Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Nick Mulvey - The Interview

Photography by Barnaby Aldrick

It’s a real pleasure for me to introduce you to Nick Mulvey – a uniquely gifted musician who in my opinion everyone should know about. Being a multi-talented man, he sings and plays guitar as a solo artist , plays the hang (which is a fantastic instrument and quite rare) for the Mercury Prize nominated jazz/instrumental group Portico Quartet and he is also a member of the experimental London based One Taste Collective. Basically he’s very busy which is what you might expect of such a fiercely talented guy.

Nick has just finished a degree in ethnomusicology (focusing on African music) at SOAS (The School of Oriental and African Studies) where, according to his website, “the sounds he encountered in this course have informed and influenced my songwriting and musicality greatly, and fed my passion for musical expression.”

I’d describe Nicks music as Paul Simon (Graceland) meets Jose Gonzalez with a sprinkle of London magic. I recently saw Nick play at the IKTOMS Wired festival and was totally blown away, not only by his superb guitar playing ability (he simultaneously played three different rhythms on his guitar and sang at the same time!), but also by his amazing voice and ability to impress a previously chatty audience into complete silence. Many a jaw hit the floor that evening and he put to rest any notions I ever had of ever picking up my guitar again! When I hear someone this good, I’m just happy to sit back and enjoy the evening and leave it to the professionals!

Nick Mulvey

I recently took the opportunity to catch up with Nick and asked him a few questions:

When did you begin writing songs?
When I was 18 (i'm 23 now).

What instruments do you play?
My first instrument is guitar but I'm most busy with Portico Quartet in which I play an unusual tuned percussion instrument called the Hang. Similar to a steelpan but softer in tone. I sing too and play a bit of piano (though who doesn't these days)..

What inspires you to write?
Hard to articulate. Making music brings me great joy so I pursue that feeling. A feeling of many strands culminating and then being transcended.

How would you describe your music?
Amazing! Inquisitive songwriting with kick-ass guitar playing and a passion for music from across the planet. Central African and Flamenco guitar influences combine with a love of great songwriting and an enduring interest in the mysterious things that happen to humans when exposed to deeply repetitive sounds.

Is your family musical?
Lots of music in the house when I was growing up but i'm the only one who'd call myself a musician.

Where is your most favorite place in the world?
Plaza Mirador de San Nicolas in Granada, south Spain. Amazing square in the Arab quarter of this old and romantic city, over looking a Moorish palace and the Sierra Nevada mountains with flamenco guitarists and beautiful gypsy girls everywhere.

What was the last song you listened to?
Darkest Light by Jono McCleery.

What is the funniest thing that has happened to you during a performance?
I performed at Europe's largest sex party once. Held in SeOne club in London Bridge, I played in a 'sting' band playing 20 second stings as people entered a cabaret-like stage to perform mind-boggling sex acts. A formative gig.

Is there one venue in particular you would love to play?
not right now.

What do you do to relax?
Read. Play guitar. Go cycling.

What are your plans over the next year?
Touring UK with Portico Quartet this autumn, releasing second album in spring, European tour in April/May, then festival circuit in the summer. Will continue to develop my solo thing throughout, learning more about songwriting, recording, improving more guitar technique, getting a band together, developing my audience, collaborate with other artists...having shitloads of fun! Meeting amazing people....

If you could have 3 musicians over to your place, who would they be?
Muddy Waters, Little Walters and Jimmy Rogers (all seminal Chicago blues musicians I've been reading about lately).

If I asked you one more question what would it be and what would be the answer?
Which South-East Asian capital city is spelt exactly the same as a mild spice except one letter is different?

If you get a chance to see Nick perform, reschedule all other appointments, spend your last few pounds, grab that ticket and prepare to be dazzled!

Here are a couple of videos of Nick Mulvey:

Portico Quartet 'Cittagazze' live

Nick Mulvey - Throw your shovel to the ground

Tour Dates

21 Oct 2008 RUDI TUESDAY @ Bom-Banes BRIGHTON
25 Oct 2008 Inspiral Lounge, Camden London
30 Oct 2008 Sanctuary Cafe, Brighton
1 Nov 2008 Wormfood, Dalston London
11 Nov 2008 Big Chill House London
18 Nov 2008 LONDON JAZZ FEST - The Vortex with Olivia Chaney and Ayana Witter Johnson London
21 Dec 2008 Sunday Service Xmas Special LEEDS

For Further Nick Mulvey Info:

LastFm: http://www.last.fm/music/Nick+Mulvey

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