Interview by: Kate Willis
Photographs by: Colin Jones
Midland Interview O2 Shepherds Bush Empire
Jess Carson, Mark Wystrach, Cameron Duddy
AKA ‘The Pony Tail Saga’ and their next single ‘Doggo’
CL: Mark, I see you have your man bun today.
Mark: It is not a man bun, it’s a pony tail.
Cameron: Guess who else had a pony tail? Eddie Murphy in ‘Coming to America’
Mark: Guess who else had a ponytail Tom Cruise in ‘Mission Impossible 2’ and in the Last Samurai!
Mark: Look she has very limited time.
CL: Yes I only have ten minutes and three days to transcribe it! Ha Ha.
Mark: Anyway this is a pony tail not a man bun and you brought it up!
CL: Yes, Sorry I was asked to ask about it by some Midlanderos.
Mark: Tell people that are worried about my ponytail that there is way more important shit to worry about.
CL: Can you pretend I didn’t say anything?
Mark: You struck a chord dude.
Cameron: Mark won’t be putting that baby back anymore though, Ha!
CL: Have you enjoyed your second time back in the UK? Do you think that you will remember it more?
Mark: Yes, next question.
Mark: No, we are only kidding. Cameron it’s your birthday why don’t you go?
Jess: Firstly, it’s been incredible, the crowds have grown by so much, we went from playing a 300 person venue to a 2,000 person venue.
Cameron– Guess who else had a pony tail? George Strait in the beginning when he played Dusty in ‘Pure Country’.
Mark: That’s true, that’s right, he did!
Jess: So, it’s been so cool they’ve been some of the best crowds we have ever had anywhere.
CL: I went to the Glasgow show, that is a lovely venue The Fruit Market isn’t it?
Jess: It’s a thing now, we will always come back.
CL: What has been your favourite show so far?
Jess: Tonight, I think will be our favourite show.
Cameron: Our favourite show so far, that would be Glasgow. That was epic, so was ..
Cameron: Yes, Newcastle was fun.
CL: Did you bring a pillow with you this time?
Cameron: No, but ..
CL: Cameron was a bit tired in Birmingham, apparently.
Cameron: No, ..… I sat down on the stage, I was tired. There are dirty pillows on our bus, everyone had unclean sheets essentially. It was a very old bus, so I put a shirt over my pillow and I slept with myself really well.
CL: I’m going to have to skip a few questions now. A question from my friend and Midland fan, Benn, why did you choose Mark Strong’s version of Country Roads from Kingsman 2 to play as your intro and is it just for the UK?
Cameron: No, we actually do that in the U.S.
Jess: We cannot take credit for it.
Cameron: Our tour manager said ‘Dude, I got the best music for you’. We muttered and then he said listen to this shit. He then played it for us. As the song progressed, it set in that he was right. There’s a string arrangement on it. It ends up in a very triumphant….. we used to come out to Top Gun.
CL: It’s a death scene though?
Mark: It is, it’s from The Kingsman 2 and we were watching it on a bus on the bus one night and that’s when Rob’s idea came about.
CL: It is cool.
Cameron: But runner up is, and always will be the Top Gun theme song, which is what we used to come out to.
CL: How have you found the UK fans?
Jess: How have we found the UK fans? Through Instagram, we found them through facebook…….
CL: No,…I mean..
Jess: Oh! The UK fans are some of the best listening audiences/fans that we have ever played for. They seem to take in everything, less cell phones, they know the album cuts, that’s a cool thing. They know the songs that aren’t singles, probably because country radio is not the same over here.
CL: Country radio is not mainstream as yet, but it is growing. If you like a band you stream and buy their music meaning we hear albums rather than singles.
Jess: The other big difference is that they drive on the other side of the road.
Cameron: Their accents are different to the U.S.
CL: Different in different parts of the country or different to the US? (laughter)
Cameron: Well, mostly different to the U.S.
Mark: And different in different parts of the country.
Cameron: We’ve noticed that they talk differently in different parts of the country as well.
Mark: The northern accent is very distinctive compared to the southern accent and the midlands accent is very different as well.
Cameron: They also drive on a strange side of the road.
