Friday, 19 February 2016

Some Battered Pages

I like having a small notebook that fits neatly in a pocket or bag. I took one such notebook to Thailand with us when we went record our album, but then in an impressive act of bad luck and stupidity I lost it the night we arrived. The only thing I could find at short notice to take down to the studio with me was a big hardcover A4 monster. 
I just found it at the bottom of a bag, and am having fun reading through it. It was a pain in the arse to carry around, but the additional space did lead to me having more room to fill with random nonsense, as you can see below.....

Somewhere in amongst that mess is a song called Bleach Your Bones. This track will on the album, and a live session video of us playing it will be online in the near future. 
We've been working on a bunch of live videos and other fun things over the last month or two, basically keeping ourselves busy until we can get back out on the road again. All of them will be online soon, though I'm not sure exactly when. 

Love n' kisses, 



Four grey haired men stand together,
looking like ageing gangsters,
in their black suits and longs coats.
They silently smoke in the doorway
of the cheapest bar in town,
seventy nine pence vodka and mixer,
pints for a pound fifty.
They enter the final stages of a sombre day.

They are at that age
when friends and acquaintances die
with an ominous consistency,
as a generation fades out.

Black suits become a uniform
and gather the scents of the day,
polished wood, cigarette smoke,
and an eye-watering widows perfume.
One day soon each of these men will take his turn
to put on that black suit for the final time,
and like those before them,
a glass will be raised to their name
at the cheapest bar in town.

Sunday, 14 February 2016


Later this month we will be releasing New Trance, the first single from our new album. 
New Trance will be available from all the usual online music stores and streaming sites, and will have a glamorous new music video to go with it. 

New Trance was one of the last songs we worked on before going into the studio. When we headed to Karma it was a half written thing known only as the "Smiths Song", due to Mikeys Jonny Marr-esque lead guitar parts in the choruses. Working with producer Shane Edwards we increased the tempo of the original track and added a large slice of beef, I finished off the lyrics while we were in Thailand, and from a list of around eight potential titles christened it "New Trance". 

One of the consistent themes on the album is new technology, and its effect on our lives and personalities. It may seem like a silly, almost shallow thing to even consider, but I don't think it can be underestimated. You would just need to look back in time ten to fifteen years to see how massive an effect things like smartphones and social media have had on people, individually and socially. If we don't all take a moment now and then to think about what we are doing and how we are letting these almost universally accepted advances in "communication" into our lives we may soon pass a point of no-return. 

New Trance is a song about the hypnotising effect of smartphones. I myself often wonder how much more I would get done if i didn't have one. I find it hard to concentrate when my phone is nearby, when there are emails to check, news websites to read and random pictures to view. I get frustrated and angry with myself when I notice that I've been sitting doing nothing for half an hour because my phone has gotten hold of my attention. I complain that I never have enough time to do and learn new things, but then waste so many hours staring at a 6-inch screen. For me it's a sneaking feeling that I'm missing something. I will be sitting reading a book when I hear my phone buzz, I ignore it, but then in the back of my mind I start to wonder if that buzz might be something important or exciting. I'll decide that whatever it is, it can wait. But then that original feeling remains and distracts me until I give up reading and check, just to get it over with, using the logic that the quicker I can see that its nothing important the quicker I can get back to what I was doing. But it never quite works out like that. I know a lot of people who suffer this more than I do, and I'm certain that there are millions more all over the world, and that many of them will never notice it is happening to them. There is a global epidemic of distraction sweeping the earth, if we are not careful then nothing will ever get done, we will remain trapped in the one moment, afraid to move, the human race will turn to stone. 


I'm starting on a new life, an arms length from my face, 
in HD hyper-vision, twenty four hours a day, 
I join the conversation, but I don't have anything left to say....

Always an alibi, 
Always a reason why I'll never leave
Always an alibi, 
Always a reason why I'll never leave

My eyes have turned to glass, I don't know when I last blinked, 
all out of new sensations, we don it all again, 
I am bewitched, I'm spellbound, my new Medusa won't let me escape, 

Always an alibi, 
Always a reason why I'll never leave
Always an alibi, 
Always a reason why I'll never leave

Always a reason why
Always a reason why

Friday, 12 February 2016

Into the Wilderness

We had an incredible year last year, we played a lot of shows, in a lot of countries, and wrote a lot of songs, before eventually heading off to Thailand to make an album.

But it wasn't all plain sailing, there were a few "interesting" moments along the way. It sometimes blows my mind that we managed to pull it off without any major casualties. 
I shall withhold the names so that the interested parties can keep a little dignity, but here are some of the truly special moments we endured, I'm sure those that know us can guess the culprits of each....

