Mellor are an alternative indie/rock band from Reading that formed in 2011. The four-piece consists of Gary on guitar and vocals, Josh on bass, Kris on lead guitar, and Sam playing drums. The band have recently made a lasting impression whilst playing at Truck Festival and Isle of Wight Festival with their infectious beats. Mellor are easy on the ears – the kind of music you just sing along to without even realising. If you’re into stuff like Catfish and the Bottlemen or Circa Waves, these guys will definitely be your cup of tea. I caught up with Gary and the boys to delve into the minds behind the music.
So, how did you all meet and when was the band formed?
Since forming we had a couple of line-up changes early on. Me (Gary) and Josh met at college in Guildford and formed the band, we also knew Kris from college but he joined a couple of years down the line.
Just before Kris joined we were looking for a new drummer, Sam found us just as his band had parted ways, so it’s been all conveniently timed! These lineup changes have played a big part in crafting our sound to what it is now.
Why the name Mellor?
One of my big heroes is Joe Strummer from The Clash. When I was looking for a simple one-word band name, I heard his real name ‘John Mellor’ on a documentary and it just felt like a homage to someone who’s influenced me so much, so it stuck.
Oh, that’s interesting! What bands or musicians have inspired your music the most?
We all have widespread influences, spanning many genres, but as a band, I’d say we get inspiration from Biffy Clyro, Arctic Monkeys, Radiohead and Queens of the Stone Age.
What do you feel is the best song you’ve released and why? (My personal fave is Arms Length).
We all like different songs for different reasons and they tend to rotate! When you play the same songs so often, the newest is always the most exciting! However, as an overall piece of work, Arms Length or a new track called Dive into the Strange takes it for me.
Yeah, that’s understandable, who would be your top 3 bands you’d pick to tour with if you could?
I’d love to tour with Arctic Monkeys, such an important band for our generation, masters of re-invention and a band we can say we’ve appreciated consistently since day ones
Idles, another band I think is very important and has a huge future in musical history, plus it’d be pure chaos.
Out of hundreds of other incredible bands and it’s hard to choose, but I’d go for an absolute giant like Foo Fighters or Kasabian.
Does your sound ever get compared to other bands or artists?
Yes, and it’s something I have a bit of a gripe with. There’s so much music these days, and it’s so accessible, so it’s inevitable that comparisons are a natural instinct when hearing a new song.
We have influences and inspirations in our subconscious, but I always write what’s personal to me and try to find a melody that rings no bells, yet it’s always close to something else. We’ve been compared to Catfish and the Bottlemen, Kooks etc but that’s just the nature of the industry now. Worse bands to be compared to, so not all bad.
I’ve seen you’ve played some major festivals such as Truck Fest and Isle of Wight Festival, amongst other venues. Which has been your most and least favourite venue/ or festival to perform at, and why?
We often talk about favourite shows, Truck both this year and last will stick with us, but there been some London shows with This Feeling, hometown shows in Reading at Sub 89 and Purple Turtle. We’ve discovered some other great venues like Old Blue Last – Shoreditch. Joiners – Southampton, The Star – Guildford and Sneaky Pete’s – Edinburgh. When you have an amazing gig where everything ticks, it’s the most powerful tool to drive you forward.
As for least favourite, I wouldn’t want to bad mouth any venue or festival, but there’s definitely been a few shockers! Texfest in Leicester a couple years back had a lot of promise, but the whole thing was a bit of a disaster, not enough ticket sales, with tents rivalling the size of Reading and IOW. Not a great situation, but I’m sure they’ll pick things up going forward.
If you weren’t making music what do you think you would be doing instead?
We all have day jobs to keep us ticking, but our hearts and heads are in music. For me, I’d be well up for the production or management side of music, as I’m sure the other guys have musical avenues they’d explore if they weren’t in a band.
What is your songwriting process like?
It does vary, we can come up with ideas pretty quick all together in a room, but traditionally I’d write lyrics and chords on an acoustic, or have a general idea of how the song should sound, then we build it up altogether.
Songs can come out of absolutely nowhere, which is why it’s such an exciting thing. One day a hit song doesn’t exist, it can the next!
Who are your personal fave artists or bands to listen to at the moment?
We like to listen through all the bands coming out of This Feeling, so many great artists and new tunes being released prolifically. Also Idles, Black Honey, Sea Girls..plenty to get through!
Most weird of funniest memory whilst performing?
We played a festival on a small island in Scotland called Bute. Halfway through the first track some kid in a massive cardboard Spongebob outfit turned up and just sat right in the middle of the crowd, sat dead still through the whole thing. It caught my eye and it’s all I could focus on when looking out!
Has your music evolved or changed much since being together?
Definitely, we’re improving and evolving every song we write. We feel like we now have a formula, but the progression is always constant.
What has been your biggest challenge as a band?
We’re unsigned, without a management or booking agent. So the hardest challenge is making yourself stand out, carving our own opportunities and making the best of them when they arrive. We’ve hit some good heights by ourselves, which we’re proud of, but it takes l lot of time and hard work.
Well, I think you’re doing a pretty good job! Do you have any advice for people who are thinking of starting up their own bands?
I always give the same advice, and it’s that first impressions mean everything. Don’t rush your first release, don’t rush your first load of photos or artwork out, especially when it comes to your local BBC introducing. You want to give the best representation of yourselves when you come onto the scene, if not you’ll have the work of winning people over rather than gaining their attention first hand.
Lastly, any shows or releases coming up soon?
We will be bringing out a tune called ‘I don’t know where you’re sleeping tonight’ August 16th. You can find a like to pre-place the song on your playlists and more HERE.
You can also find Mellor on:
If you like what you hear, come join us and watch Mellor play at the London Moth Club on September 21st!
Text: Chloe Humphries
Images: Facebook, Wheeler, Murphy, Mellor