There is something in the West Yorkshire air as local artists who have migrated there seem to be producing albums that reflect not only where they are but where they came from.
First singer/songwriter Sam Airy was at it on his debut album In Darkened Rooms where he thinks about growing up on on the isle of Anglesey off the north Wales coast and how he has developed musically since moving to Leeds.
Now Mi Mye’s mains songwriter and local producer Jamie Lockhart is following a similar path on his band’s latest album The Sympathy Sigh album melding his upbringing in a remote village on the north coast of Scotland with his time living in Wakefield.
“For me this year I’ve now spent the same amount of time living in Wakefield as I spent living in Scotland growing up,” reflects Jamie Lockhart. “So it was an interesting time to think about different things that had happened at different times, and in the last couple of years I’ve been going back to the north coast more and more spending a lot of time there.
“Being in this huge space in the countryside, seeing the sea and sky was a really interesting thing, and then having such an amazing amount of music, culture and events happening when you live in the city as well. I think that was two differing facts was that you had a lot of time and space to think then the other one where there is lots of stuff that felt really exciting.”
Lockhart has used the long train journeys between Wakefield and Scotland to think about his songwriting. Mi Mye’s smart single Methadone Church is one of those songs that can help redefine a band’s career, and the inspiration came from a bizarre incident in West Leeds.
“That was one of those songs that came straight away, and I know people scoff at that idea, and I do that as well but it happened. We were just leaving our rehearsal studio in Armley, and I was chatting away at the bus stop to Chas, who plays guitar for us, and this woman walks past with identical twins with blood all over her face.
“Chas didn’t notice it, and it made me really think. I immediately assumed it must have been through some form of violence or abuse. When I was in the studio the next day I was talking to Lee, who is one of our producers, and he said you can’t think it is one thing. It could be lots of things like some drugs you take make your nose bleed so it could be totally self-induced, or it could be anything.
“It’s a very weird song as I tried to not make it not judging as it is very easy for us to judge and to come from the countryside to live in the city to think of the city as more scary or rough when in many ways it isn’t really.”
Lockhart is huge fan of Sparklehorse who feature guest vocalists on their albums to play with the texture and feel of their records. He wanted to something similar with the flipside of Methadone Church so was on the lookout for someone to sing on He Believes In Me.
He didn’t have to look far as he was co-producing the third Post War Glamour Girls album and their singer James Smith seemed the obvious candidate to step into the vocal booth.
“James is such an interesting character and very, very, very different from anything we do” says Lockhart. “I Love Post War Glamour Girls who I think are one of the best bands ever. Any way you can associate yourself with a band as great as that is nice to do. James has a unique sounding voice , and in all of the songs he does he brings a whole new character to that song.
“There is another version by Emily – who is in the band – and she brings another complete character to it so the idea is that is a very simple idea of a song and whoever sings it can almost make the song about anything as of a lot of our songs are very, very specifically about one thing. We liked the idea that not changing the words just changing the delivery and who sings it can change the song so much.”
Mi Mye are just finishing up some live dates but Jamie Lockhart says there is already an album worth of songs ready to go so the new album could be dropping before you know it.
https://mimye.bandcamp.com / https://www.hideandseekrecords.com