Mouse Trumpet – the biggest band you’ve never heard

Even in the age of endless “internet phenomenons”, Mouse Trumpet might just be the strangest band in the world. Well, today, at least. With an aversion to having their songs heard, their faces photographed or their members even named, it’s hard to work out how they intend to achieve their stated aim of being “the biggest underground band ever”. Not that asking them yields any solid answers either.

They are, as far as I can tell, a trio from Scotland, whose music sits somewhere between Section 25 and Chic – or at least, that’s the legend. They described their own music as “Experimental Rhythm Swamp-Twee” but have no music available to listen to anywhere.  It’s difficult, if not impossible, to prove or verify anything.

Their method of ‘promotion’ thus far has been like a game of word-of-mouth pass-the-parcel. All three of their gigs have been invite-only affairs, performed in private houses, at which, reputedly, all audience members (average attendance: 6) had to surrender their phones and any other potential recording equipment, including cameras, at the door.

Despite repeated requests from the band for no critical responses to these gigs, one or two excitable ‘reviews’ have turned up on internet forums. One attendee at their first gig, last October, claimed (during a burst of hyperbole) that the band would be “huge”, sound “a bit Section 25”, and that their song ‘Elephant Solo’ was “the most amazing thing I’ve ever heard. About ten minutes of heavy bass, screeching guitar and a kazoo”.

Their most recent gig was well received by one commentator who said that a song called ‘Spa Spa’ “might be the best thing Nile Rogers never did”.

As intriguing as these whispers are to me, it may not sound promising to anyone else. ‘Nebulous’ appears to be the band’s motto – if not ‘lazy’. My initial enquiries for information about the band proved fruitless until last week, when an email turned up agreeing to a short interview. I haven’t established if this was an exclusive but my hopes were high. It was, of course, conducted via email – and specifically “not via chat”, as I’d hoped. My questionnaire was completed, it said on the band email, by their vocalist, Jay Dark.

I asked roughly twice as many questions as this but many were left blank. So here is, in all its glory, my interview with Mouse Trumpet:

Why all the mystery surrounding Mouse Trumpet – isn’t it  just a pop group?

There is no mystery. We are a pop group.

You describe yourselves as “the biggest underground band ever” – is this a prediction? If so, how does it work?

No, it’s a joke. Not our joke, though.

Your musical style, “Experimental Rhythm Swamp-Twee” – where does that come from?

Self-explanatory.  Music you feel, not hear.

Where exactly are you from?

Anywhere. People get too bogged down in notions of belonging. We’re against that. (N.B. All their gigs to date have taken place in Scotland.)

What musical influences do the band own up to?

It’s hard to say. I have no records, just what’s inside my head. We’re motivated by rhythm but it’s not always about that.

Your gigs are private, invite-only events – why is this?

Too many bands lose control too early. Gigs are stale, they’re not events. We want to do something else. It’s important to know where we’re playing and to whom.

I see from your Facebook page that you’re releasing an E.P. soon – how do you intend to promote it?

It’s not coming out. Our intention was to release it in written format only, as sheet music, to surprise people and play with their expectations. Even that is difficult, and costly. But the songs are ours and they’re not fully grown yet. It’s difficult to sum them up in the context of a recording or a page, so they’re staying on our laptops for now.

The track Evil Cat Lover sounds intriguing – what’s it about?

Self-explanatory.

You’ve demoed over an album’s worth of material. Where do you see yourselves in a year’s time, developmentally?

We heard a song about a cassette someone found in their back garden. We like that idea.

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