With so many cool bands out there to check out I offer you some minor guidance by introducing you to EL MISTI. Anders Ekdahl ©2019
What kind of vision did you have when you started and how has it changed over the years?
Paddy Bleakley Not a vision, necessarily, we just wanted to make music that we believed in.
Does location mean anything today? We used to hear about how it was all location, location, location back in the days if you wanted to make it big? That you had to come from a certain place to be sure to make it.
Kieran Gilchrist There have been some scenes in music history, which I think were so influential that the music would not have existed without them. Me and Paddy meeting in Rio definitely had a massive impact on our initial trajectory and more recently, the great music scene at the bar Paddy owns, Kash 22, has really taken the whole thing into creative overdrive.
PB Throughout the history of popular music, time and place have often synchronised at the perfect point, and the results invariably have the ability to change the musical landscape. One example that I hold quite dear Woodstock, in 1967/68. The place, not the festival, although the festival was cool too. Dylan was there, Van Morrison was there, Janis Joplin, Jackson C Frank, loads of them. Most notably for me though, there was a Big Pink house used as a breeding ground for the songs that would give birth to the genre Americana. The Band inspired so many songwriters and musicians, me included.
Laurel Canyon and LA, Greenwich Village, the Mississippi Delta, London, Liverpool, Manchester, too many to mention. Anywhere artists congregate will invariably give birth to some sort of ‘scene’. I try and surround myself with artists of all disciplines. I find it inspires and influences the work I do. My girl is a wonderful songwriter, she inspires me.
What is it like to be a in a band and to get to tour all over the world? What kind of feelings does that bring about?
PB I love being in a band. I’ll let you know about the world tour if we ever get there.
KG Music and travel are perfect bedfellows, but yes we’ll let you know.
What kind of feedback have you had on your music, your latest album and in general? How important is feedback?
KG Feedback is important in terms of helping give perspective, and support from those around you is indispensable, but ultimately the feedback we get from each other is the driving force.
PB People have said nice things, people have said not so nice things. Personally, feedback isn’t why I do it. This album is finished, I’m already in the space of creating the next. We haven’t got time to stop and pat ourselves on the back…There’s too many songs to write.
How do you know that you have written a “hit” song? Is there a particular feeling you get when you know that this is the one, this is the big “make it song”?
PB One man’s ‘hit’ is another man’s burden. I’ve always been a bigger fan of albums anyway.
As I am no musician, I never got to know the difference of analogue and digital. Can you explain the difference to me? what are the pros and cons of analogue V/S digital?
KG Recording to tape is very much like making love to a beautiful woman. 1s and 0s are what Neo sees at the end of The Matrix.
What is it like to have people you have never met liking your music and singing along at gigs?
PB My Mum, Dad and Sister know all the words, and that’s enough for me.
KG I guess it would be similar to how I feel when I sing the songs back to myself in the mirror after 3 bottles of whiskey.
How important are lyrics to you guys? Do you have any messages that you want to get forward?
PB To me, lyrics are the most important. It’s how it all begins. One sentence, or even a word, can set off a reaction and a whole song could be written before the hour is out. My favourite artists are masters of the written word. I believe most good songs contain some sort of message, but the identity of that message is in the ear of the beholder.
KG To be honest, the lyrics of a song have often passed me by, partly I think because I’m deaf in one ear. From a very young age, I built up a deeper relationship with the music itself. In some ways, the music can be easier to understand than the lyrics, more universal, because music is the language of emotion. I try to charge the music with as much emotion as possible. But, for sure, working with a lyricist as talented as Paddy made me much more aware of the importance of playing around and reinforcing particular lyrics, and the message as a whole.
I love a really cool cover but I get the feeling that today, with all this digital uploading/downloading, people aren’t that concerned about artwork. How do you feel?
PB Artwork is very important and can be very beautiful. But music is primarily to be heard.
KG We have worked with a great cover designer (and fellow musician), Charlie Reader, and we’re really happy with the results. I’d say visuals are very important these days, perhaps more than ever. People in general are much more visually oriented with today’s scrolling culture so having good artwork can make a big difference. But as Paddy says, the priority is always getting the music right.
What does the future hold?
PB We’ve already begun recording our second album, and I’m busy writing songs for a third. Got to keep moving!
KG Who knows.