Mark: Also, I notice that in Scotland the accent is different as well.
Cameron: Did you mention that they drive on a strange side of the road?
CL: That is because of swords.
Jess: Is that why? Do cars have swords?
Mark: So you drive on the left because of that? Really?
CL: Yes, In the past, almost everybody travelled on the left side of the road because that was the most sensible option. Most people were right handed so swordsmen preferred to keep to the left in order to have their right arm nearer to an opponent and their scabbard further from him.
Mark: What about a left-handed swordfighter?
Cameron: That guy is ‘in trouble’.
CL to Collin Duddy, Cameron’s brother: How do you put up with them ?
Jess: Is this the worst interview you have ever had in your life?
CL: No……… it’s not a bad interview it will just be challenging to transcribe it.
Your first album was about being on the road cheap motels, missing home etc. What is the theme of your second album?
Midland: Being on the road, Mid-priced motels, missing home etc …. Laughter.
Jess: This one has a song about a dog going missing, which we have never written about.
Mark: Its called ‘Doggo’… ‘where did you go?”
CL: Did it fall off the trucko on the red dirt roado?
Mark: I think that it is really clever. The Australian slang for dog, doggo, then ‘where did you go doggo?’.
CL: I look forward to that one.
Mark: Think about it, it’s already in your head isn’t it?
Cameron: We have pretty much reinvented the wheel here.
Jess: I have a song about going to some antique shops, Mark has a song about going to the gym, that’s pretty cool.
Cameron: It is called ‘In the Gym With Jim’.
Jess: Cam has a rock climbing song.
Cameron: It’s called ‘Freefalling’.
CL: Shall I just throw my questions away?
Mark: Do you have a lighter?
CL: Are you working with Josh Osborne and Shane McAnally again?
Mark: I’d say that they were working with us, but if you want to phrase it that way, that is fine. You are asking the question.
Cameron: And Dan Huff. We also have some new faces, some old faces, not necessarily young faces but ….
Mark: Josh Osborne changed his face. He is so successful now that he had to have a face transplant.
Cameron: There are many faces that are on this album… laughter.
CL: I wish that I had gone to the pub first (I then dropped my phone)
Mark: Goddamn it boys, we did it! We made her drop her recording.
Jess: You know what the album is? We went back to what worked with ‘On the Rocks’. A lot of the same co-writers and producers and players, except that our own band plays on this album. That is a new thing. We have been on the road for two and a half years straight. We are so used to playing with them that it made sense in the studio.
Cameron: We have the hindsight of experience. The luxury of knowing what works live and digging in to those things more.
CL: Why do you never sing, certainly over here, ‘Lonely For You’ and ‘Somewhere On The Wind’?=
Cameron: ‘Somewhere On the Wind’, we never do.
Mark: ‘Somewhere On the Wind’ is a fun song and will be a song that we will go back to.
Cameron: We used to play ‘Lonely For You’ quite a bit.
Mark: We like to switch it up and it is fun getting in to the groove.
Cameron: We have been switching up our set a lot. There isn’t a reason why we haven’t played it.
Mark: To be honest with you they are the two of my favourite songs on the album. I love both of them.
Mark then starts singing the first few bars of “Somewhere On the Wind’
Cameron: Oh well, here you go…. And that’s the end of the interview, can you play it back?
Mark is still singing.
Cameron`: Now sing it without the ponytail.
Mark: The ponytail makes me sound good!
Cameron: Give us some hard hitting questions, not this softball shit Dude.
CL: Is there a venue that you have not played yet that you would love to play?
Mark: Wembley Stadium
Jess: Hyde Park.
CL: What about in the world or are they them?
Jess: Still Wembley Stadium and Hyde Park. Hyde Park has 200,000 people or something like that.
Mark: The Sydney Opera House.
Cameron: Ohh that would be cool. That’s mine.
Mark: Midland with the Sydney Philharmonic Orchestra. Like Elton John did live in 1987. How great was that?
CL: You could always do that in the Royal Albert Hall with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra?
Cameron: Yep That’s my dream venue Sydney Opera House.
Mark: It’s his birthday so that’s our choice.
CL: Thank you have a great show and a safe trip back home.