It’s a bit of a double-edged sword, the whole Mumford and Sons thing. You can see when you talk to folk, or indie-folk artists, their faces drop if anyone drops the ‘M’ bomb. Of course the thing about folk music, is that by its very nature it’s always been there, it’s just that because of, well, you know who, it exploded into both the charts and today’s youth culture. So one side of the metaphorical sword is that everyone who plays this sort of music is instantly (often lazily) compared to the Mumford boys, which I can appreciate is annoying, but on the other side is that there has been this explosion in people playing folk music, but more importantly an explosion of interest in listening to it, and buying it.
Whether or not Mumford & Sons were ever an influence on new band The Intermission Project or not, doesn’t really matter. Growing up and attending the same primary school in Ashford in Kent were Jim Rubaduka and Alex Stevens, who met again in 6th form and started playing music, roping in Charlie Campbell on drums.
The group have an ep ‘I’ve been waiting’ out on 23rd September. Mixing aspects of folk and Indie, but with these lovely vocal harmonies and there’s some soul in Jim voice, almost reminiscent of Jack Johnson in some ways, and even this nod towards jazz, the sultry Saxophone in the title track is both slightly unexpected, and lovely.
We caught up with Alex from the band, ahead of the ep launch
BM: You were at primary school together, is that right? But it wasn’t until secondary school that you got together and decided to form the band – how did that come about in the end?
Alex – The Intermission Project: That is true yes, we both went to the same school as kids and then after going to a different secondary school we were re-united in sixth form. We began to play music together in our free time at school and it took off from there really.
And what, or who, were you influenced by back then at the outset?
We all have a variety of influences so it’s tricky to specify but here’s a few we can all agree on Bon Iver, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Ben Howard.
Was there a defining track or album, that made you think – yeah, I want to do that?
There are so many great records out there that we love, but we can all agree that Bon Iver’s – For Emma Forever Ago was a great album.
And getting Charlie in on drums, what has he brought to the group – his own influences or energy, or was your musical course already set, and he just jumped aboard?
When we first played with Charlie it just seemed to work and i guess the rest is history. We threw him in the deep end as his first few gigs with us included our Pre-Ep Launch and a number of festivals.
Your ep is our September 23 – tell us a little more about that?
We recorded our EP at the lovely Vale Studios. We had such a great time recording and hope to be in a studio sometime soon.
And your tracks ‘sorry’ and ‘I’ve been waiting’ have been getting a lot of plays on soundcloud over the last few weeks – has that surprised you, delighted you? Something else?
We’re really happy with the response from the fans and we’re happy to be able to give them something back.
And do you think in a way these tracks are reflective of the band sound, and what the band is about?
We were very happy with the sound we got from just 2 days in a studio.
How do you go about the writing process? Is it words to fit a melody, or melody to fit a tune, or story?
Jim handles the lyrics and the melody lines, he then shows the rest of us and we come up with ideas and arrangements and then just agree on what we think is best fitted.
You’ve just been on a road trip with the Youth Hostels Association – how did that come about, and how was that?
We were invited by our friends at The Mahogany Blog who filmed every step of the way. It was a great experience and was sort of OK hanging with the guys for a week. We remain friends, kind of.
And over the Summer you played at a host of festivals – do you think you’re live show is developing with all this exposure and opportunities you’ve had to play? Are you more confident, because you’re all very young, and it strikes me that it might be rather daunting to stand up in front of all these people, and surrounded by artists that are a lot further on in their careers than you?
We believe that the more you play live shows the better and tighter you become as a band. So i guess we’re planning to gig as much as we can and hope to become tighter as a unit. The festival experiences definitely helped and was a great experience playing shows back to back.
But has it given you some great stories to share with your mates, these festivals? Bumped into any of your heroes along the way?
We have quite a few stories to tell yes. We bumped into Kodaline after their set at Kendal Calling and with them came Sea Sick Steve.
And what are you’re plans for the rest of the year?
Playing as much as we can
Any album plans?
In the future for sure.
The best record I’ve heard this year is…..
Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires of the City
Folk they may be, Indie they sort of are too, but they’re soulful, jazzy even too. Mumford and Sons, they ain’t.