INTERVIEW: Nick Mulvey

INTERVIEW: Nick Mulvey
Artist Visiting Cambridgeshire

Cambridge born musician Nick Mulvey is best known as a member of the Mercury Music Prize nominated jazz group Portico Quartet. He gave the group their distinct sound playing the hang drum, an unusual metallic percussion instrument. Fans have a chance to experience his new sound when he plays CB2 this Friday, one of his first gigs since going solo.

The reasons for leaving Portico Quartet were simple, Nick explained. ‘I’m a guitarist at heart and a song writer. I had new songs pouring out of me and no new ideas for Portico.’ Nick made the decision to leave the group last year and played his final gig with the band in May.

Taking up the hang drum was an unexpected though highly successful diversion. ‘I’ve always felt like a fraud at the hang drum,’ he admitted. He said it felt good to be moving back to the guitar which he started playing in his late teens. He was influenced by African styles whilst studying at SOAS. ‘The music I play is where songwriting meets groove-based music,’ he said. The new music is driven by the same musical ideas as Portico Quartet but with more lyrics. He describes the new music as a mixture of Nick Drake, Jose Gonzalez, Ali Farka Toure with a bit of Dr Dre.

This is what those who attend the gig at CB2 can expect to hear. The gig offers a fantastic opportunity to hear Nick’s new material in an intimate venue before he brings it to a larger audience. It’s a new beginning for Nick, which he says comes with a slice of humble pie. He insists it tastes good though and he’s looking forward to proving himself as a solo musician.

He is sure to receive a warm reception in his hometown. He recalls Cambridge as a great place to grow up as a musician with many opportunities to learn and perform. However is happy to be in London now where all the action is centred. He is recording an album with a producer who also comes from Cambridge and is excited about this new chapter in his career. ‘Beginnings are always exciting. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. I really enjoyed touring internationally with Portico and whatever happens I’ll get back there.’

Nick Mulvey plays the basement of CB2 on Friday 1st July at 8pm supported by the Rebecca Heyne Trio and Gil Karpas. Tickets are £6.

Writer: Patrick Widdess