finding out how going on tour, releasing records and all the other stuff that goes with being in a band that isn't just writing songs works. Then I did a solo thing under the name Lonely Ghosts and Russell played in various live versions of that band. For that project I was basically trying anything out that I got offered or thought of. It was fun but I think I've learned to self censor a lot better since then.

I took a break from music as I was part of running a venue in Brighton called the Freebutt, which took up all my time and so I just didn't want to come home and pick up a guitar. Me and Russell played together again in Nullifier, which was fun as we just played in the live and weren't involved in the writing. Up to this point Russell was a bass player and wanted to switch to drums and he asked me to come and jam some stuff with him so he had someone to play with. I thought it would be a fun way to get myself back into writing music and then it just evolved into Soft Arrows.

I don't think I want to forget any of the bands but if I could change anything I would definitely have done stuff different in HSCS in a business sense. No one really tells you how all this stuff works when you get started and hind sight is a bitch... it was ages before I realised we could ask for a hot meals on our rider at shows when I was booking tours! I totally would have eaten more had I known.

Russell: At 17/18 I joined a couple of friends in My Device on bass and we played together for nearly 10 years, recorded two albums and quite a few EPs and singles, played loads of shows all over the UK as well as in the US and Italy, which were amazing.

During that time I joined the live band for Tom's solo thing Lonely Ghosts and we also played in another couple of bands together. When I took up the drums about three years ago I needed someone to play with and Tom was looking to try something new, so we started messing about in the practice room, hence Soft Arrows.

Before any of that though, when I was about 13 I used to mess about with a couple of friends recording stuff on to tape, mostly Mulligan and O'Hare covers. The tapes went missing so wish I could remember more about that!

You guys played with Deerhoof recently (which to be honest, we're super jealous about). How did that come about and how was it?

Tom: Basically we found out we were going to be playing that show about 4 or 5 hours before it happened. We were kind of in the running to do it and never heard anything and then suddenly everything fell into place really last minute. It was cool to play with Deerhoof as I hadn't seen them play for about 8 years, and the last time I was supporting them with HSCS so it was nice.

Russell: The main support emailed Tom asking if they could share kit, which was the first we'd heard about playing but we both happened to be free so went for it! It was a good one, we didn't really have a set planned so just tried out lots of new songs, and it's always fun watching Deerhoof play.

Compared to MYSTYRYS, you guys are super prolific and speedy (you recorded your new album in a day?!). Where does all the song writing inspiration come from?

Tom: Actually it was 2 days! I think we'll take 3 on the next one. Our aim is to record an album a year. I think that writing and working on new ideas is the most fun thing for us being in this band so if we're not playing a show soon we'll just keep on writing. As it's two of us the writing process is really quick. Music ideas are definitely a lot easier for me than lyrics. I've discussed this with other friends in bands and it's tough writing songs when you get to 30 and realise you're not an angry young man anymore.

Russell: We each only have one person to disagree with, so any ideas we're not both excited about will get vetoed and we'll move on to the next thing - makes for quick working! We're going to record another load of new songs soon so getting pretty excited about that.

What is the effective distance of a soft arrow? Do they offer any tactical advantages over conventional shafted projectiles?

Tom: I had one of those Nerf guns when I was a kid. It was pretty crap to be honest. I'm hoping that Nerf technology has improved since then.

Russell: I reckon I could throw Tom a good couple of metres if I really tried. The biggest tactical advantage of launching him at someone would probably be confusing the target into submission.


MYSTYRYS and Soft Arrows released their first split single together this week, titled 'Posts & Communications/Mothership' (out via Psychic Healing). They both Fitzherberts in Brighton tomorrow (Saturday 12th October).