Interviews

Nick Mulvey sheds light on the creative journey that led to ‘New Mythology’

Enchanting melodies, coupled with poetic and profound lyricism. Nick Mulvey’s New Mythology album tells a captivating tale of “interbeing.”

Since our last catch-up with Nick Mulvey back in 2017, he’s embarked on an awe-inspiring creative journey, which has led to the fruition of his latest spellbinding record, New Mythology.

Recorded in Paris, the UK-hailing singer, songwriter and producer has blessed our ears with a 13-track collection of both personal and worldly musical stories, showcasing the interconnectedness of humanity and the earth.

Now, as he gears up for his forthcoming live shows, we sat down with Nick to chat all about his new album, creative influences, his growth as an artist, and what it was like to work with legendary producer and mixer, Renaud Letang.

Nick Mulvey

HAPPY: So it’s been a while since we last heard from you, can you tell us a bit about where you’ve been and what you’ve been up to over the last 4-5 years?

NICK: Hi! It’s good to be chatting again now. I’ve been busy the last few years! Journeying deep to write this new album, trying not to be a nuisance in the world, raising two kids best I can. Always learning how to live, how to love and be loved in return. Full-time shiz. 

HAPPY: Your lyrics are so stunningly poetic and philosophical, what is your writing process like? Do you tend to jot down your thoughts endlessly, or do you sit with your guitar and the words just come?

NICK: Thanks. It’s a mix of both, usually. I’m always writing down interesting things that I hear, grafting and working on lines in my mind, thinking on things, puzzling lyrics and rhymes. Studying my heroes and how they did it. And THEN jumping into the river, as it were, leaving my mind behind, sitting with an instrument (usually guitar or piano) and putting feeling first and foremost, following the shapes and forms with my hands and my voice. Letting all the mind stuff go. And when all this happens, the combination of tinkering and puzzling, and then letting it all go and feeling and playing, the creativity can go beyond my ‘small self’ and a greater mind can lead the work. I’m looking to surprise myself because then I know I’ve gone beyond myself. 

HAPPY: Was this the first time you’ve worked with Renaud Letang? The production is just incredible. How much creative control did you maintain or hand over?

NICK: Yeah, it’s been an honour to work with Renaud. Schooling for me, in record making. He’s old school in the best way, having rigour and a proper working method. From the first conversation we had, he was doing things in a thorough way. Ultimately, this let me be freely creative, and our collaboration flowed easily from the beginning. For the most part, each song seemed to ask clearly for the arrangements and productions it needed. So it was super fun, and a creative flow for Renaud and I in his studio. It all came easily. He pushed me hard on performances, timings and tunings. I felt myself becoming a better, fitter musician over the weeks with him in the studio. I love how we’ve made this record. I had a minimalist approach. The main thing for me is that I didn’t want clutter, and every element should be made to count. Quality sound, quality part. He insisted upon precision in tuning and timings and that ultimately allows more brilliance to shine through the recordings.

HAPPY: You released such a gorgeous video for Star Nation, where did you shoot this beautiful beach footage?

NICK: In Deia, Mallorca, in collaboration with photographer and director, Kate Bellm. 

HAPPY: You dedicated the video to ‘The Island Kids’ – who are these kids to you?

NICK: Actually, that was Kate’s dedication. All the kids in the video are her son and his friends. 

HAPPY: Speaking of the beauty your music has across different kinds of media, your album artwork is so beautiful. Who designed it?

NICK: James Ronkko! He’s done us proud. I love his visual language and his world, his blending of digital and analogue processes, the frequent oddness and strangeness in his work. I think he’s caught the New Mythology feeling really well. 

HAPPY: You said yourself that if you were to summarise the album in one word it would be “interbeing,” which feels like a great way to express how spiritual the music is. Do you consider yourself to be quite spiritual?

NICK: I’m not quite sure how to answer that. Saying ‘yes’ feels a bit spiritually proud or something. I’m interested in what’s REAL. That’s enough for me. As a word, ‘spiritual’ is getting very worn down, with all the woke stuff, and all that is being referred to is some kind of diluted lifestyle genre and… fuck that! Naked living spirit, what is beyond description and all definition, starts getting replaced by weak concepts and people stay unchallenged, asleep. These times are calling deeply for what is real. Thich Naht Hahn, a hero of mine and so many, talked about humanity awakening in this time to the reality of our shared interbeing, the ground of being we share with each other, all life and all things. I’m into that.

HAPPY: Towards the end of the album, you have a track titled, Interbeing Part 1. It’s largely a nature soundscape with a lovely guitar riff, and you only sing the one line, “all we want is to feel that feeling again.” Is this a kind of hint to a part 2?

NICK: You’ll have to wait and find out, sorry!

New Mythology is out now on all platforms. Stream the album here.

 

Interviewed by Chloe Maddren.