Described as a "cinematic doom-folk band", Auckland collective Mice on Stilts have released their debut single, 'Binocular Bath'. To find out just exactly what that means and how they came about such a sound, we put a few questions to Ben Morley, the man behind the project.
How long has the band been going for?
I started writing songs myself under the name Mice on Stilts about 2 years ago. I was escaping many things at the time- one of them being a metal band that didn't work out, a relationship that didn't work out and finally a home not working out. Being unemployed at the time, I had a lot of time on my hands. I wrote a handful of songs (that were about as quality as those I wrote when I was 12) that pretty much just wrote themselves. Since then Mice has turned into a 6 piece live band. Everyone is as invested the next, it's become a second family.
How would you describe the sound?
We just call it doom folk (even though there is a million times more doom than folk, haha). Although some of our friends have said melancholic/moody, and my personal fav - "Psychedelic Space Pirates".
What was the process for recording the album?
We have been really blessed in that we have some incredibly talented friends that like us. One of them being Tim Burrows (who now plays bass in Mice). Tim is a producer based on the North Shore of Auckland. He tracked and mixed our EP 'An Ocean Held Me'. We had a lot of freedom to try anything we wanted and not bound to a small amount of time in a studio. It took about 6 months and a lot of refining. There was a series of mixes that we would listen to and keep pushing what we were doing further. One thing we found is that viola and saxophone/trumpet hate each other. They are two instruments that generally don't work well together. Of course, I didn't realize that when I was putting the band together. Making those two work was a real challenge. Since we have recorded we have become a much stronger live band too.
What do you hope to do with the band in the future?
Im really interested in the place where music meets film. Id love to write a really big cinematic soundtrack for a local Kiwi film. Fingers crossed we meet the right people one day! We are going to keep playing shows, ideally record again mid next year and ultimately continue to figure out what the heck we are doing.... we still have no idea haha.