The Mountain forces the Future, and the Force causes the Rain is out now.
There’s just so much to love about the new Mi Mye album The Mountain Forces the Future, and the Force Causes the Rain that it’s hard to know where to start. The music would be the obvious place and it is indeed a heartwarming, beguiling thing of beauty. However, I’ll let Jamie Lockhart, chief Mi Mye songwriter, tell you all about each track below. What I love almost as much as the songs are all the little details around this album. Coble Records, the label that Jamie and Emily from the band have set up to release their record, it’s got this beautifully simple logo of a coble boat bobbing on the water that really strikes a chord with me and I can’t even explain why. It just seems…comforting. Turns out Jamie wasn’t allowed in these boats when he was a young boy on the north coast of Scotland. It’s these tiny details, memories of Jamie’s that are littered through his lyrics that make everything so personal and special. The record itself in it’s handmade screen-printed sleeve, it’s perfect. I could go on, and on and on and on. Instead go get yourself this record and enjoy these wonderful insights from Jamie into every song on it.
Before the storm
There is a saying where I’m from that before the storm you can see the dancers, which is what we call the northern lights on the far north coast of Scotland. This track is totally embedded in this landscape, out walking in the hills in the dead of winter and finding a huge highland cow, but jet black and looking like a mythological beast but lame with the loss of its back legs. So we go and find our neighbour who owns the animal and tell him we are concerned about it, and he says, “ok, ok I’ll go and shoot it then” and we realised that our naivety and interference has caused this creature’s death.
I found a fanzine, a newspaper my parents and their friends hand made and photocopied back in the 80s, and in these papers were the same hopes and dreams, and political and social problems we feel today. But these were looking to the future and hoping and thinking that it’s going to get better. The day after I found the fanzine I was out in the hills working with my father and noticed that he looks to the mountains to see when it will rain. When it starts raining on the mountains we have 5 minutes to get to shelter before it rains on us. So the mountain is showing us the future.
This is that moment of thinking before giving advice. Really, it’s the same as saying ‘mmmmmm’ but it is delivered with a confidence and seems like whatever comes next is true and is what you should do.
On a beach
When I was a kid I always thought my dad was John Lennon. I thought he had faked his own death to live a happy life in the highlands of Scotland with us. There is a beach nearby where John Lennon used to play as a kid. I took Emily (my true love) to this beach and she saw oyster catchers, and she loved them, but when she would run towards them they would fly away. To stop her from being sad about this I told her that they were diving for pearls for her.
Your left side
There are quite often two or three stories in all our songs, and there is normally a main one that dominates, and in this one the dominant one is about falling and fear and people being kind. But there’s another tiny story in the song. A man is on the phone outside the worst of the mid-afternoon Leeds karaoke bars. Leeds has lots of these, they are called sing alongs. He responds to the person on the phone with, ‘no nothing, I’ve got the radio on in the background’. I love that he used this dated lie.
Hay powerfool leader
There is this wonderful Laurie Anderson song called ‘Ow Superman’ and in the track she talks about that you get love, and after love there is justice, and after justice you get force and after force you get arms (chemical arms, and then your mother’s arms) but I was thinking about what comes before love and I got stuck on hope, and before hope there is loyalty. There are these two mountains just inland from my family home, one is called Ben Loyal and one is called Ben Hope. This made me think about whether each of us has two mountains behind us when growing up, one being loyal and the other having hope.
If you draw a diamond
I always had this thought that if diamonds are so expensive and rare why don’t we just draw them. That diamond shape that children draw, like in a pack of cards, it is so easy to draw, and then everyone would have more diamonds. The other thing that confused me was that old films were black and white so I was sure that the world must have been black and white, not that the photographic medium had changed. I’m still not totally sure it wasn’t like that and that this is all a lie to confuse me. When Emily’s mum and dad met, Emily’s dad was shaking so much from nerves that Emily’s mum agreed to go out with him, I love that thought. This one is just a love song really though.
The first waltz
This song is full of clichés, totally meaningless ones but surrounding a story of a man that had watched a woman in a supermarket queue die that day. It is supposed to be about none of us really knowing what is going on with anyone else. We all say things that are meaningless to distract from the meaning. We know that we should say the meaningful stuff but we hide it in pleasantries or clichés.
I talk about this track a lot, the story is totally there in the song. Emily wanted to speak to a chipmunk at Euro Disney as a kid, but the chipmunk didn’t see her and she was heartbroken. While she was being consoled her sister poses for a photo with the chipmunk and so you can see Emily in the background crying. It’s such a sad photo. The song started though from a lot of friends all having a chat about different experiences at Euro Disney and in the midst of these stories us trying to figure out when it was. It would go like “but you were younger than me, and I’m older than you, so it would actually be a few years apart”. I liked this, as the experience is devised to be so timeless we all could only work out the time from our own experiences, and then work it forward to now and then all the way back. I was totally obsessed at the time by tense (future tense and present tense and past tense) and then moving it all around.
Now I live in Wakefield (just south of Leeds, England) I am considered to be Scottish, but when I grew up in Scotland I was considered to be the last-born son of an incomer, and I romanticised the idea of moving somewhere where I was not that and could belong. But now I’m in Wakefield I romanticise the coast and the environment that I came from. So, in my mid to late 30s I spend a lot of time thinking about being somewhere else, or dreaming of something I’ve done before, but meanwhile I’m ignoring things I could do to make this place better now. Or we are all ignoring it and deciding it’s not our time or place or problem, and all sit with our backs to it. Emily loves the end of the album because we are all just shouting our heads off. It is the only time Chad and Rob sing on the album, and they are just there shouting and supporting the story about when I got abandoned by my friends’ friends.
Mi Mye released The Mountain Forces the Future, and the Force Causes the Rain on Friday 28th September 2018. Treat yourself to it here . The t-shirt bundle is highly recommended.
Mi Mye are playing the following shows:
Oct 13 – Teesside University – Middlesbrough
Oct 14 – Glad Café – Glasgow
Dec 15 – 7a Project Space – Wakefield