The Mocking Jays

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Every Monday we will be bringing you interviews with unsigned UK or Ireland artists for Independent Music Monday. Recently we caught up with unsigned Nottingham band The Mocking Jays to find out more…

Who is in the band, how did you meet, where are you from and how did you come up with the band name?
Jay Smith (Lead Vocal)
Alex Hather (Bass & Vocal)
Lewis Hammond (Guitar)
George Ramplin (Guitar & Vocal)
Sam Dorrington (Drums)

We’re all from Nottingham and surrounding areas. We’ve never lived in the city itself, but it’s where it all began for us, so it feels like home. We used to go by a few names before we settled, ‘The Zoot’ and then ‘The Fake Tales’... Nothing seemed solid though, then that movie came out named ‘The Mockingjay’ and with our singer being named ‘Jay’ it just seemed to fit so well, we were recording at the time and needed a name to release our first single under, it just stuck! ‘The Mocking Jays’.

Who were your musical influences when you were growing up and who are your influences now?
It took a while for us to find our sound... At first we took a lot of influence from The 1975, Arctic Monkeys and Kasabian. Over the years all our music tastes have vastly broadened, but we still take huge influence from bands like The 1975, Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Don Broco. Though we are constantly conjuring ideas and inspiration out of new music we hear.

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How would you describe your sound?
We ended up settling in a quirky pop sound but with elements of rock and funk too. We like to keep people guessing a bit with our music and try not to get pigeon holed too tightly into one genre. I think we never say never in regard to trying out new styles from a spectrum of genres but we always keep the big pop-esque chorus’ and exciting breakdowns where we can. That’s how you recognise our sound, we feel.

What is your latest release called and what was the influence behind it?
Our latest release is a single called ‘Close To You’. It’s the first glance at the sound of our first studio EP ‘The Love Era’ set to be released on all major streaming platforms on 09.03.19. The song itself has Latino vibes, with funky guitar licks, bass walkdowns and a very promiscuous vocals. The song itself is about physical love, the euphoria of sharing that with somebody and the hot headed emotions you feel in those moments. We think the sound of the song is just best described as ‘Sexy. Funky. Dirty. Pop.’ It’s got influences from the likes of Michael Jackson, The 1975 and Arctic Monkeys album ‘AM’.

What’s your local music scene like?
We truly feel Nottingham has one of the best music scenes in the country. Everybody is always on it with getting out and seeing new music, festivals like Beat The Streets, Splendour, Macmillan Fest and Dot to Dot make it incredible and not to mention the insane venues like Rock City, Rescue Rooms, Bodega... it’s just always a great vibe and the support we’ve had has been second to none!

What do you have planned for the next 12 months? Any albums or festivals?
We plan to release new music on March the 9th, our first studio EP ‘The Love Era’ which will feature 4 songs with single ‘Close To You’ leading the EP. After that we plan to release a couple more singles moving toward summer, festival season is shaping up to be absolutely top, we’ve bagged a few main stage slots at various festivals in the UK and can’t wait to feel the sunshine again. Back end of 2019 we plan on touring all our current material and hopefully get to some more cities in the UK, a few European dates are on the cards also. After the tour we will probably have a sabbatical to fall back on writing new material and getting back into the studio... we’re leaning towards creating our first studio album for a 2020 release... But we shall hold that thought for now.

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Is there anyone you’d love to collaborate with?
Our singer Jay has done some collaboration work with Ed Binding, lead singer of another local Nottingham band called ‘Distant Blue’ but have yet to officially launch any of their work. Back end of 2019 we will likely be heading into the studio and may collaborate with some new producers to really push the boundaries of what we can achieve with a fresh and developed sound, should we do an album.

Any funny stories surrounding your live performances?
Our singer Jay is prone to injury, performing more than one gig with a broken arm... We welcome you to come check out our bass player Alex on stage... we’re convinced he was made in a lab, a mass of hair made sentient by the liquidised funk of Parliament.

What is the one thing that you want readers to know about your band?
We love being in the studio and recording our records. But nothing is as important to us as our live performance. We welcome all to come down to a show and come be a part of something greater than everyday life. We want our shows to be an experience and take you away from everyday worries. Music is about feeling and we intend our audience to feel every quake from our amps, every beat from our kit and connect with every movement we set in motion on the stages.

You can find out more about The Mocking Jays at their website or via Facebook, Instagram, iTunes, Spotify, Twitter or YouTube.