Blue lagoons, warehouse parties and caravan tours. Red rock mountains, South by South West (SXSW) and the Breaking Bad house. TheeMVPs are living Thee Life.
Thee MVPs are Charlie, Jack, Alex and Josefine. The band have had a busy 2016 so far. Gigging throughout the US has taken them to many places, but now they’re back home. As main support for Twin Peaks on their UK tour, Thee MVPs have touched base in Sheffield, Glasgow, Manchester and London this week.
"This one's about Star Trek and Back to the Future..."
For the past month, the band have been in America doing what most bands dream of. “We played the Caravan Tour, with 10 other really good bands. That was with Lollipop Records, who released one of our cassettes last year. We were on the road with Big White, Roaring 420s and Max Pain & The Groovies, with so many more really good bands. We played with those guys for a week doing places like Arizona, Texas and New Mexico, for SXSW.”
This is the first time the band have been out to the States together, “Its only been in the last year that we thought it was possible and that we felt confident enough as a group to go out there, playing well and winning people over”. They tell of red rock mountains, winding forest roads and natural hidden treasures. “We played at 6,000 feet altitude, which is weird, because you get out of breath very quickly when you’re playing and you get really hot and sweaty.”
With a prolific three years of touring under their belts, the band say it’s a relief to finally get into the studio, “recording used to be a formality. We were always like a “aw we should probably go record some stuff now” and I think this is the first time we are really looking forward to recording. Its the first time it doesn’t feel like a chore”.
Prior to heading out to the States, the band sounded out a couple of tracks in the studio. The majority of their live set, however, will form the backbone of what they hope will be an eclectic debut album, of their most polished work, “I think we’re ready to just take a summer off and record. We want to write 5 or 6 more songs – use a few extra numbers to thicken it.” Its uncertain when an album will appear, but its on the horizon.
Hailing from London and having played their first gigs there, Thee MVPs tell of how they inadvertently stirred up a garage scene in England’s notorious capital. “Jack [drums] stays in a living warehouse spot and we started putting gigs on there two years ago.” Stories of gas leaks, incontinent dogs and angry neighbours are what round up The Most Valuable Parties. What started as a massive piss-up gig for friends, ended up becoming Thee London underground scene for a while. Press people and media liaisons began infiltrating the MVParties, bringing in an element of commercialism the band wished wasn’t there, “this is exactly why we wanted to do those kinds of parties. Doing it yourself means its totally separate from those kinds of downers. It keeps away from the chopping block kind of thing. Plus, with the kind of music that we play, you can’t just stand around. Its not made for chin stroking.”
London, which was once the breeding ground for countless new bands, has since been deemed as too expensive, too judgemental and too commercialised. It is becoming less and less feasible for young bands to simply live and work as bands in 2016. This sort of life has been stripped from the regulars and prized to the gentry. “We are in an era, though, where we haven’t known any different. With every generation you’re going to get a group of bands that gravitate toward each other and start forming a circle. That’s how these things start. I think, largely gone are the days where you can be a band and just chill out. Unless you’re wildly successful.”
The concept of DIY spirit is something that still thrives in certain parts of America and is something Thee MVPs have launched themselves into, “it’s a sad thing that DIY kind of dissipates. House shows and warehouse shows are unfortunately a novelty in London. In the States, its just their norm. That’s how all the bands build their audiences.”
The question remains: are these kinds of shows essential to the upbringing of young bands?
Although its been important to the rise of Thee MVPs, they acknowledge “its not essential, but its never a problem. Things like this are almost a romanticism. No bouncers, no press; just having a good time. That's been important for us.”
In an age where gig venues are being shutdown for being gig venues and small bands are being stung by conglomerate music companies, it seems Thee MVPs have managed to create something quite unique in their presence. Hurdling over expensive obstacles in the past three years, means this band have inadvertently created a music scene they can be proud of.
Thee MVPs are back in the UK “medium term”. For now, you can keep an eye out for a split release with Black Mekon in July. The next Most Valuable Party may also be on the horizon. Keep your eyes and ears peeled, because Thee MVPs are onto something special.