Mystery Jets on new album ‘A Billion Heartbeats’: “We wanted to feel like it was punching you in the face”

Blaine Harrison and Jack Flanagan tell us what to expect...

Mystery Jets have opened up on how their new record sees them tackling the state of the world for the first time and how it proved to be one of their most “direct” albums  so far.

The London band are due to release their new album ‘A Billion Heartbeats’ on September 27. It follows on from 2016’s ‘Curve Of The Earth’ and has already been previewed with the songs ‘Screwdriver’, ‘History Has It Eyes On You’ and ‘Hospital Radio‘.

On ‘Screwdriver’, the band tackle the rise of the alt-right, while ‘History Has Its Eyes on You’ was directly inspired by singer Blaine Harrison’s experiences of watching the global Women’s March in 2017. ‘Hospital Radio’, meanwhile, saw the band offering a rallying cry against the privatisation of the NHS.

Describing how the current themes fit into their latest record, Harrison told NME: “There’s always a fear as an artist, if you engage in what’s going on in the world, there’s a danger of alienating your audience.

“It’s something we’ve always been mindful about and approaching this record, it is a collection of songs about what’s going on in the outside world. We’ve been very mindful about not being too on the nose, it’s definitely not preachy.”

Sonically, the band say that it is also a lot more “direct” than ‘Curve of The Earth’ – which saw the Jets heading into prog-rock territory.

“It’s a lot more direct than curve was. Curve was about establishing textures, ambient textures that we’d write music over the top of. But this album got rid of amplifiers and plugged straight into mixing desks. We wanted everything to feel like it was punching you in the face,” explained Harrison and bassist Jack Flanagan.

The three year gap between the records hasn’t been without its struggles either. As Harrison explains, they faced the looming threat of eviction from their last studio after recording finished on ‘Curve’.

“Around the time of finishing ‘Curve’, We got an eviction notice from the local council because our landlord had been a naughty boy and hadn’t been paying his bills. I don’t think he paid his electricity bills in 20 years!,” he said.

“I was away, but Jack and Will had to gut the entire studio in 24 hours. All our mixing desks, mics and guitars. Everything was put in storage and we resigned ourselves to the idea that we wouldn’t have a studio in London again – rent prices being what they are.

“Then I became a property guardian and started living in empty buildings, because it fees like in cities like London and NY, artists are being pushed out to the fringes – that’s what gentrification is. But this record is about the spirit of protest, and I felt like that environment is associated with the centre of everything – being in the middle of the city.

“I realised I needed to find a way to be in the centre of the city, and living in empty buildings just struck me as the only way to do that”.

Mystery Jets release ‘A Billion Heartbeats’ on September 27.