Listening Carefully To The Wicked Whispers… An Interview With Mike Murphy.
The Wicked Whispers are part of a thriving scene in Liverpool, although their music style is noticeably different from a lot of other bands currently making waves in various venues in the city, they have built up a very healthy following and have had the pleasure of being support to some great bands in the last year.
The lead vocalist Mike Murphy is an extremely busy man, juggling his love of writing and performing music with the realities of running an established distributing record label, ‘Electone’ alongside. Mike Murphy, one of the most amiable musicians in Liverpool was able to catch up and chat for a while about what the future holds for the band and the brilliant single Dandelion Eyes.
You released the new single Dandelion Eyes a few weeks ago, how’s it going?
“It’s going well, its half way sold out before it’s been released so the response has been really good. We’ve had a lot of positive feedback from it and yeah, I think people are seeing another side of the band. I think people expected more us to be like what we had on our E.P. last year so this is our chance to show our more ‘poppy’ side on this. So I think we’ve surprised people with this but it keeps it interesting as well. We’re very pleased with how it’s all going so far and of course, we’ve got the live dates to do.”
The image on the front of the single, a woman with dandelion hair, is incredibly eye-catching!
“I’m not sure whether it’s Brigit Bardot, I think the idea for the cover was that it didn’t need to be too complicated but we wanted it to be quite striking visually. Not too many colours – black, white and a bit of yellow on there; that was kind of what we wanted. Like with everything we do, we like the cover to be really important. A lot of thought goes into it, as well as the music, rather than just putting any old thing on it. I think there’s a lot of symbolism there as well. The yellow over the eyes, it’s just basically someone who can see something other people cannot see or are yet to see. It’s kind of a different perspective; it’s linking the song to the cover. We have Mike Snowden to thank!”
Any updates or news for your fans of work on a future album?
“We are planning to do an album next year. We haven’t even decided whether the single will be on the album! We are going to have to see how the album develops to see how it fits track by track. So as a body of work, it might not, it depends how it develops as we record we’ll probably record it somewhere different from where we did Dandelion Eyes so we will have to see if it fits. We’re obviously taking it one step at a time; the plan is to do the album and then gig. We’ll just have to see if it fits in. It’s nothing pre-meditated; it’s literally seeing how the music develops, where we are at that point.”
As you know on the radio show I ask musicians who come on what they views on a subject dear to my heart, so what are your views on the state of Liverpool music?
“It’s become a very diverse place musically. I think when there has been a surge of success; it was when there have been groups or collectives of people helping each other out. I think the thing with Liverpool at the moment is that it’s very diverse and competitive; it’s fractured all over the place with different kinds of music. The music business is completely different also, artists work much harder, in a pop sense; it is a very different climate. It may be a co-incidence but when you look back at when Liverpool was successful; there always seems to be a little syndicate of bands as friends and you get some bands bigger than others but it’s always worked, that’s my understanding. It just makes it harder when you have your own trademark.”
You had a very successful time this last year with the live shows, some very cool gigs!
“We did two shows with Echo and the Bunnymen, we only got told a few days before as well. We got the gigs through Ian McCulloch and Will Sergent who liked us so that’s how we got the gigs. We also did gigs with the Lightning Seeds. When we do our own shows, we don’t get to do everything we want but that was a good gig to do and the Bunnymen gigs as well. If anyone out there wasn’t too sure or hadn’t seen us yet, they were definitely won over – hopefully!”
What are the next plans for The Wicked Whispers?
“We’ve got these five intimate shows in October – well if you could call the o2, Liverpool intimate! It depends on how you look at it! We’re going to do another single when we’ve done these October shows and so we’re just going to keep on going. We’re not going to take our foot off the gas, we’re going to carry right on into next year and as I say, hopefully get a record (album) out and then carry on doing shows. We’re probably going to tour early next year and keep going.”
“With last years E.P., it wasn’t meant to evolve into anything further. It was a limited edition to give people a first idea about what we were doing. The way it was recorded was very particular. We wanted to have a bit of fun with the record. We want to keep on going this time as we had a bit of time off not playing before this single came out, apart from the Lightning Seeds tour as last year we were playing dates up and down the country, some little gigs and some big gigs. We needed some time away to write, record and prepare for the next step. We went to London to record the single and so we had a bit of a quiet period getting things ready behind the scenes. We got all the work done so there will be basically another single coming out and then we’ll move onto an album next year so there’s something on the horizon with more live shows and we’ll see how popular the band gets!”
I am interested in your song-writing and the way you have written the songs, how would you explain the style of your work?
“Well basically the songs we’re playing now I wrote the majority of them before then band was formed so I’m more than sick to death of them! (laughs) Personally, I’ve evolved quite a bit, I’ve already got so many new songs penned out and some songs I’d like to see recorded on the album next year, it’s a bit more time to wait but worth it to get them right. So I’m quite eager to sort that out and excited to see how that goes. Speaking as a songwriter, I’d like to draw a line under these songs with an LP and move forward. As far as developing where I take my song writing after that, is another matter. I’m not saying that it’s going to change style but I’m finding new music every week, new things to fall in love with, there’s going to be little changes, maybe a little more intimate, a bit more towards folk, I don’t know, we’ll just have to see! Where it goes? I’m constantly writing music, I’m always on the go!”
The Wicked Whispers perform at the o2 Academy, Liverpool on Saturday October 27th. Tickets are priced at £8 and are available from the o2 Academy Box office on Hotham Street.
Ian D. Hall