(SXSW 2016 flavoured!) Quickfire Questions #99: Banners

By on Friday, 26th February 2016 at 11:00 am
 

Ahead of SXSW in Austin in mid-March, just as we have in the past 2 years of our preview coverage of the big dance, we’ll be bringing you showcasing artists’ answers to a special SXSW 2016 flavoured set of Quickfire Questions. Today’s subject is Mike Nelson, now known under the stage name Banners, an up-and-coming pop star who came from a decidedly un-pop beginning.

Last month, Banners released his self-titled EP, and at the moment, he’s currently on tour in North America. However, before he left blighty for our shores, he kindly answered our Quickfire Questions for us. I have to admit, I am a bit biased towards this lad, as he’s from a North West town not only near and dear to my heart but incredibly important to my own musical background, but he also support the same footy team I do, and well…anyway! Read on…

Describe your music / sound in three words. (We know, tricky…)
Oh wow. Okay… Anthemic. Heartfelt. Intimate.

What are you most looking forward to doing while you’re in Austin?
I’m mainly looking forward to carrying my unbelievably heavy amp from gig to gig….. I’m actually really looking forward to soaking in the atmosphere, to being completely surrounded by music and musicians.

Of the bands who have already been announced, do you have any that are must-sees on your schedule? If yes, who are they and why?
I’d like to go and watch Hooton Tennis Club. I’ve heard they’re great and with them being fellow Liverpudlians we’ve gotta stick together. I’ve never actually seen them live, so I like the idea of going all the way to Austin to do it.

Name something you’re packing in your suitcase that we might find unusual. (You are welcome to elaborate.)
My Liverpool scarf. It’s the thing i’d run back into the house to save from a fire. Once all the people where out, obviously. My Grandma gave it to me years ago and it goes everywhere with me. I’ve gotta remember to give it a wash actually! [::sheds a tear:: I knew he was a good’un! – Ed.]

If we happen to run into you in a bar, we’d like to buy you a drink. What is your tipple of choice?
Vodka and Coke please. It’s the only hangover I can deal with. Beer does something weird to my throat and my songs are hard enough to sing without me self sabotaging! I don’t know why I made them so high. Idiot.

What have you heard about the festival? Are you excited / anxious / scared / etc. and why?
This is the first time I’ve been to SXSW. I’m signed to Island in the United States, so I’ve played in America a few times. I’ve got a little American tour in the run up to SXSW, too, which will be fun. I like America and Americans. An English accent goes a long way too! I’m really looking forward to it. The lads I have in my band are all great, so I’m confident we’ll do a good job!

Now, let’s get into our usual list of Quickfire Questions…

What song is your earliest musical memory?
My mum singing a song called ‘The Skye Boat Song’ to me and my twin sister when we were really really small.

What was your favourite song as a child?
I used to love ‘Life on Mars’ by David Bowie. My dad bought it for ‘Hunky Dory’ for me as a kid, and it was the first album I owned. I think he did it in case I ever got asked “what was the first album you owned” in an interview. Thanks Dad.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v–IqqusnNQ

What song makes you laugh?
Petty Sessions by Half man half biscuit. “I ring up Dial-A-Pizza/and say that’s not how I would spell ‘Hawaiian’…”

What song makes you cry?
‘Emily’ by Joanna Newsom. My god I love Joanna Newsom.

What song reminds you of the first time you fell in love? (It’s up to you if you want this to be sweet, naughty, etc.)
‘Kids’ by MGMT. I really fell in love when that song was playing once. Plus, it’s a total banger. A love banger. Whole new genre. You’re welcome.

What song makes you think of being upset / angry? (Example: maybe you heard it when you were angry with someone and it’s still with you, and/or something that calms you down when you’re upset, etc.)
Well, I used to be in the cathedral choir in Liverpool, which prides itself on its high standards. One of the hardest pieces was by a guy called Palestrina, so anything by that fella. Because singing it meant I was about to be upset because I was about to get shouted at for doing it wrong! I know you died 400 years ago Palestrina but man, every now and then, you made my life more difficult than it needed to be.

Which song (any song written in the last century / 100 years or so) do you wish you’d written yourself?
‘Hallelujah’ by Leonard Cohen (made boss by Jeff Buckley).

Who is your favourite writer? (This can be a songwriter or ANY kind of writer.)
Guy Garvey. I love the honesty, I love his voice, I love the melodies, I love the lyrics. I love you, Guy Garvey. [I think I have to help make a collaboration happen between these two. Am I right, Carrie? – Ed.]

If you hadn’t become a singer/musician/songwriter/etc., what job do you think you’d be doing right now?
What’s the job where you’re totally lost and unhappy? That one.

If God said you were allowed to bring only one album with you to Heaven, which would it be and why? (Sorry, but double albums do not count.)
So I’ve died and the big man’s not even letting me bring my iPod? Bit mean. Have they not got Spotify up there? I’d take ‘Grace’ by Jeff Buckley. ‘Oracular Spectacular’ by MGMT so nearly made it and so did ‘Sea Change’ by Beck. But I’m hanging out with Jeff and his lovely lovely voice on a cloud with a harp, thanks.

We thank Mike for answering all of our questions and making us smile!

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