“Gaffer tape on the jeans is very Matt-Mower…” sighs Matt James, the drummer from Gene and Mower’s paternal manager. Mower look like they’ve been pulled through a hedge backwards and taped what was left of their clothes back to their bodies before arriving at the interview and it seems they feel that way too. I’m greeted by three bed-heads with half closed eyes proffering hands eagerly and politely telling me that in the last few weeks they haven’t had a day off the booze and it’s beginning to catch up. Matt Motte (vocals and guitar), Jon Barratt (drums) and Nash (bass) have been together about eighteen months in their current guise, signed to Graham Coxon’s label Transcopic. Mower’s former incarnation didn’t last however, and I asked what happened.

Matt: I sacked them basically. There wasn’t a friendship there really and that was the problem, so these guys joined and we’re all fucking good friends!

The band banter and bicker like siblings but, with such a wide-eyed good natured view on the world, they make you feel as if you’ve been part of the gang for years. They’re eccentric, enthusiastic and very, very funny. Despite not having been together from the start, both Jon and Nash joined after auditions held by Matt, they’re adept at finishing each other’s sentences and silently comfortable together in the way only good friends can be. In true Mower style of course, it wasn’t always that way…

Matt: Jon came to the audition pretty stoned, kicked over an amp and came across quite aggressive, I was thinking: hmm I’m not too sure about him. Then about a week later I had this dream that he was the drummer in Mower. It was really freaky but I gave him a call and asked him to join.

Matt, responsible for the song writing, has a habit of using one hundred words in an interview where ten will do and painting an unnecessarily detailed picture of whatever he’s trying to say, but it’s quirkily charming and very Matt-Mower. Nash pipes up with details and Jon is very quiet. I suspect because he’s over indulged one too many nights in a row. He nods painfully and looks deep. I assume I’m right. So whilst I note that eccentricity is "very Mower" and I’ve heard the band say they’re beginning to sound ‘more Mower’ having previously been accused of trying to sound like The Pixies or Nirvana I wonder what the hell it all means.

Matt: The songs on our first album, Mower' do sound like we’re trying to be other bands but I do think, with our new album 'People are Cruel', we’ve developed our own sound now. I think if people said we sounded like the Dire Straits I’d be worried but I think comparisons with other bands are going to be inevitable.

Nash: If people are going to say we sound like Nirvana or the Pixies, I’ve got no problem with that at all!”

Despite thinking that everyone hates them and that their early gigs were "atrocious" (Matt has video evidence of the gig that got them signed that he’s threatening to burn) they’ve gained quite a following on their recent tour.

Nash: People are coming to our gigs and returning in the same tour which is great. We’ve won a few people over I think and they’re buying our T shirts so can’t complain”

But when I ask if they want to become stratospherically huge, they reveal their charmingly modest ambitions.

Nash: We just wanna play the forum!

Matt: It would be nice to be more comfortable money-wise from doing the band and play the Kentish Town Forum, I love that venue. As long as we can play gigs and record then we’re happy.

All three members have known they wanted to be in a band from a very young age. Matt recounts, in minute rambling detail, the experience that cemented his desire to become a musician.

I was with my mates at school and we went on stage and did 'Foxy Lady' and I made up new lyrics. I can’t remember what they are. They were really cheesy and I did this gig and it was atrocious but I fucking went for it and they loved it and that day, that very minute I knew I wanted to do music and be in a band.

You’ve got to love them. Matt then recounts the tale of how he was in a music shop and met a rather freakishly on-the-edge Adam Ant about two hours before he walked into a pub with a shotgun. Stuff like this is priceless and sets the band apart from most of the musicians you meet. They’re down to earth, hilarious and great to have a pint with and, you suspect, this enthusiasm for life translates completely into their music. Shortly, Matt recounts a libellous story from their former roadie which could cost millions in legal action if printed before telling me how his dad and Nash’s mum lead each other astray at Mower concerts.

Matt: Do you think my dad fancies your mum ?

Nash: Oh shut up Matt!

Jon: We should leave this one alone.

We could have a biological experiment, a superbeast (Arms flailing wildly). We could create the fourth Mower. It could play guitar and bass and drums and do backing vocals.

Nash looks at me knowingly, “I told you it was a bad idea to give him beer.”

So when I finally ask Matt to sum up concisely what he wants the world to know about Mower he tells me: “We’re a bunch of weirdos but we’re nice weirdos, you might like us.” And he’s not wrong.

The photograhs that accomnany this article were taken exlusively for Pennyblackmusic by Matthew Williams










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