Neil Mahony – Ex Amplifier bassist starts solo project with first EP



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Being that Amplifier was a great influence on my own musical development, and also an influence on some other people’s musical development too, I figured that a short interview with Neil Mahony, their ex and original bassist, and the brain behind some of their best songs, might be relevant.


How's life treating you after the unfortunate and harsh break-up with Amplifier?

Life is good. The break up was harsh and it was a big step picking up my guitar again. It felt like my relationship with music and other musicians had been damaged irrevocably by events involving those people. Like something I had owned since I was a kid was taken away from me. It’s a really difficult thing: like a marriage breakup but where the marriage continues with somebody else taking your place in the bed. I don’t see it as unfortunate though - knowing what I know now about one of those guys in particular means that I couldn’t possibly continue having dealings with him. I have too much respect for myself for that.
 
What can you tell us about your upcoming solo EP "You are the Big Bang”?

I honestly can’t believe I’ve done it. The subject matter was so serious and constantly draining that I often doubted that I would ever finish it. I’m immensely proud of the songs - and of these recordings of them - and I’m just relieved that I managed to maintain the drive I needed to keep it going after the initial burst. They are great songs. I had 8 contenders and the ones I dropped are just as strong as these - the next EP will be just as great. The music is straight from my heart. There are no aesthetic concerns here: fashion and trend did not have any part to play in this selection. It’s just about something being good enough to be shared with a discerning public - these songs are at least good enough. I believe it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done.
 
Do you think that there's any chance that this EP could be as successful as any other Amplifier record?

Do you mean will loads of people buy it? No, no I don’t think so. I’m only doing a digital release, and doing it all myself so I don’t expect many people will even know about it. I will be relying solely on word of mouth for news of it to get out there. I’ve asked friends, and any Amplifier fans I’m still in touch with, to help spread the word if they like what I do so we’ll see how that goes. If Twitter and Facebook and Instagram have any value in the marketing world then I’m about to find out.
 
Anyone wanna publish the EP?

I’m sure if I put my mind to it I could get somebody to release it - but I’m not really sure that I am bothered about that. For me reputation is not a big thing - I don’t really have an issue with what people think of me. In Amplifier there were way too many concerns with how we looked to the outside world: I don’t care how I look to the outside world. I’m not saying I don’t want people to like it - of course I do. But that whole thing of recording DIY in my bedroom, learning how to use compressors or how to sing properly, or hours of learning how to play a part right, I have no problem with people knowing that’s how I did it.
 
Are you planning on recording another EP, or maybe a full length album? It seems as though the age of albums has gone, and we've entered the age of singles or EPs.

Yeah I’d like to do another straight away. I’ve got the songs written so it’s just a matter of having some money come in before I have anymore money going out. That’s an important part of it. I didn’t earn a lot of money from Amplifier - but it’s a lot more than I’m likely to earn from Mahoney. This is a big experiment!
I think you are are right about the age of the album. I’m not sure people have a long enough attention span anymore. Everything you could ever want, anything you can conceive of, is available to you right now. At the touch of a button, it’s just there. Ask and you shall receive - more now than ever before. Who has time for an entire album? Impress me now. In the next five seconds or I am gone forever to something else. Something none of us would have even conceived fifteen years ago. This is how things are now. This is what we are up against. Or what we embrace.
 
Any plans to include other people in your musical endeavors in the future? (wink, wink) :)
Or, maybe the better question might be: "How much has the
aforementioned break-up influenced your relationship with the whole scene, and other musicians on the scene?”


I learned a lot from working with the guys in Amplifier. I couldn’t have made this record without having had the experience before. But the main feeling I was left with from that whole thing was distrust. It’s very hard to get away from the fact that two people who were supposed to be my friends totally fucked me. I had always considered the scene to be a place for kindred spirits: fellow confused and unguided souls with something important to say but in need of direction and support. Turns out just as many people as you’d expect are only out for themselves.
I will definitely work with other musicians again - and if they are far far away from the scene I’m avoiding being part of - then all the better!
 
Finally, have you ever had the chance to hear some of our bands, from the Balkans?

Repetitor! Are they still around? They played at a festival I was at around 2007/8 and they were incredible. Bile and anger and lots of places to direct it. At least it seemed like that to a person who doesn’t speak their language! A buzzing, scintillating three piece with hook after hook after hook. Reminded me of McLusky. And they had a very cool bass player ;-) 

Checkout EP at bandcamp.
 
Interview done by Luka Radulović



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