  • Someone blacked out and went missing in Bangkok the night before our album recording began, so had to be taxied to the studio on their own once found. This person may also have lost a lyric book on that same night. 
  • Someone got bored after being home for a few weeks so attempted to do a little DIY. They failed, and managed to set their arm on fire with a petrol can. At a later date, while once again back home and bored, this same person managed to break a ladder and get stuck in an attic. Its best that this person is never left home alone. 
  • Someone thought they were a modern day Steve Irwin, so started messing with some killer jelly fish, only to end up being stung and hospitalised.
  • Someone hates mosquitos. They hate them so much they bought every type of mosquito repellent they could find, from creams to sprays and incense sticks, and decided to use all of these things at once, in a poorly ventilated room. This person briefly went blind. 
  • Someone misplaced a passport while in Switzerland, and didn't realise it had been misplaced until the passport had made it halfway across Germany in the back of a van. With half of the band in Germany, and the other half in Switzerland, a mad dash against the clock commenced, with flights and ferries to be caught and vast distances to be covered the odds were against us, but somehow we pulled it off and all made it home. But this leads me to my next point......
  • Someone, with the threat of missing a ferry and being trapped in Holland looming over them, decided to go rouge and try board said ferry on foot as it was about to depart. They were caught and threatened with arrest, but managed to charm their way out of it and he, along with a van full of gear, was then allowed to board. 
  • Someone grew frustrated with a confused taxi driver taking us in the wrong direction while looking for a house on the outskirts of Bangkok, so decided we must all vacate the taxi in a traffic jam and walk down the middle of the motorway into on-coming traffic. Ten minutes later we found the house we needed and were sitting happily with iced gins in hand, laughing nervously about how it had all worked out for the best while we each sat secretly trying to figure how were had managed not to become Thai roadkill. 
  • Someone discovered a free bar at a Belgian music festival. Eight hours later that same person was kicked out of the dressing room of a popular 80s pop combo for trying to "borrow" a coffee machine while draped in Belgian flag. This person was very ill the next day. 
  • And a special mention must go to a member of the extended TMT touring party that kept us all on our toes for the whole year. This brave soldier managed to do many adventurous things, ranging from simply putting a hole in his own hand, to locking himself in the back of a van, at an airport, with the engine running, resulting in him almost arrested as a suspected terrorist. At one point our van was hit by a dangerous driver, so our hero chased them down like a ninja warrior and kicked off their wing-mirror. Yes, he may have ended up in the back of a police car, but our scratched van was avenged! 
Our new single will be released later this month, so the whole operation is about to swing into action once again. This year promises to be busier and more intense than last, its going to be a hell of a ride, we hope you can join us, and lets see if we can all make it out alive.


Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Настоящая любовь

Other than a few random "It was great!" quotes in a few rarely read interviews we've never really said anything in detail about our trips to, and relationship with, Russia. So in keeping with our new spirit of saying more words about more stuff, I think now might be a good time to go into it.
I apologise in advance, this will boring and of no merit at all, it is simply a list of things that happened and long overdue love letter...

I think I first heard of Fyodor Dostoyevsky when he was mentioned in a Sartre novel. I was obsessed with Jean Paul Sartre. So anything mentioned in a Sartre novel I would undoubtedly go out and investigate further.

I bought a second hand copy of Notes From The Underground and a new romance was born. I began devouring everything by Dostoyevsky I could get my hands on, Crime and Punishment (the book and BBC film), Brothers Karamazov, The Idiot, the whole lot. It would often take weeks to get through a single book, and glorious weeks they would be. I'm not sure if it maybe had something to do with me being from a small town, in a small country, but I loved the vastness of these novels, the epic landscapes, the unhinged characters and almost unbearable psychological torture in every situation. When I finally finished a book I felt so sad at having to leave all of these people and places that had taken over my life. When I had finished with Dostoyevsky I moved on to others, Tolstoy, Gogol, Turgenev, Bulgakov, Grossman. I read more into the history and setting of these novels, I even wrote a song called St Petersburg, all about my desire to run away from mundane every day life and flee to the darkness of Nevsky Prospect. Russia became my "thing". Other people liked cars, or collected vinyl or played sports, whereas I had Russian books. I bought a full length great coat and grew a beard.
I'm not quite as intense (and odd) as I was during this initial period, the coat has been binned and the beard shaved off, but I am still a lover and enthusiast.

So alas, it felt like a kind of poetic coincidence when our first ever major tour happened to be in Russia, starting in the depths of Siberia and moving slowly west. In all honesty I had never heard of some of the unpronounceable cities we were to play on that tour, but they have come to be some of my favourite places on earth, and home to some of the most incredible people I have ever met.
Those first shows, when we supported Placebo in a selection of huge Ice Hockey stadiums will always be some of our best ever. I'm not really sure quite why we had such an amazing and instant bond with the audiences at those shows, I guess the people in the crowd will be better placed to explain that than me, but we were humbled and amazed. Having played tons of small shows around the UK before this Russia trip we had grown accustomed to subdued and reserved audiences. A few head nods and Twitter follows coming from a show was a real success. In contrast those Siberia shows where pure chaos, glorious mad energy and enthusiasm, we fed off of it, and loved it. We came home from that tour as a better band, the Mirror Trap that takes to any stage today was born in Siberia. On arriving back in Scotland we wanted to go back straight away, but sadly the logistics and finance involved in taking a small and poor Scottish rock band into the middle of Russia where too huge for us to do it quickly.
One year later we were given the chance to return, and to play in Moscow and St Petersburg, two cities we missed out on the first trip.

That second trip was a real whirlwind in which our feet barely touched the ground, we flew in for two days, played two shows and didn't sleep at all. In St Petersburg we played our own show, to a small but wild crowd of people. During our one day in St Petersburg I managed to squeeze in a four hour walk all around the centre of the city, I went over the bridges on which so many great literary scenes had taken places, I stood in front of great palaces and drank coffee in small cafes, this was a dream come true. The following day we met up with Placebo again to play a show in Gorky Park. Gorky Park. Gorky freakin' Park. Boys like us don't get to play to ten thousand people in the centre of Moscow, it just doesn't happen. But then it did, and it was surreal, incredible but so surreal. I don't think I was really in my body during that entries 45 minute set. We even had a little "cat walk" at the front of the stage, I felt like Mick Jagger!
We went from the show straight to the after show party, we drank and danced and made fools of ourselves until 7am. We piled into a taxi, were taken to the airport and were home before we could blink.

We are still in contact with so many of the people we met on those two trips, and are extremely grateful for the support we have been given. We have our new album finished, and are in the process of arranging a year of shows. We will be coming back to Russia. I don't know where, or when, but it will happen, and if it is anything like our previous trips it will be incredible.