An Interview with…Nick Mulvey


Since parting from Portico Quartet in 2011, Nick Mulvey has built up a reputation as a solo artist, touring with Laura Marling and releasing his latest single “Nitrous” in September. He’s now coming to Belfast and caught up with the Gown ahead of playing in McHugh’s Basement

You come to Belfast on the 17th of November. Have you been before?

Only once and that was at the Belsonic festival this summer supporting Ben Howard. I had an awesome time that night. It was a really phenomenal gig. It was a big one for me because the crowd was so massive even for a supporting act. They were really amazing.

What music influences you? What artists do you listen to at the moment?

Someone I’m listening to now is a guy called Arthur Russell, and his album “Calling out of Context” is going around my mind a lot. Anything I latch onto with show itself in some manner in my music. If something really catches my attention, that’ll come through somewhere.

What process do you undertake to develop a song, lyrically?

There’s one main process I always go through. I never sit down and think, what should I write about? I start musically. I sit down with a guitar and start forming words with my mouth to fit the rhythm and phrasing of the guitar. I’m solely musically about the writing till a very later stage. Eventually I keep scraping away and then I find the lyrics through that process. I’m always surprised about what I’m writing about. Paul Simon calls it, “being the first audience member”. I let it come out of my subconscious. I don’t think about it too much. That way you come up with much more original ideas and imagery if you by-pass your intellectual approach. For example, in a song called “Venus” I say: “You best believe the better reprieve is always on its way.” And I said reprieve only because it rhymed with ‘believe’ but when I went home to look up the meaning of the word I was pleased to find out, firstly, that it meant “A temporary stay of execution”, and a second meaning was, “A moment of peace,” and the third meaning – and I was stunned to find this out – was, “A musical term for chorus”,” and I sing that line just before the chorus. So that’s a good example of following non-cerebral singing and getting an end result. A lot of people start with the outside world and write a song. I start with the inside and then find out later what I’m mumbling about.

What’s in store for the future?

I just finished recording my debut solo album which will be released next year around Easter and I’ve got a new single which I’m excited about in the New Year. I can’t tell you what it’s called yet but it’s banger…So look out for it!

Nick Mulvey will be playing at McHugh’s Basement on the 17th of November. Tickets available here:


Published by The Gown Queen's University Belfast

The Gown has provided respected, quality and independent student journalism from Queen's University, Belfast since its 1955 foundation, by Dr. Richard Herman. Having had an illustrious line of journalists and writers for almost 70 years, that proud history is extremely important to us. The Gown is consistent in its quest to seek and develop the talents of aspiring student writers.

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