Having recently returned from an 8 year hiatus with new EP ‘It’s Not My Ball’ Kris from PlanetMosh caught up with punk-pop rockers Mr Happy Chainsaw. Having just arranged their own successful EP launch show, I caught up with them to find out how it went and to discuss the unsigned scene.
1 – How would you best describe the sound of Mr Happy Chainsaw?
I know a lot of bands play the whole “we have a unique sound” card so instead we like to describe ourselves as a cocktail. If Mr Happy Chainsaw were a cocktail you’d have to take a pinch of Blink 182, Green Day and Alkaline Trio, add a splash of Foo Fighters, a hint of Barry Manilow and Elton John and top it all off with a generous serving of Essex and a whole lot of fun and then you’d have a Mr Happy Chainsaw.
2 – You guys have one of my favourite and most memorable band names that I have heard, what is it’s origin?
I wish it had a better origin story, like reading Mr Men books while gardening or something but it’s a little more boring than that. We had our first proper gig booked and we were being pressed for a name. At the time we were listening to Alkaline Trio’s “From Here to Infirmary” album alot,for better or worse we decided to stick the word Happy in the middle of their song title Mr Chainsaw.
3 – You guys recently released your new EP ‘It’s Not My Ball’ can you tell us about it?
In our opinion it’s the best work we’ve ever done. For us it was great to finally record some tracks that had been stuck in our heads for over 8 years. Just before we broke up in 2009 we had unfinished versions of “Standing There” and “Out of Time”, so to be finally able to finish those and record them was amazing. Plus being able to use some of our experiences from the last 8 years to write new material was almost like therapy. If you compare this EP to our older material it feels more complete and involved. We have vocal harmonies and everything now like proper bands do.
4 – How was the recording process at Essex Recording Studios?
Amazing. I can’t recommend these guys enough. We went in there with a clear picture of what we thought we wanted and not only did James push us to make sure we got there, he pushed us even more. During recording, every song evolved, improved and we left there absolutely chuffed with the end result. We virtually had to relearn the songs again.
5 -You guys did a big, brave (and stressful!) move hosting your own EP launch show. Being a part of it I can say it was a raging success. How did you guys feel it all went?
We were thrilled, shattered but thrilled. It was stressful but it was worth it. It was great being able to play in our hometown again and to finally be able to let people hear our new EP. To top it all off, to be able to share the day with 5 other acts who we on a personal and professional level respect and the reception we got from the crowd was brilliant.
6 – You guys have just made your return to the music scene after 8 years, what are the biggest changes you are finding?
Social Media is so big now, Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud, Instagram etc weren’t things when we around first time. The whole streaming game is different as well, no-one seems so worried about physical media anymore, it’s all Spotify this and iTunes that. We were Myspace kids, so that’s been a steep learning curve.
7 – Being a local band and trying to grow is becoming more of a challenge, with venues closing and so many other obstacles in the way. What do you guys find the biggest challenge at the moment? Any advice for other local bands facing the same struggles?
To be honest, that’s been one of the biggest challenge since reforming. The sheer amount of venues that no longer exist. The lack of variety if you will. There used to be 3 venues in Witham for instance that used to have regular gigs, then further afield iconic venues like The Twist are no more. This makes it difficult to gain a local fanbase. You end up playing the good local venues like The Asylum too much, which actually over-saturates people’s interest. You almost want to play a different local venue every month on a 6 month cycle. So by the time you return to the first one you have new material and/or you have been missed. Which is another reason why it was great being able to put on our own gig in Witham.
The best thing we can suggest is find like minded bands whether that’s passion wise or musical style and try to organise your own local shows. It could be at established venues but preferably approach new ones. If you and a few bands of a similar style play together, you’ll not only enjoy the gig better as your music will be appreciated by like minded fans, but you’ll also build your local fan base. Then once you have that local foundation organise gig swaps with other bands from other towns, cities, counties etc. Sounds easy in principle but if it were that easy everyone would be famous.
8 – What are you guys plans for the future?
We just want to enjoy ourselves and do as much as we can musically going forward. Not to sound flippant but basically gig, write, gig, gig, record, gig a bit more and then repeat.
9 -Upcoming tour dates?
Sat 15th July – Eight Ash Green Festival 2017, Colchester, Essex
Fri 21st July – Cameo, Romford, East London
Sat 22nd July – Smile Festival 2017, Sudbury, Suffolk (3pm)
Sat 22nd July – Beer Fest at the Manor, Pitsea, Essex (8pm)
Fri 28th July – Chinnerys, Southend on Sea, Essex
Sat 26th Aug – Essex Air Ambulance Fest, Canewdon, Essex
Sun 27th Aug – AlternatIV Fest, Chelmsford, Essex
Thu 31st Aug – The Asylum, Chelmsford, Essex
Official Website: https://www.mrhappychainsaw.com