About the band
Extracts from an interview given to the Australian Musician Network in November 2013
How and when did the band form?
Gary Fisher) It’s a long-ish story! I moved up to Manchester like 7 years ago and was looking to just play some guitar in a band. I found an advert for ‘Pete’s super fun and very democratic band’ (which is a lie, he’s a fascist musical dictator) and he happened to live a few minutes away in Manchester.
Peter Martin) I think we realised pretty quickly that although we came up with very different styles alone, when we work together, the sum is far greater than its composite parts and we starting coming up with some really interesting and varied material. Lots of the material on our first album “SuperTits CandySnake” was formed during this period.
G) We put together a full line up a few times but never really found the right singer bassist or drummer. With the ‘final’ lineup of that incarnation of the band, we recorded a short EP, but it wasn’t quite up to our expectations, we eventually went our separate ways a few months later.
P) While the band was over, I wasn’t ready to put the songs to bed yet and I started trying to recreate them on my own in my home studio. After a few months of playing about, I contacted Gary again and convinced him that not only should he get involved, he should also be the lead singer of this project which is not something he’d done before. Cut to 3 and a half years later and we’ve completed two albums, a few videos, we’ve released our second album and we've also started work on the third.
Not bad for two guys who play far too many computer games and have day jobs!
I think the moral of the story is, just do it. If you can’t find a drummer who wants to play what you want to play, program your own drums. If you can’t find a bass player who is reliable, play it yourself as an overdub. The wonderful thing about the computer age is that for a relatively small investment, everyone has access to a very powerful recording studio. You don’t need 4/5/6 people all on the same page to have a band anymore and we’re living proof of that.
What is the story behind the band name?
P) It’s a direct lift from the song 13 days by JJ Cale. In the song Cale describes being on tour with a fictional band called Migrant Worker. It’s one of my favourite songs and I’m a huge JJ Cale fan. He sadly died a few months ago but created some of the best music ever. Everyone should have Naturally and 5 in their record collection in my opinion.
Who are your musical influences?
G) Well, I think you can definitely hear the grunge in our sound, and it’s something Pete and I share in common – I grew up with the 70’s and 80’s rock greats – Zeppelin, Mac, AC/DC, then onto Metallica, Maiden, Priest – these days I tend to go with stuff that reminds me of the late 90’s early noughties alternative scene, alexisonfire, alkaline trio, bigTool fan... anything with an electric guitar, interesting rhythm and a sniff of prog, and I’m in!
P) We share a fair amount of common ground in terms of influences so a few of the first bands I’d mention, Gary has already said. I’m also a big fan of JJ Cale, Joni Mitchell, Elvis, Pink Floyd, early Aerosmith, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson and Curtis Mayfield to name a few. Jazz is also a big part of my life and I have lot of space in my record collection dedicated to Bill Evans, Wayne Shorter, Miles Davis, Dave Brubeck, Jaco Pastorius, Joe Zawinul and many many more.
What makes Migrant Worker unique?
G) I think we put a lot of thought into how a song moves, takes you on a little bit of a journey – something like ‘Can’t Stop the Signal’ from our first album is a great example I think, it starts nice and slow and ambient, to bring you in, and give you a sense of oppression, but all the while it’s building and building and dragging you along with it. We’re also not afraid to completely break the feel of a song in order to create a big impact for an outtro or a middle 8. Definitely those big shifts in energy are something I don’t hear much of from other grungey bands.
Also I sing like a girl.
What are the themes explored on ‘The SuperNow’?
P) A lot of our lyrics are fairly abstract streams of consciousness and we’re big fans of using cut up techniques, playing about with random word and lyric generators and we frequently finish each others lyrics which definitely adds to the abstract quality of them. Quite often it can take a long time before we figure out what we are singing about! We definitely use a lot of rhetoric to make simple points!
Of the songs on this album that we have decoded, there is the slow suicide of a homeless man (“The end is written into the beginning”), the joy of being an introvert (“I’ll be dancing by myself”) and the wonder that is settling down (“Giant act of conformity”).
As for the rest, I’m not 100% sure yet but we’ll figure it out eventually.
How does the new album differ to past releases?
G) There’re a lot more electronic sounds in the new album, with a couple of tracks featuring it almost exclusively, I think it takes the raw ‘grungey’ side from our sound and dials it back from 11 to 10, and that definitely gives it a slightly different feel!
We also tried not to over-write, and intentionally threw stuff together a little more quickly (the songs on the previous record had existed in some form or another for many years) along with trying not to pull too much from our collection of stuff that was already half written – hopefully it means everything sound a little more ‘fresh’.
P) Additionally we’ve written a lot of acoustic songs on this record which is obviously giving up a more laid back sound this time around. As Gary said, a lot of the songs on the last record we’re pulled from our former bands back catalogue where as this record, I think there’s only one song that existed from that era. Everything else was written in the last 18 months and I like to believe sounds a lot more accomplished in terms of songwriting and production values.
What is something you want to achieve career-wise that you haven’t yet?
G) I think at this point we’d be interested in attempting to throw together a proper live act – we’ve enough material and it’s of high enough quality to attract some talented folk who can offer their own versions of our tracks and that’s the interesting part for me – how someone else interprets your parts (and opinions) and brings their own views to the table.
P) I think the same for me. I think enough time has probably passed now that we could start to think about putting a band together to play this material. Being a studio-based project is great for getting lots of stuff done in a short space of time but it isn’t so effective at building an audience. For that you really need to get out there and play live. Unfortunately since there’s only two of us, that limits our options in that respect.