The interview: Nick Mulvey

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June 17, 2013 by Tess Riley

Anyone who’s yet to discover Nick Mulvey should prepare themselves for something truly special. Mulvey’s debut EP, ‘Fever to the Form’, is out today and I was lucky enough to get in a wee chat with him to find out more. In the words of Rod Stewart, “some [girls] have all the luck”.

[This interview first appeared on Virgin’s Red Room here.]

Hi Nick. Thanks for taking the time out for a quick chat.

First up, congratulations on your debut EP, ‘Fever to the Form’. The title track’s been getting a lot of love and rightly so. Apparently it’s the first song you completed after going solo from Portico Quartet. Can you tell us more?

Thank you. I’m proud of this EP. Any song you finish is kind of special but ‘Fever to the Form’ is just a bit more special than the others for me. It was the first of the batch and it landed in a flash. Well, a day, then I tweaked and adjusted it for ages… but still, it felt cathartic writing it. And a relief too, because I’d left the band (Portico Quartet) to write songs and one turned up! And once I had this one, I knew others could too. It’s a song about music really and my commitment to it. I always felt ‘fever to the form’ as meaning from chaos to order through music.


Wow, that adds a whole new layer of beauty to the song. In fact, there’s a lovely video of you playing ‘Fever to the Form’ in Barcelona – that was before you were signed, right? What’s the story there?

Park Guell! The Gaudi park in Barcelona…. love that place. I was there with a friend over Easter 2011 and she suggested we film the song so I ran back to the car and got my guitar. I’m glad we captured it there.

Between going solo and getting signed I hibernated and worked hard on my craft in a little warehouse writing-room in East London. I spent my days studying song form and watching all my heroes very closely, writing song after song, keeping the good ones and learning from the bad ones, developing my guitar-playing and singing. I went in deep. Then I slowly started to gig and put my team together.

Talking of locations, looks like you’re playing some cool venues during your summer tour. Any you’re particularly looking forward to?

All of them! It’s shaping up to be a great summer. But playing the Park Stage at Glastonbury is pretty exciting. And I’m playing a Roman amphitheatre in Lyon in July too.

Any dream ones you’d like to play in the future?

In London, I’d love to play Shepherd’s Bush Empire. Beyond that, well… when I’m alone in my space I imagine vast but totally silent crowds. Gives me the goosebumps.

Ha, I reckon just about anyone reading that has the goosebumps right now. Back to the EP, how come you’ve written a song about the River Lea?

I live 5 minutes from the River Lea! I’d often pop down there for a break in the songwriting. It is beautiful around Springfield Park Marina and Walthamstow Marshes. There are songs in them there marshes…

I’m loving your use of ‘thunk’ in ‘Fever to the Form’ – it really should be a verb (I’m not sure who we talk to about sorting that one out… the Dictionary people?) Any other words you think should be in existence?

Haha thanks. I actually stopped using ‘thunk’ since that video was filmed. The word drew too much attention to itself. But I love elastic and inventive uses of language. It’s all up for grabs – why not? There is another made-up word on the EP, on the song ‘House of Saint Give Me’. But I won’t say where…

I’m saying nothing… The EP’s coming out through Communion Records – what’s it like working with the team there?

Great. They are a lovely bunch of people. Really supportive and they have allowed me to get on and do my thing.

Yes, somehow their loveliness doesn’t surprise. New EP aside, any musicians we should be keeping our eyes on at the moment?

I am loving the new Zomby record, ‘With Love’ – stunning. I like Marika Hackman too.

Perfect, thanks Nick, it’s been a treat. Last but not least, what superpower would you like to have?

China.

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