On 1 January 2015, Marty Felton and Benjamin Wade began recording ‘Smokescreen’ in an old photography studio and MISS was born. Later that year the band released their debut EP ‘Do You Feel Electric?’. I caught up with MISS to discuss how they formed and funny moments they have had along the way.
How are you?
Marty: Very well thank you, Allan.
How and when did your band form?
Ben: Well me and Marty met and became mates in the last year of uni. We bonded over both drunkenly jamming on an old organ and a cocktail we made out of vodka, wine, gin, beer, celery, milk and spaghetti bolognese. It wasn’t very nice. And then after uni we started recording for fun and it just grew from there, really. We wrote and recorded the EP (Do You Feel Electric?) and then needed another member to bring it together for live shows and we stumbled across Wilson.
Who plays what in the band?
Marty: I sing, play the guitar (electric, acoustic and electro-acoustic) and the pia-pia-piano.
Wilson: I play the buttery biscuit bass and do backing vocals too.
Ben: Man bangs dem drums.
Who in the band writes the music?
Marty: Well with the EP it was mostly a case of an idea coming out of a jam, then I’d go away and mould it into a song, bring it back to Ben and then we’d put the finishing touches on together.
Who is the main producer or is it a joint effort?
Marty: Ben does most of the production. He does all the engineering and then when everything’s recorded he’ll do a mix that’s pretty much 100%. Then we tend to just chat through a couple of minor things and then c’est finit. His production style really compliments my writing style and it’s a huge part of what makes one of our songs sound like MISS.
What record really sparks your imagination and inspires you to create music?
Wilson: The White Album by The Beatles has gotta be up there. It’s a really interesting album in terms of songwriting and production, but there’s also things like the artwork which is so simplistic and a really interesting choice when you consider the cover of their previous album, Sgt. Peppers.
Ben: Kind Of Blue by Miles Davis never gets old for me.
Marty: There’s a live album by Keith Jarrett called the Köln concert. It’s so rich in melody and rhythm and has got such a vibe to it. The concert’s got a really cool backstory as well, they basically fucked up and had the wrong piano onstage which wasn’t in very good nick. It’s bass sounds were duff and the high notes sounded really tinny but good ole Keith adjusted his playing and made the best of a bad situation. Incredible musicianship.
What has been the general reception from your followers?
Wilson: Really, really good. We’ve only done a few gigs but have already had fans travel from pretty far away to come to our shows which is a really good feeling.
Ben: Yeah, and the EP got great reviews as well. It means a lot when fans or reviewers latch on to more subtle elements of the music.
Can you breakdown the themes behind your recent EP?
Ben: I guess unexpected song structures and production styles were one of the aims for it.
Marty: Yeah, I like the idea of a song going in a direction that throws you off, but then when you listen to it the second time it feels like it couldn’t have gone any other way. And then lyrically the EP’s sort of in two halves thematically. Tracks 1 and 2 (Smokescreen and Phantom Pain) are about… What are they about? They’re about the sort of pursuit stage of things. Smokescreen’s basically a chat-up line. And then tracks 3 and 4 (Shelter and Ant vs Elephant) get a bit darker and they depict the tail-ends of a couple of pretty dysfunctional relationships.
Do you believe that streaming does any justice in bolstering your career as an unsigned artist?
Wilson: Yeah, undoubtedly it increases your reach. Across Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Youtube, etc. we’ve had a pretty high number of plays considering we only started gigging a month ago and haven’t been together long. On Soundcloud you can see where your listeners are and we get quite a lot of South Americans listening to Smokescreen like 10 times a day.
Marty: We’re huge in Colombia.
What have been your best and worst moments in the music scene?
Ben: We haven’t had any bad ones yet… touch wood. And in terms of best moments, just any of our gigs. We really love playing live and apparently that translates.
Tell us your funniest experience while working on music.
Wilson: We actually work pretty hard when we are working on stuff. Before and after we dick about constantly but most of the anecdotes aren’t very appropriate.
Marty: En-route to rehearsal a couple of weeks back I unwittingly got my guitar stuck in a 7-foot hat rack which then collapsed on a passer-by’s head. She took it pretty well but it made a good old thud. I gave her my bandana as an apology.
Finally, do you have any gigs coming up that we should know about?
Marty: Yup yup. We’re playing Birthdays in Dalston tonight (Saturday 30th April) at 8pm! Then we’re playing Notting Hill Arts Club at 9:30pm on the 11th May. We have an unlimited free entry guest list for the Notting Hill show so if you just ping us an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) we can put people down for that. And then on 15th May we’re playing at 2pm in Brighton at The Prince Albert for some showcase thing. We’re just signing a couple of contracts then we’ll be announcing some more dates for late May/June/July!
Stream the Do You Feel Electric ? EP