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Nick Mulvey may be new to you, but he’s already had one shot at the music game – and hit the target. Previously a member of instrumental Mercury nominees, Portico Quartet, he learned how to say so much, by saying nothing, way before he stood in front of the mic. His respect for the craft, and slavery to its motions, have given him strength as a solo artist who’s becoming hard to ignore. Te industry is listening Nick - again.


How’s it going Nick? I’m alright; I’m on a very rainy North London street, coming home from the launderette. It’s that glamorous.


You’re coming to Norwich as part of your tour. Is that why you’re at the launderette? Doing all your pre-tour washing? It kind of is yeah, ‘cause I’m going on holiday tomorrow and that holiday will lead me right up to the tour, so it’s now or never really.


See, there’s all the practicalities of being a musician that I don’t think people appreciate. Tey think it’s all fun and games. Yeah, it’s not all hot tubs! Although it is partially… [laughs]


To look back before we look forward, you were doing such good work with Portico Quartet – it must’ve been a wrench to leave. I know you took a long time making the decision… It was kind of happening anyway, so I had to just author it, d’you know what I mean? I was needing to return to the guitar, basically. It’s my primary instrument, and it was really calling me, as well as singing. Tey really began to tug at me quite strongly, and at the same time, and by the same token, the boys in the band were moving in a different direction. It became unavoidable really, so I put some words down. People said it was brave of me to leave the band, but it was actually already happening. It’s as though music’s in charge.


I wanted to talk to you about your relationship with your guitar actually, because I’m making a big assumption that you’ve got one best friend guitar – soft wood worn, that you can throw around as you need to. You’re absolutely right, yeah! Totally, and even my grandma bequeathed the money for me to get it. I went on a mission when I was 18 to the south of Spain to go and buy it, and it’s all very romantic. Tat’s the instrument that I’ve


always played and it’s funny because I’m deeply into guitar, but I’m not deeply into guitars. I find that the guitar is the platform that I interface for the music and the pattern and the expression, and I do love the platform, but I’m all about the pattern.


It’s invaluable if an artist knows when to let the music speak, which your Portico experience must lend itself to. Do you think you’re pretty strong in that area – knowing how to balance a song out? Yes and no; I’ve always held that as a really essential quality, and it remains


one of my highest priorities. All my favourite lyricists do that, and whenever a conveying of a message has to contradict the musicality of a line, I consider it a failed line. So for sure, I pride musicality over the message, but I’m still growing, you know. I can feel quite keenly points within the songs where I get a bit conceptual and to me, it kinda grates. Some of the songs I wrote just after Portico, there can be a bit of like, ‘check out my metaphors!’ I’m growing out of that though, you know!


Some of the songs I wrote can be a bit like, ‘check out my


metaphors!’ I’m growing out of that


though, you know!


Photograph by Eliot Lee Hazel Emma R. Garwood MORE INFORMATION


Nick Mulvey plays the Norwich Arts Centre on March 10th. For tickets, go to www.norwichartscentre.co.uk. Read the uncut version of this interview at Outlineonline.co.uk.


14 /March 2014/outlineonline.co.uk


I’ve read that your album is finished, but we’re obviously just still feeding off the single at the moment. But it’s done, it’s mastered – - Yeah, totally, we’ve got it. It was two years’ worth of recording the songs, and I learnt a lot, and it came in tandem with my growing in confidence as an artist, to actually say what I want to say. So by the end of last year, when I’d signed a record deal, and through that deal met the producer, Dan Carey, I had this awesome sense of definitiveness. What Dan Carey did, was he welcomes chance. And in him welcoming chance, I do. Chance was a really important aspect because it was a real counterweight to how much I measure everything. Which I do. I felt like I was growing as a person, with my relationships – I met someone and fell in love this summer, and a lot of things collided, so I just went in to the studio ready.


Ready. Game face on. Tat’s good! All of this says to me that you’re a man that doesn’t seek security, that you don’t mind change. Does that permeate through the rest of your life? I think it’s all about giving up control, you know. Or the myth of control, ‘cause it’s a myth anyway. When you realise that you don’t really have a choice, that things are changing anyway, you may as well get in line and change with them.


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