Record Label Mai 68 have been one of the delights of 2020. Their releases have maintained a ridiculously high standard and have made the last few months more bearable.
Sunstack Jones have created one of the year’s undisputed highlights with their Golden Repair album and Shipbuilders have performed similar miracles with Hanging Me At Dawn, while Ennio The Little Brother‘s homespun hip hop was a beautiful surprise.
So, when the label contacted us about another of their artists, we just had to get involved.
Mondegreen are a trio from Widnes who released their latest single, The Avenue, on December 4.
The record is a gentle country tinged slice of pop that reminds me of an Americana version of The Cranberries, with its delicate guitar lines and spellbinding vocals.
Mondegreen are sisters Laura and Leanne Griffiths along with best friend Claire Smith. The trio spent much of their childhood listening to punk and indie while playing acoustic guitars, and it shows here.
The band tell us The Avenue concerns itself with “the need to escape from the pressures and fears of modern life and return to a place where you feel grounded and safe”, which is something I feel we can all relate to at the moment.
To tie in with this release, Mondegreen kindly to subject themselves to 13 Questions. Read on to find out more about record shops, Tokyo street views and fart jokes.
1. Where are you and what are you doing and how is that working out?
Leanne: Hello, I am currently sat in my room, with the fancy coffee (because it’s a Monday and we need little pick-me-up’s) and I’m about to start fixing together a little song I recorded last night. And we are yet to see how that works out… the coffee is wonderful though!
Laura: At home in Chester, very much enjoying swinging through a Christmassy New York in Spider-Man: Miles Morales so, it’s going alright!
Claire: Sat in my nice new house making beaded Christmas decorations – it’s not so bad at all!
2. How have you been coping with the lockdown situation?
Laura: Lots and lots of video chats, girly movie quizzes, Animal Crossing, watching Californication for the millionth time, and brownies by post.
Leanne: Erm…better times have been had! But I’m managing to keep myself busy, took on many a hobby in this time! But I’m safe and well so you really do have to be thankful for what you do have right now.
Claire: Keeping busy with lots of crafts, and video calls with friends and family to keep sane.
3. What do you miss most about pre-lockdown times?
Laura: Hugs, gigs, planes, and wasting afternoons sat in coffee shops. Oh, and when my world wasn’t seen through steamed up glasses.
Claire: I miss gigs but mainly just being able to have band practice and see friends and family. I’d love just to have a bit of normality again, that would be great!
Leanne: Mostly just these two! I miss going to gigs and dancing with other people. But honestly, I just miss random encounters with people and meeting new people. I can’t wait to have those experiences again. Oh, and just catching the train to the city to wander into record shops and coffee shops! And band practice! Okay there’s a lot…
4. Recommend one band or album that you think we should check out.
Claire: The Highwomen!
Laura: From this year, it has to be The Chicks ‘Gaslighter’ for dancing around your living room.
Leanne: I’m not sure if you’re familiar with them already but one band I’ve just really enjoyed each time I’ve seen them play and go back to quite a bit is Grey Hairs. Other than that I’ve been overplaying the new Dirty Nil singles since they’ve been released so really looking forward to that new album.
Fleet Foxes: Shore – “we are given a gift from a musician at the top of his game”
5. When did you last make yourself do something you didn’t want to?
Claire: This morning when I did the dishes!
Laura: Speaking on camera for work. Why is hearing your own voice the most painful thing in the world?
Leanne: There’s the usual things but I think the main one lately for me has just been giving yourself a bit of a shake and looking after yourself. Because at the moment, speaking for myself, sometimes you forget or just don’t see the point, but it feels important to just do it for yourself, I know it makes me feel better.
6. What’s your guilty listening pleasure?
Leanne: I listen to a lot of early 00’s pop on a daily basis. So, I don’t think I can really consider it a guilty pleasure! I actually just love listening to specifically Huge Hits ’99 – does that count?
Claire: I’m very open about liking the Spice Girls and Backstreet Boys, so I don’t know if that counts as a guilty pleasure?
Laura: There are no guilty pleasures. Except for when I listen to Paris Hilton ‘Nothing in This World’.
7. Can you cook?
Leanne: If cereal, pasta or couscous is what you require, then yes, totally!
Claire: Yes! I am a baker by trade and a trained patisserie chef.
Laura: I’m a much more talented at ordering in. Though, if you ever see me overcook a pizza, it’s intentional.
8. Tell us a secret
Claire: Now it wouldn’t be a secret if I told you, would it?
Leanne: Some days I just dance for an hour as my daily exercise. Although I don’t think I keep this a secret really! But I do like to pretend there’s a stage and full audience.
Laura: Really specific things creep me out. Like those basketball games in the corners of arcades or old bouncy castles. I don’t know why!
9. What’s the best night out you’ve ever had?
Laura: Night out? What’s that? … Though going to Emo Night Brooklyn at the Brooklyn Bowl was pretty cool!
Leanne: There’s not one single night but my favourite night out is at a local club where they have a full stage with lights and live band every Saturday and you can just go and dance all night. They play a lot of party music and I tend to go with my friend Mollie, and I can’t wait to be able to go again hopefully because you know that going there, you’re going to have a fun night!
Claire: If I could remember it, I’d tell you!
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10. When was the last time you laughed until you cried?
Leanne: I have very much been enjoying the new McFly Total Access. I love this band it’s been nice to feel like I’m 14 again laughing at silly videos. And we need that little relief right now!
Claire: Watching a specific episode of Bob’s Burgers last week. We all appreciate a good fart joke.
Laura: Probably when Leanne tried to cheer me up with her impression of a ‘Sim’.
11. What is your favourite view?
Claire: The Giant’s Causeway, where I got engaged.
Leanne: I’ve always loved looking down Oxford Road in Manchester, kind of near the station. I’ve had many a reason for being there, being that rushing for the train home from uni or wandering to the Academy for a gig but especially on a summer evening when the sun’s just setting, it just feels lovely. That’s something else I miss!
Laura: Tokyo street views. Or my less showy answer is similar to Leanne’s; the view from my old uni bedroom window in Manchester where you could see out onto rooftops and over to Oxford Road Station. I’d really like to get a framed photo of that view.
12. When did you last shout at the TV?
Laura: When no one picked Giovanna during the message from home challenge on I’m A Celeb!
Leanne: Maybe not so much shouted at the TV but I find myself gasping aloud a lot when something really dramatic happens. It’s been happening a lot watching Gilmore Girls lately.
Claire: Shouting in unison with the other half when the internet cuts out and the Chrome Cast goes off!
13. Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. Is there anything else you’d like to say?
Leanne: Feel like I should have some words of wisdom here… Just try and do one fun thing today! And thank you for having us!
Laura: Just thanks very much and keep washing your hands!
Claire: Nope! 🙂 … ah thanks for having us.