Music interview: Magic Mountain

Magic Mountain
Magic Mountain
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Keen followers of the Leeds music scene may already be familiar with the members of Magic Mountain from their time in other bands.

Guitarist and singer Lins Wilson has played with Grammatics, Mother Vulpine and Lone Wolf, while bass player Tom Hudson is in Pulled Apart By Horses and Nestor Matthews has played drums in Sky Larkin and Menace Beach.

The trio began their garage rock outfit two years ago but started taking things seriously at the end of last year. “It’s been about a year or so since we sort of pulled it together and began writing a bit more regularly,” says Wilson.

“Both Tom and Nestor had albums out at the start of this year, with Pulled Apart By Horses and Menace Beach, so I was waiting in the wings a little bit until the summer and we’ve gone ‘Right, let’s go’.”

Their collaboration seems in keeping with the spirit of the Leeds music scene. “It’s something that’s quite natural,” agrees Wilson. “A lot of people are doing it. Especially as musicians and artists, everybody wants to be doing stuff and to have these creative outlets. I think all of us want to do more than one thing. We all like different kinds of music and want different outlets.

“I’ve played in lots of different bands, in lots of different styles, all sort of around the rock music genre, but I think it’s just for enjoyment’s sake to create lots of different things and play with other people. Different things come out of playing with different musicians, different dynamics, different styles and influences.

“I think with the three of us it’s something that we’ve talked about or chipped away at for quite a while. We all like a similar sort of music that’s quite heavy but quite fun, it doesn’t take itself too seriously.”

Wilson played cello in Grammatics – “That was one of the hardest pieces of music I’ve had to play but it was a lot of fun,” she remembers – and latterly with Leeds singer songwriter Sam Airey. “I still play with him every now and again. His album launch was this year and he took some of the strings players with him which was brilliant, a totally different experience to playing guitar in a band. I’m not coming at things from a classical perspective, I sit somewhere in between rock and the experimental classical world. It’s good to have both viewpoints and angles and experiences. I might even look to record a bit of cello if we make a Magic Mountain album.”

In the meantime there’s Zodiac, their debut release, which forms one half of a new split single from the Leeds label Come Play With Me. The other side features Bradford’s Jon Jones & The Beatnik Movement.

CPWM’s Ton Ereira approached the band after hearing early demos. “He put his good faith in us,” says Wilson. “It’s been really good working with him.”

Wilson describes the song as “short and sweet, a kick in the stomach, really loud and punchy and fast”.

“At the time when we were thinking about what to put out as our first release we had about eight tracks to pick from and we thought this one was a bit of an all-rounder. Because it’s so short and fast it hits you and you’re left a bit vexed, but it definitely has the vibes of the whole band, that energy and a little bit psychedelic and a heavy rock-out.

“It doesn’t take itself too seriously. The lyrics are about space and time. I think me and Tom had been watching Interstellar at the time and we were a little influenced by those sort of ideas.”

To date the band have supported Meatbodies and TRAAMS. “It’s kind of strange to be putting out music and to have only played a couple of gigs,” Wilson reflects, “but the plan is to be a bit more choosy and do what we want to do, play some shows that we think are fun or some decent support stuff. That garage rock scene is something that we’re massively into.”

There’s a “loose” plan to record an album next year. “We’re chipping away with all the many other things that we have on our plates, but we’re keeping on writing,” says Wilson. “We’ve almost got an album’s worth of material. We definitely want to play a few more gigs because that helps with the development of those songs and how we want to record them as well.”

Zodiac is out on October 13. Magic Mountain play at Headrow House, Leeds on October 9.