After the release of their debut single “Zodiac”, released via Come Play With Me, and after their support slot at Cribsmas, The Cribs xmas extravaganza of gigs at Brudenell Social Club, we met up with Magick Mountain to discuss their reluctant supergroup status and their debut single. We sat down with singer and guitarist Lins Wilson, bassist and singer Tom Hudson, and drummer Nestor Matthews at the incredibly cool Lord Whitney’s Studio in Leeds.
As each member of the group is now a stalwart of the Leeds music scene I wondered how the band originated, Lins talked us through how they met. “Nestor has always lived in Leeds but Tom and I moved here for art college. I met Nestor through one of his very first bands with Katie (Harkin), then I joined and did Sky Larkin with them for a year or so. Then I left Sky Larkin to concentrate on my other band which was Mother Vulpine with Tom and Matt who is in Dinosaur Pile-Up, it’s all very incestuous.” Tom then explained where he thinks the name came from. “We don’t really know, I think I woke up with it in my head. I like the mythology behind it but I also really love the film ‘Holy Mountain’, the Alejandro Jodorowsky film, but there is already a band called Holy Mountain and this just had a similar vibe about it.”
As each member of the group has previously had success in other Leeds based bands (Lins has been in Mother Vulpine and Sky Larkin, amongst others. Tom is part of Pulled Apart By Horses and was also in Mother Vulpine, and Nestor is in Sky Larkin and Menace Beach) they are often referred to as a supergroup, I wondered what they thought of this term and Nestor said. “I find it really funny because we have known each other for so long, why is it a special thing. You’re in a band, I’m in a band, lets do a band. Pretty much every band I know are a band of other band mates because that’s how everybody knows each other. The flipside of it is that it shows the heritage of the band.”
This new platform allows each member to experience a different dynamic and take on extra roles, Tom began by telling us what makes Magick Mountain different to their past collaborations. “It’s cool being in a three-piece because you each have a pocket to fill and you aren’t fighting over space or whatever. Because I was really busy writing the last Pulled Apart By Horses record when Lins started writing stuff so I said to her why don’t you write a bunch of songs and she would flesh out some ideas. Then when she was busy I would put a bassline to it and maybe some lyric ideas and some really shit GarageBand drums, which we told Nestor to ignore. Then it’s just batting things back and forth so I didn’t feel like I had the pressure on me to write, there was already something there. Then the three of us would get in a room and the demos that we had would just explode into something else. We wrote a song a couple of weeks ago basically because our set was too short, and we were headlining two shows, so we wrote a song and I think it is probably one of my favourite ones.” Lins then explained just why she is enjoying this new role so much. “I think for me, because it has been like ten years or so since we played in Mother Vulpine, that was the last time I properly played guitar in a band. Since then I have gone off on different journeys playing bass or cello or different things, so this band for me is that opportunity to just riff and make some hard noise, which is a bit more freeing. I have a bit more chance to collaborate on song-writing in a different way, because I have worked in a lot of bands where I haven’t always been part of the song-writing.”
Their debut single ‘Zodiac’ was picked up by Leeds label Come Play With Me as part of their singles club, Lins told us how this came about. “Tony basically got in touch with us because he had heard we had started a new band but hadn’t actually heard any of the music, because we hadn’t really put anything online. He just kind of trusted us to make something good. “Working with him and Jon Jones & The Beaknit Movement on the split single was really nice that it is part of a set of all these different bands and it just kind of felt like the right thing for us to do as the first thing.” Nestor then added his thoughts on why this helped to push them forward. “He was also the kick up the arse that we needed to realise that we need to make this a thing now because we have a horizon to aim for.” The single released by Come Play With Me was ‘Zodiac’ and when asked to describe it Tom came out with this mind-bending description. “It’s like Axel Rose herding goats. We picked ‘Zodiac’ because it was the one the felt like it had a little bit of everything that we do. It’s got the breakdown, it’s fuzzed up, it’s got the little cheeky neb-out but not too long.”