Discover more from Volatile Weekly
Interview with Mr! Mouray
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
A: I had been playing house league hockey and when I turned 13 I was having pain in both knees. Doctor told me I was having a massive growth spurt and to stay out of sports for awhile to give my body a chance to adjust. My parents were adamant that I not sit around being idol so they asked me what else I'd want to do to occupy my time. I asked them to buy me a guitar. This was in the summer of 1978. They borrowed one so I could take guitar lessons and by the Fall of 1978 I'd written a dozen songs. I got my first electric guitar that Christmas. There was no turning back from there. I was in my first band by the spring of 1980.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
A: I'm a writer. I mostly write biographies of other musicians – particularly the history of Canadian musicians. Reading about their struggles and their successes is inspiring.
How long has your band been around?
A: Mr! Mouray has been together since the Spring 2018
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
A: We're from Toronto – Scarborough in particular. We've lived here most of our lives, and it's reflected in many of our songs like our old song “Burn Hill or “The BattleOf Agincourt Mall,” and “Victoria's Park” on our new album 'What's The Stouray,' specifically.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
A: Singer/songwriter Simon Bedford-James was watching an old YouTube clip of a gentleman performing at a church event from a 1990s cable access TV broadcast. He was attempting to sing the old chestnut 'That's Amore,' but didn't know all the words and at one point stumbled into the words “When the moon hits your eye, like a big pizza pie....Mister Mouray.” Simon thought that would be a better band name than calling it The Simon Bedford-James Band. Which means that Simon is Mr! Mouray.
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
A: We love playing at David Bash's International Pop Overthrow Festival – it's an America Festival that travels the world and gives opportunities to local acts in each city. To date we've played a number of Hamilton, Ontario shows. But as a solo artist I've also played at IPO shows in Toronto, New York, Chicago, L.A., and at the Cavern Club in Liverpool, England.
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
A: The Cavern Club in Liverpool and its sister club on Mathew Street – The Cavern Pub – might be two of the coolest rooms to ever play. The old El Mocambo in Toronto was always a great place to play, and it would be great to play the newly renovated El Mocambo just to bring it full circle. Venues that I'd love to play would have to be Massey Hall in Toronto and the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
A: Personally, I'd love to be on a bill with Fastball out of Texas and The Enemy out of Coventry, England. I think Mr! Mouray would be a perfect fit with both. High energy, great hooks, crowd pleasing pop rock.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
A: Work on writing songs rather than being a virtuoso instrument player. The more you write, the better you'll become on your instrument. You'll kill two birds with one stone. And be patient. That's something I wish I knew as my younger self. Patience is hard to manage when your dream is to become an instant rock star.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
A: Fire our first drummer and get on with being a band of brothers. There was too much drama and we wasted a whole year on that nonsense. As it turns out, he quit, which ended the soap opera so we could finally get on with making the best music of our careers.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
A: “Bats In Disguise” from our debut album of the same name was a big one because we came roaring out of the gate out of nowhere to have a lot of great response on social media and YouTube. The other was “Diamond Wheels” off our 'Joy Luck Division' EP which showed the band – with our second drummer David – melding as a unit and having a more mature sound. And currently, our latest single “Cats Can't Fly” because we've somehow tapped into a 1980s zeitgeist which the world seems to be revisiting right now.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
A: My most favourite to play are “Who's Paying Now?” and “Spider Monkeys On Mars.” The first is a snappy pop tune and the second is a near prog-rock opus. They challenge both sides of the musical spectrum. They're also audience favourites.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
A: Simon Bedford-James is the sole songwriter of the group. He'll demo a song and pass on to the other members so that we can learn the nuts and bolts before woodshedding an arrangement in rehearsal. The song will then be recorded each time we rehearse, and we make notes from those recordings to tweak and tighten the arrangement. Generally, it only takes three or four run-throughs before we're confident with adding it to our repertoire and/or throwing it on the short list of songs we need to record on our next album or EP.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
A: Love, happiness, understanding.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
A: Simon, myself, guitarist Nelson Pereira and new drummer Craig Adams have been friends for over 30 years. The disagreements are few and far between. We only really get heated over where to eat during our down time. LOL.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
A: We're working on the next EP. There's six songs being work-shopped right now. We hope to have a big CD release party in the meantime for our new album 'What's The Stouray' and to play more shows. Post-pandemic has still been hard on live venues – and their scarcity. Meanwhile, the next single/video should be out any minute called “Pretty In Ink.”
How can your fans best keep up to date with you, any socials you want people to check out?
A: We're on Facebook all day long – Simon and Craig are retired now so there's plenty of time to troll the socials. We're also on Bandcamp through our record label page bullseyecanada.bandcamp.com