1. Mustard would first like to thank you for joining Music Shelf. How are you doing?
Thanks for having me Mustard, I’m doing fine and dandy thank you!
2. Growing up you played Middlesbrough FC ‘s “Pigbag (He’s a smoggy)” through your nose with a recorder. Have you played any football club songs since then? Are you keeping up with the current games?
I did do that! Fingers are crossed currently that Middlesbrough qualify for the play offs this year. I can’t say that I’ve played any football songs through my nose since then but it’s funny that you ask that question because my next single is very very football themed. I took huge inspiration from Three Lions when writing it and there are quite a few nods to it in the song. My friends and I always watch the international matches in my dad’s pub with all the regulars and it’s one of our absolute favourite times of the year. I often think that you can get the same feeling of camaraderie at the football as you get at a gig and that’s the thing I love most. Bring on the World Cup this year!!!!
3. How has growing up in the middle of Borough Market helped influence your music? Do the locals and those you’ve grown up with your whole life request songs? Have you come across any Daleks in Borough Market?
I honestly think it’s influenced me hugely as a person in general. It’s been my whole world for my entire life and is truly somewhere I think of as home. The day after ‘DON’T HAVE THE DOPAMINE’ was released, I went into the Market Porter (a pub I grew up next to) and they had it playing on repeat. Things like that mean the world to me. We refer to ourselves as a big family and I’m so proud to be apart of it. We’ve come through a lot and I’ve written about a lot of those things in some of my unreleased stuff. I definitely want to dedicate something to Borough Market one day, but it would have to be so special, I wouldn’t want to rush it. I haven’t seen any Daleks as of yet but I will keep an eye out!
4. What is your creative process?
I feel like my creative process can be very random. I write things down in my phone all the time. Sometimes whole verses and choruses and sometimes just phrases or quotes I’ve heard. Then I’ll often sit down with my guitar and look through and see what grabs me and if it inspires a flow from there. I’ve found that I write my best songs really quickly. It just splurges out. Other times I’ll get obsessed with someone else’s song and that will spark something off in a similar style. And then there are times where I’ll open one of my favourite books and just write down random sentences from different pages and see if it stirs anything in my imagination. Then when it comes to creating the demo, I just have a huge play around until I can feel the direction I want to go. Also playing songs live with my friend Jack on guitar can influence how a song comes to fruition, from gaging how an audience responds and from what Jack offers up on guitar.
5. “DON’T HAVE THE DOPAMINE” absolutely smashes. Could you tell us more about it? For those who may not know a lot about ADHD, could you share some insight?
Thank you!!!! It feels so great to have it out there! Don’t Have The Dopamine was one of those songs that started as notes in my phone. I think the first verse came to me in the shower when my brain was just going super fast. I was diagnosed with ADHD about two years ago and had absolutely no inkling that I had it before that. Even though I display clear symptoms, women and girls are hugely under-diagnosed. It slowly started making sense of everything for me, and was a huge turning point in terms of getting to know myself fully. I went through a lot of emotions after the diagnosis. Part of me felt relieved as I could go easier on myself about the things I found hard but part of me was upset and felt misunderstood and just wanted to be like everyone else. The more I learned about it though, the more I wanted to celebrate it. I think the biggest misconception is in the name. Attention deficit doesn’t really explain it properly in my opinion. It’s more like attention EVERYTHING. There just isn’t the same regulation so you’re noticing absolutely everything at once. It also comes with lesser talked about symptoms like emotional dysregulation, sensory overwhelm and fatigue. But it also comes with things I like to think of as superpowers like hyper focus (when you’re interested in something you can give it 200%), creativity and of course the infectious energy. I have combined type, which means I have both inattentive and hyperactive symptoms. I wanted to write a song that shouted loud and proud what it felt like to me. I wanted it to feel punky and in your face and infuse a feeling of frustration at a system that doesn’t treat anyone who is ‘other’ well, with a feeling of celebration for being exactly the way you are and not apologizing for it.
6. Your song Allie was inspired by the novel “Catcher In The Rye.” Has any other literature inspired your other works?
Yes! I have always been a huge fan of coming of age novels and grew up with Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, The Outsiders and the like. I have an unreleased song called ‘Huckleberry Dreams’ that explores PTSD but with a big injection of Huckleberry Finn influence. I think I’ll always take influence from literature. Songs are another form of storytelling at their core and there is so much inspiration to be found from authors.
7. If you could have your music featured on any show, what would it be? Why?
Eeee, that is a hard question! There’s actually a show on the BBC called The Young Offenders (there’s a film as well) and I would love my music to appear on it. It’s so funny but can really pack an emotional punch too and the actors are all incredible. It’s full of character and I feel that some of my more bonkers stuff would be right at home there.
8. Mustard noticed you wear a lot of yellow. Is it your favorite color? If you could mix any two colors together and create a song about it, what colors would they be?
Yellow IS my favourite colour. It used to be blue and it felt like such a huge thing to change favourite colour. I felt like I was betraying the colour blue, but yellow was calling to me for such a long time and in the end I RAN to it. Maybe I could write a song about that and it would sound like it was about an ex or something but actually it’s just about blue and yellow.
9. What would life be like without music?
I don’t even want to imagine what that would be like! AWFUL.
10. David Bowie is a big influence of yours. What David Bowie songs would you recommend everyone listen to?
. Yes yes yes yes, this question excites me. SO, the first one I ever heard and I will always recommend is Life On Mars. It’s so emotional, dramatic and completely bizarre, I feel like it lives in a world of it’s own. I’d also recommend Rock N Roll Suicide – that one just hits me when he starts screaming ‘you’re not alone.’ It still feels so relevant today. Heroes is a must of course and then my other favourites would be Absolute Beginners, The Prettiest Star (older version) and Drive In Saturday.
11. Where have you performed? Do you have a dream venue you’d like to perform at?
I’ve been performing at some small venues around London and it’s been great fun! It’s been amazing to meet other artists at similar points of their career. The absolute DREAM is the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury. That would be insane.
12. In a past interview you’ve mentioned working on an EP. Is this something you’re still working on?
Ahh yes, I was working on an EP and I keep changing my mind on it. I feel like now, I’ve really found my sound and some of the older songs don’t quite fit alongside some of the newer ones. I think for now I will keep releasing singles until a collection comes together and feels right. Maybe it’s a case of rerecording the older songs, I’m not sure yet!
13. Where can readers find your music? Do you have a preferred way readers listen to your music?
You can find my music on any of your preferred streaming platforms! There’s no best way to do it, and if you do do it, thank you thank you thank you, you are a legend!!!!!