Edinburgh-based songwriter Mt Doubt is premiering his new track, Reference Books, exclusively on TeamRock. Taken from upcoming EP The Loneliness Of The TV Watchers, the song mixes stark, jangling guitars with confessional lyricism and a new six-piece band, for a track steeped in the darker moments of new wave pop and inspired by Scotland’s history of innovative indie.
We catch up with band-leader Leo Bargery to find out more about the track and its accompanying EP.
What’s the story behind the song Reference Books?
Reference Books actually started out as a song called Weirdo which I wrote a few years ago in a kitchen. I ended up scrapping it because it just didn’t really flow too well but from the remnants of that I salvaged some verses, which kept coming back to me, and built it up around those. Thematically it’s essentially about the insecurities which surround the vague beginnings of a new relationship and the energies of anxiety and excitement which go hand-in-hand with that.
The themes covered on the new EP seem to revolve around isolation and the drudgery of the every day. What drew you to these topics?
I wasn’t consciously “drawn” to the topics, I think everyone can relate to the darker side of our collective experience and it’s certainly been an aspect of my life which has been quite prominent, if even in more predominantly internal ways. Because of that, much of my writing often comes off as being a bit depressing I reckon. There’s just something about pouring out-of-date milk down the sink that really hammers home the fact that I’m never going to be an astronaut…
What’s the story behind the artwork for The Loneliness Of The TV Watchers?
I was wandering around the Edinburgh College of Art 2016 Graduate Show and, fortunately, spotted some illustration work by a brilliant artist called Paige Collins which I loved. I got in touch with Paige and she agreed to do the artwork for the EP and our last single Tourists. I think the EP artwork really captures the mood of the songs! Hopefully we’ll work together again soon.
Are there any plans to release a full album?
To date we have actually released two full-length albums, My Past Is A Quiet Beast (2015) and In Awe Of Nothing (2016) both of which are available to hear in all the usual places; Spotify etc. In the imminent future we have a lot of music to record and a lot more music to release but that won’t be appearing in album form any time soon. Hopefully, all going well, we’ll be cracking on with album number three in 2018 though, as a lot of it is already written.
Who/what inspires you most when it comes to making music?
I think in terms of musical inspiration I have to mention Morrissey and Nick Cave as well as bands like The National, The Shins and Red House Painters, but the list is pretty extensive. I find reading can be a really great motivation especially when it comes to lyric writing; a simple phrase or word or description can set a whole idea in motion, which is always quite exciting. We have a song called Bend Sinister which was inspired purely by the title of a book of the same name by Vladimir Nabokov! Our own personal experiences are endlessly inspiring as well – even pouring that old milk down the sink can become something poetic if you try hard enough!
Scottish alternative music seems to be in rude health at the moment – what do you think is behind its rising profile?
It does indeed, but I would actually argue that it’s been in good fettle for a very long time. We seem to have a knack of producing brilliant bands from Orange Juice to the Jesus & Mary Chain, Frightened Rabbit and Mogwai to Franz Ferdinand; there’s no shortage! I think that history provides a constant inspiration and motivation to young Scottish bands and what we’re seeing at the moment is a glut of very diverse acts coming through who are all absolutely brilliant, like Pronto Mama, Foreignfox, The Vegan Leather… there are too many to name. It’s all very exciting.
What’s next for Mt Doubt?
I’m off to bed.
The Loneliness Of The TV Watchers is released on 2nd June via Scottish Fiction Records.