Edinburgh-based Mt. Doubt started out as Leo Bargery’s solo project, but has no expanded into a collective of six musicians. They’ve just released EP ‘The Loneliness Of The TV Watchers’ on Scottish Fiction Record. We spoke to Leo about the band’s formation, style and latest music.
A lot of the EP focuses on a sense of disenchantment with the beginnings of adult life.
First up, tell us bit about yourself, what were you doing before you got involved in music?
Hello! Before Mt. Doubt came to be I was at university up in St Andrews (occasionally) studying Film Studies and working in a small burger restaurant where realistically I ate more than I worked. That said, I’ve always been ‘involved’ in one way or another, even if it was just listening, music has always been a big part of my day-to-day life.
Who was the first music act who inspired you?
I feel like I should lie but I won’t… I think hearing My Chemical Romance’s ‘The Black Parade’ was a genuinely pivotal moment for me, as bizarre as that now seems…I was thirteen when it was released and I just sat in my room and listened to it on repeat, over and over again. It was also a record which inadvertently showed me the way into a lot of other music!
Was there a particular event or moment that led you to pursue your musical aspirations?
I wouldn’t say there was one particular moment but I went to a lot of shows as a teenager which regularly re-affirmed the fact that I wanted to make my life about pursuing music. I was fortunate enough to see pretty much all of the bands I wanted to see (Blur, Pulp, Pixies, REM etc.) especially through going to T in the Park regularly from such a young age and that kept me motivated!
How do you create your music? Is there any kind of routine that helps?
It really does just seem to happen from time to time. I love playing music, fumbling about with my guitar or piano and occasionally when I’m doing that a song will just come together. In a way I suppose it’s usually a routine of mistakes!
Tell us about your ‘The Loneliness of the TV Watchers’, over what time period was it written?
So this is our brand new EP which is out now to hear and download in all the usual places (Spotify etc.)! I didn’t sit down at any point to write an EP the songs came from different times, some have been kicking about for years whereas Purity was written not long before I actually went in to record it all! Reference Books actually started life as a song called ‘Weirdo’ which I wrote in my kitchen at University in 2015!
Is there a particular theme on the album?
It’s a little bit bleak, which is potentially more of a Mt. Doubt theme rather than one which is solely reserved for this EP! A lot of the EP focuses on a sense of disenchantment with the beginnings of adult life I suppose… there are songs about nostalgia, watching television and going on holiday (or not)!
Which was the hardest song to get right and why?
Probably, Soft Furnishings actually just because it’s quite restrained and unembellished for a good portion of it; There weren’t lots of layers of noise to build it up so we had to make sure the keys sounds were exactly how we wanted them and the vocals stood out strongly by themselves – which hopefully we managed!
Can you pick out one song you are most proud of any why?
I think that it’s a toss-up between A Natural Swimmer which undulates and sprawls in a way I find quite pleasing and Purity which is just so much fun to play live. I’d probably lean towards A Natural Swimmer because of the fact that I think it shows the growth of my own songwriting the most!
If your music was a person, what would their personality be?
Mt. Doubt would probably be a highly-stressed, slightly-depressed and totally neurotic English teacher.
What have you been listening to this year? Top three records of 2017 so far?
I listen to a lot of music though not necessarily all old stuff. This year I’d say my top three have been; Grandaddy’s ‘Last Place’, Future Islands’ ‘The Far Field’ and I’ve just discovered Julia Jacklin’s new record Don’t Let the Kids Win, even though it’s a bit older…
If you had to pick one act to see live this year, who would it be?
I’d go for Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds because I still have never seen them live. I have tickets to see them at the Hydro in Glasgow later in the year as well, so very excited for that!
If you could collaborate with any living artist, who would it be?
There are so many amazing musicians about… it’s hard to whittle it down. To work with someone like Warren Ellis or Bill Callahan would be very cool but then I’ve always had a guilty pleasure / love for Lady Gaga and that could be both interesting and insanely lucrative!
Let us know where you’re playing live.
We are playing; 06/06 Cardiff, Café Gwdihw | 07/06 London, Servants Jazz Quarters | 08/06 Inverness XPO North (Madhatters) and then 10/06 Stirling, Tolbooth with Pronto Mama! I am also doing an acoustic instore show on Sunday 4th at LP Records in Glasgow!
What are your hopes for the rest of 2017?
Primarily to make it to the end and in the interim release more music, play more shows, visit more places and reach more people; all the stepping stones to world domination.
Watch the video for ‘Tourists on YouTube below. For news and tour dates visit the Mt. Doubt Facebook page.