Mi Mye release ‘Methadone Church // He Believes in Me’ through Hide & Seek Records / Philophobia Records on 28th April
Mi Mye’s 2016 album The Sympathy Sigh made Overblown’s albums of the year list so it’s a huge pleasure to bring you the video premiere for ‘Methdone Church’, the latest track to be lifted from the record. The music of Mi Mye is endearingly sincere, heartbreakingly sad, surprisingly comforting and always life affirming. You’ll get the chance to see for yourself as the band get out on the road for several UK dates ahead of some summer festival performances. The single is backed with a new version of ‘He Believes in Me’ with vocal duties taken care of by James Smith from Post War Glamour Girls. We caught up with Jamie Lockhart, songwriter-in-chief with Mi Mye to ask for his thoughts on the new video and other related bits and pieces:
O: The video’s tone feels remarkably similar to that of the song. It looks simple but there’s a lot going on, it’s like we’re looking at 4 versions of a very similar story but each has a very different ending. I ended up feeling more sorry than I probably should for what is essentially a comic looking cardboard figure who gets left at a bus stop. However, there are happier endings too which isn’t necessarily what I’d expect from the song. What does it all mean to you?
Jamie: The video was made with a great friend of ours, Rob Taylor. We chatted a lot about making a video for Methadone Church. As the song is so simple with just a few little ideas we wanted the video to be the same. We decided on four one-shot films of a simple action – Morgan and a papier mache version of himself are heading to our studio, and in each he meets Emily and they have an interaction. These exchanges have subtitles but just with “mi mye” and “hi hye”. I am dyslexic and Mi Mye plays with misspelling a lot. I don’t usually read subtitles in films, I just try to figure out what’s happening. There being four different meetings reflects the fact that when you interact with a stranger you don’t know what has happened with them before or after this point.
The song itself is about when I saw a woman with twin girls and blood on her face, but I had no way just from seeing that of knowing what was going on. But just in viewing the scene things changed, for me and for her and maybe she has written a song about seeing two boys at a bus stop, one of them chatting and the other not paying attention to his friend.
In the video there are four endings, one just goes the way he wants and the two Morgans end up at the studio in time to play along with the song. In another, Morgan is a little late and the door is locked. In another, he feels silly about having a second version of himself and leaves it behind. And in the last he gets a friend.
In the song we always wanted to avoid any judgement so in the video we wanted to give you a little of each emotion and you can choose which one you want at the end.
O: You’ve previously explained that when writing ‘Methadone Church’ you weren’t trying to judge or comment, you were simply writing about what was there. What was it about seeing the mother with the bloody nose that moved you to write this song? Is observational writing something you explore often?
Jamie: In each song you write and release there is something you are proud of, and for this song it’s that it doesn’t judge or comment. The first verse and the chorus were written quickly, as soon as it happened, it was just such a strong image. But the second verse was tricky.
We didn’t want to write a neat ending because I don’t know what happened. So we wrote with just a little extra detail about the holding of hands, and we thought about what you can end up being part of – religion, relationships, being in love, domestic abuse, addiction, being in a band, being a mother. Only some of these things I’ll ever know about but also everyone’s reasons and circumstances are different so I just wanted to acknowledge that. This is definitely a way of writing that I would like to continue.
O: You were kind enough to do a track-by-track guide for Overblown when Sympathy Sigh was released. In that you explained that there was a very close connection between ‘Methadone Church’ and ‘He Believes in Me’. Can you tell us a bit more about the relationship between the songs? Is it an obvious choice for you to fit both of these songs together as a single?
Jamie: Yeah it always felt that these two songs where brother and sister to each other. When we were writing the album I went to the christening of a friend’s baby. It was the very first church service I had ever been to. Just before the end of the service Emily turned to me and said, “oh god you don’t know about the next part” and then everyone got up and walked around and held your hands and said “may peace be with you”. I was horrified. I have a strange thing with my hands, I get deep cracks in them, I bite my knuckles when I’m nervous and they are a mess. So I was horrified that people were grabbing my hands and also that they had already decided to wish me peace, no matter who I was. The second part of He Believes in Me and Methadone Church share the same lyrics, using the idea of the pre-decided warmth and the worth of both drugs and religion.
O: This version of ‘He Believes in Me’ differs from the track on the album by having James Smith from Post War Glamour Girls on vocals rather than Emily. How did that come about and do you think this changes the way the song comes across or the meaning behind it?
Jamie: The James Smith version happened first. We work a lot with James and his band Post War Glamour Girls, I record their tracks and Morgan and Rob from Mi Mye sometimes play live with Post War. I have always liked that songs have a meaning when you write them but also have an extra meaning added at the time of recording them, and by the person singing. I sang the demo, it was just about me meeting a man in town who was shouting about religion. I wanted to try it with James singing, as some of the records I love have more than one person singing lead vocals depending on the song. James brought a whole new meaning to it. I don’t know what it is, that’s down to him, but it definitely happened.
Then we started thinking about playing it live, before the record came out, and we decided that it still shouldn’t be me singing it, so we all swapped instruments and tried it with Emily singing. We realised that this version had to exist too, so we recorded Emily’s vocal and the song has a whole new meaning again. We wanted both to be released and thought it would be great to have the James version out as part of this single and Emily’s version as part of the album.
O: Having seen Mi Mye play live recently it felt to me like these songs have really grown since the record came out, the band find a way to squeeze every drop of emotion and sentiment out of each song. How much do you look forward to get out on the new dates and play it to people and what should people expect from a Mi Mye show?
Jamie: Thanks so much. We have got really into playing this record live. It was a record that we made before we played any of it at all, including at practices, because we went into the studio with just rough demos of new songs and finished the album all at once. It was great as we took no baggage into the studio about the songs, and just made a record we are so proud of. Since then we have grown into the songs like a bike you get as a kid that’s a little too big for you and at first you are unstable but after a while you feel you can go anywhere and even do some jumps and ride without hands. These songs really feel like ours now and they are bigger and harder than the songs we used to play.
I’m really looking forward to playing in cities we have not played in before and also heading back to old friends’ venues and playing the songs. I hope that people find the Mi Mye show has subtle parts and moving songs, with a band that are truly happy to be there with you.
Mi Mye have the following shows coming up over the next few months: