Thee MVPs: "Constant exhaustion can lead to good riffs sometimes"

A press shot of thee mvps

Alt-rockers Thee MVPs are premiering the video for their new track Fossor exclusively with TeamRock. The track, taken from their upcoming EP Receiver, blends riotous punk with distorted psychedelic guitar licks for a satisfyingly punchy two-minute punk rock workout.

We had a chat with frontman Charlie Wyatt to find out more about the song, their new EP and what’s next for Thee MVPs.

What’s the story behind the song Fossor?

Well, first off I just wanted to have a very heavy metal name for the song as it’s one of our heavier ones – Fossor is latin for grave digger. However, the general rule in the band is only sing about what you know about. Heavy metal/psychedelic lyrics are pretty daft most of the time, and allude to people saying the same nonsense they say when they’re bashed out on drugs in the early hours. I like a metaphor but it’s got to reference what’s real to me. This song in particular compares being dug up from a shallow grave to my struggle for getting up for a job that I really didn’t care for every morning. You know when you’ll snooze until the very last second and do things like skip a shower or breakfast because sleep is the only thing that work can’t mess with? Fossor was written when I was in the deep throes of a job like that. Constant exhaustion and grogginess can lead to some good riffs and lyrics sometimes!

What sort of themes do you cover on the Receiver EP?

A mixed bag I suppose! Most MVPs songs are to do with adverse, strange or nervous social situations we find ourselves in, [with] a hefty amount of sci-fi culture informing the lyrics or narrative. It changes from song to song how immersed the lyrics are, whether it’s just commentating or observing other people’s scenarios, or a full-blown first-hand account. The five songs here cover flimsy reunions at funerals, people holding grudges, work anxieties, women being groped at shows and a fear of flying. Sci-fi influences include Back To The Future and The Twilight Zone episode when their aeroplane is getting messed with by a goblin.

What’s your favourite story or anecdote from recording the EP?

We got it done in a day! We never have much money to record, so we just learn everything super-tight and record it all live in as little time as possible. We work with friends, too – we prefer our mates telling us we’re playing it wrong or have a better take than someone we don’t know telling us how to play songs they never heard before. Theo Verney is the man with the plan producing this one.

How would you explain your sound to people who’ve never heard you before?

We made up a genre! It’s called Thames Pop, we figured we can get away with making whatever records we want to make if it’s titled under its own sound. I guess the idea is the dirtiness of punk with the catchiness of pop… The Thames is a dirty great big river that we live by and it’s pretty grimy and icky. The pop bit just means all four of us are a sucker for a chorus. However, here are some bands we like for easy referencing to the new listeners: MC5, At The Drive-In, Queens Of The Stone Age, Nirvana, Black Sabbath, Fugazi, The Hives, OMNI, Hot Snakes, Thee Oh Sees, Billy Childish, The Black Lips.

Max Horn recorded the film to accompany the EP. How was working with him?

Max Horn is just about one of the nicest guys we have met on the road. We toured with Frank Carter And The Rattlesnakes and he was their photographer, he made loads of videos for them on the road and was always speaking with us at the shows and watching us (early support slots can sometimes be a little dry so it’s nice to see folks heading out to see us). He digs the band and was very easy to work with and accommodating to us. Amber Little and Suzie Fownes also shot the video, and were also nothing but professional and competent.

What was it like to tour America for a month?

Pretty amazing! We toured coast to coast for three weeks, played with some fully amazing bands of all genres along the way and smashed 16 shows out of the park at SXSW. It ended in LA with two shows – we’re very lucky to have a lot of friends there now so it’s a great “home away from home” kind of place to play. It’s always a drag coming back – they really dig us out there! We did do a 16 hour drive though…

What’s your favourite story/highlight from that tour?

The whole thing was amazing and we really did see a lot of America. NYC right through to LA.

We played a show in Blacksburg, Virginia. We had headed from Philadelphia that day and it was the first time any of us had seen some real woodland areas of America (whilst listening to Harvest by Neil Young). We got to the show, which ended up being in the basement of the local student house, kids crowdsurfing in a room you’d bang your head in if you tiptoed kinda stuff. Everyone was very sweet and gave each band as much love as the other. We tried ordering pizza after but the place kept thinking we were pranking them (Margherita is just a delicious boozy cocktail to Americans. On the fourth phone call we realised all we had to say was ‘one cheese pizza please!’).

What’s next for Thee MVPs?

Probably what every other band says that gets asked this: more gigs, more tours, more records! We have a 45 coming out in July and this EP will be coming out on NYC label Greenway Records on a 10 inch in autumn.