Artwork by @mystupidsketchbook
WHO is he?
Felix M-B is a 17-year-old singer-songwriter from Derby, England. “I’m currently studying for my A2 exams in Music, English Literature and Drama at Ecclesbourne Sixth Form, which I try to fit around gigging and recording and that’s sometimes quite difficult!” he tells us.
“I can’t really pin down what got me into music, I can remember listening to ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ by the Beatles on repeat when I was younger, and those songs were some of the first that I learned to sing and play along with on the piano” he recalls.
“I started playing piano when I was about 6 and wrote some awful songs when I was about 14.” Two years later Felix picked up the guitar and started to write properly and gig. “I was very nervous and hated it at first but as I got better at guitar, I got into it a lot more. Then in about February 2014 I started to gig a lot around Derby playing open mics to drunk old men, but having joined a youth acting school, called The Television Workshop, I played around there in Nottingham and each gig led to another one.”
“I’ve always been drawn to the idea of creating music and singing has always been important to me. It’s very liberating to be able to express different emotion constructively I guess”.
Felix recorded debut EP Will I Sleep?, funded through a Kickstarter campaign, in February 2015 with Lucy Ward and Stephen Maclachlan. “Lucy is a folk-singer from Derby and I went to one of her gigs, gave her a CD of 4 demo tracks and she got back to me saying she wanted to get me into her drummer (Stephen)’s studio and co-produce it with him. I’m incredibly grateful to them for that, they pretty much let me do whatever I wanted but their advice was really helpful”.
WHAT is he singing about?
“I’ve always been influenced by musicians like Jeff Buckley, Nick Drake, Guy Garvey and Laura Marling and the way they craft lyrics that sound beautiful but also natural has been a constant aim of mine” he tells us.
I’m a strong believer that there shouldn’t be any words in a song that don’t have a function, so I try to be economical in that sense. – Felix M-B
“The tracks on the EP are about a mixture of thing, some more personal than others. The first track Older Now is a sort of apology. I was looking back at someone I’d known and felt awful so I wanted to say something to clear my conscience. It feels like a release every time I play it.”
“Ophelia is a love song… I think, or as close to a love song as I would want to write, and it’s about feeling unworthy but happy with that.”
“I wrote Wasted One after watching a documentary called ‘The Bridge’ and it shocked me completely. It was a film about people who committed suicide on the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. The thing that stood out to me was how beautiful the place was in comparison to the awful things that have happened there, and also the way that society moves on so quickly afterwards.”
“Shed a Year is probably the most personal track on the record. I was having a pretty rough time when I wrote it and it was a way of putting it behind me, hence the title.”
WHERE did he grow up?
“I’m very lucky to have grown up surrounded by creative people. My parents have been running a professional theatre company for 25 years, so I pretty much grew up on tour around the UK. Neither of them are very musical, although my dad has just taken up the drums at 51, but the actors they employ have always been musicians too, so I have vivid memories of sitting on the outdoor stage, which is an old traveller’s cart, aged 4, imitating people playing mandolins and guitars at Castle Cornet in Guernsey. Those summers when I’d go away on tour were probably the most formative of my childhood.”
WHY should I listen to him?
His words are carefully weighed and spoken with sincerity. His vocal performances are just as confident as his songwriting. Plus, his voice is really beautiful.
WHEN can I see him live?
“I’ve been gigging in Nottingham for about a year now and it never stops surprising me with the vibrancy of the music scene. Everyone knows each other and it’s incredibly inclusive and constructive. It has some great bigger venues, like Rock City, Rescue Rooms and the Bodega, but also some brilliant smaller ones like The Jam Cafe, The Chameleon and The Malt Cross and they are always full of interesting people who genuinely appreciate the music and atmosphere.”
Felix M-B’s upcoming gigs
19/05/15 – The Malt Cross, Nottingham
23/05/15 – The Guildhall Clubrooms, Derby
24/05/15 – Dot to Dot Festival, Nottingham
29/05/15 – Springfield Hall, Sandiacre