Interview: Mount Forel

London-based four-piece Mount Forel explore the politics of place and privilege in their new single, Witney.

Named after David Cameron’s former constituency, Witney is a raw indie banger – complete with bittersweet guitar hooks and an anthemic chorus. The accompanying music video shows the band performing a gig to a blindfolded audience – one of the many tricks up their sleeve for an innovative live show.

I caught up with the band to find out more about the writing of Witney, breaking all of their studio equipment and how their different backgrounds have helped form their sound…

1) Hey guys! Can you introduce Mount Forel to our readers?

Hi there. We’re a four-piece in London who have called seven other places home: Osaka, Colorado, Dunedin NZ, Northern Ireland, Tokyo, Manchester and the Wirral. We play loud music at shows where the audience is blindfolded or get to paint or get tattoos. Or sometimes they just sit back and jive. 

2) What’s the story behind your awesome new single, Witney?

Witney is a small town in Oxfordshire where we recorded our album. It’s also the most Conservative place I’ve ever been. David Cameron is from there and it’s the perfect little town for the people like him; where he and his friends can live in their millionaire bubble. 

We got together one evening and listed a bunch of the many things going sour right now (inequality, climate shift, false is the new normal, air quality…) and wrote a song about a town where none of these things exist. Our own little ‘Witney’, if you will.  

3) What was your favourite part of the recording process?

For one of the tracks on the album, we carted four floor toms out to the courtyard and thumped out the percussion section. That, and the birds singing along. All of the equipment broke in the studio when we were up there, so it was also fun watching Jake (who recorded and mixed the album) being creative with what was left. 

4) If you could tour with any band in the world, who would it be and why?

Grizzly Bear – they are beautiful, energetic, and surprising and we can all agree to like them. We all listen to very different music.

Saying that, anyone really. Touring sounds fun right now – hit us up. 

5) As a band, each of you come from different parts of the globe. Do you think that has an influence on your sound?

I imagine so. We’ve all played in the scenes back where we’re from, so the jangle of the Dunedin Sound, Americana from the Western US, Noise Rock in the Japanese metropolises, and straight-up UK rock from up north will all have played their part. 

6) What’s coming up next for you guys? Any live shows we should watch out for?

We’ve got a show at Set in Dalston on the 28th of November, one up at the Finsbury early next year, and our full album should be out in February. Expect a UK tour to follow that – perhaps we’ll break out the interactive painting for those shows.

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