Interview by Kieran Webber | Header Image by Neelam Khan Vela
Thee MVPs solidified themselves as one of the countries leading garage psych-rock outfits with their notoriously wild shows and intense touring schedule. In the years they have been active they have played various shows at SXSW, played with Twin Peaks, Night Beats, Meatbodies and Ty Segall. Not to mention a successful debut album ‘Most Valuable Players’, released in 2016 via Easy Action.
After a bit of a break the band have returned with the news of a new album ‘Science Fiction’, released via their new label EEasy Records. In addition to this we got a taste of what’s to come with the single ‘Ship Episode, Planet Episode’, a belting garage rock track that is swirling is guiatars and anthemic vocals.
It’s an exciting time for the band and we were set to have our ears ravaged by their music live but unfortunately the current pandemic has put that on hold. In the meantime though you can get to know the guys a little bit more via our interview with Charlie Wyatt.
Kieran: Thanks for taking the time to talk to us, how have you all been?
Charlie: WE ARE DISPLACED…
Nah we’re good, this isolation stuff is a weird scene, a couple of us are in Leeds still, Edd’s at his folks in Wales and I’m back at my parents in Kent. This weeks theme has been ‘BBQing as much as possible’. It’s been good to ask how everyone is doing really, people haven’t done that in a while, myself DEFINITELY included. The biggest drag was after a bit of a break we were gonna get rehearsing again and now we’re unable too.
Kieran: How are we all handling the current situation? What have you been doing to stay busy?
Charlie: A lot of video gaming, a lot of painting, BBQ, big bags of cans without the lads, weed, cooking some bitchin dinners, Disney +, the Mandalorian, the FF7 Remake, Pixar films, old simpsons, laying in, learning Allman Brothers tunes, loving exercise all of a sudden, discussing how great breakfast is, playing quiplash, swearing, clapping for the NHS, I think we’re on a 1 out of 4 bandmate rate for having watched tiger king though.
Kieran: Your new album has lots of sci-fi themes through it, do you guys watch a lot of sci-fi films? If so what ones are your favorite?
Charlie: I watch ‘some’ I’m afraid anything I write here would be abit of a surface scratch really, I really just wanted to make a record that had one constant theme (lyrically and aesthetically) through it so I could get away with having a few musical directions in it. Science Fiction is a badass name for anything though really, bit bummed brand new beat me to it though.
SOME GREAT SCI FI recommendations from this hobbyist would be:
• The Cube
• Ex Machina
• Star Trek TOS
• Beyond the Black Rainbow
• Hellraiser 2
• Starship Troopers
• The Martian (particularly the book)
• Any Iain M Banks literature
• Gateway by Frederik Pohl
Kieran: What did you listen to growing up and how has it influenced your music?
Charlie: I don’t want to go in too heavy on this as it would A) take forever and B) be about me. So I’ll say some oldies and some newbies that we all dig.
OLD: Black Sabbath, Black Flag, CAN, Minutemen, nirvana, Fugazi
NEW: Meatbodies, Hot Snakes, Twin Peaks, Oh Sees, Eddy Current
The oldies we like for taking those chances back when it was much more frowned up upon, putting in the legwork to think about how to make music differently and how to tour and release it differently. The Newbies we like for carrying the torch of those mindsets and ideals and inspiring us to keep on doing what we feel is right.
Kieran: Were there any new influences for the new album?
Charlie: We listened to a lot of OFF and alot of Dinosaur Jr. while we were making it, I really dove in on Quelle Chris (great hip hop that makes me laugh a ton). It was a while back now, we did two weeks of cutting then went on tour with flatworms so we’d have listened to them alot too! It’s hard to recount ‘new’ influences if you mean current music, I’d rather be a listener of it then feel like it has to tip me a certain way in my own music.
Listen to ‘Ship Episode/Planet Episode’ here:
Kieran: You recently set up your own label Eeasy Records (which the new album is released via) what was the idea behind this? What do you want to achieve with EEasy Records?
Charlie: Unfortunately due to some less than pleasant business with our producer (and this was after we’d already gone way over schedule and budget) we didn’t have the final files of our record for a few months, this lead to some missed opportunities for pitching the record and having people see us at some pretty solid sxsw shows with Desert Daze & Levitation amongst others. I was able to book up these shows with rough edits but unable to show any labels the record. coupled with the delays of finally receiving it and how bigger labels like to keep a schedule, it closed a few doors we had squeezed a couple toes in to.
“I’d like to be able to provide a sturdy and respected platform for artists that make killer music and can’t get a break“Charlie Wyatt
After some time feeling abit defeated and some words from all sorts of friends it made sense to save up a bunch of cash and ask after friends working in the industry for advice on how to set up a label to be able to release MVPs music and music of a similar frame of mind. A special thanks to Alex Ives of First Terrace/Ex-MVPs and Matt Jones of Castle Face for their help in getting things even to this point.
I’d use the term DIY if hadn’t lost a lot of it’s original meaning, if you break it down I guess ‘punk’ is the most accurate but the idea of releasing carbon copied loud rock bands doesn’t interest me either. In short I’d like to be able to provide a sturdy and respected platform for artists that make killer music and can’t get a break, people who can tear it up but aren’t necessarily the ‘biz’ cup of tea, something that rips but isn’t marketable I suppose!
Kieran: Where do you find the energy to play as many shows as you guys have?
Charlie: Beer Etc.? I don’t know! We get a kick out of playing with bands we like more than anything, we like the social aspect, particularly garage rock which has a way less clique-y attitude than other scenes. It’s just fun to do and it’s even funner to do it well.
Kieran: Do you have a particular show that stands out to you?
Charlie: Whenever we play Paris I’m completely surprised that it sells out and people treat it as an absolute rager. London is always a hoot too. Thee MVPs favourite venue is either Brudenell Social Club in leeds or the Horst Klub in Kreuzlingen, Switzerland. Those who know… know.
Kieran: If you could play anywhere, any place right now where would it be?
Charlie: Right now? Shit man, anywhere.
Kieran: Lastly, we like to end on a story so can you tell us something weird, funny or gnarly that has happened to you?
Weird: Went to a house party after a gig in LA. But a fancy one famous people were at, took mushrooms, James Franco was there, kept asking if it was really him. Somehow wasn’t asked to leave.
Gnarly: Joel’s headstock on the janky strat he was borrowing for the last USA tour split in half during soundcheck, he superglues it back, spends an hour holding it by hand to set it and drinking with the other hand in the green room, strings it up good as new and comes out swinging to a packed club of 500 kids in LA.
Funny: On our last tour we had a day off in Paris and Edd got stuck in the public toilet when it went on a cleaning cycle. He was shouting out a whole bunch wondering what the hell was going on while we were day drunk and half looking around for help to get him out and half in stitches laughing. The booking agent didn’t sort out any accommodation the previous night so I guess he was the first one to get a shower that day.