As a bonus to our #MeetTheFinalSix campaign for the The Underdog: Grand Final, we caught up with last year’s winners MYST to see what they’ve been up to since winning the £1,000 cash top prize in 2015…
★ So, tell us about the band…
MYST are an odd group of individuals, desperately trying to form music out of a cacophony of noises and mental issues. We mostly create songs about the darker, more painful aspects of the human condition, and present them live in a unique and theatrical manner. In short we play our own strange brand of metal.
In a very short time we’ve gone from total obscurity, to being a well liked band in Bristol, with a professionally produced EP, and array of band merchandise, thanks in part to Synthetica, and The Underdog.
★ Can you describe your sound / music to the average music listener?
To quote a listener “like Tool getting gangbanged by Black Sabbath and then impregnated by Jim Morrison” In terms of genre, anything from hard blues rock, through prog, stoner metal, all the way to doom, and the fringes of black metal. An eclectic sound for the curious mind.
★ So one year on – what have you been doing since winning the 2015 competition?
We have recorded an released our EP, and have recruited an artist and a make-up artist into the fold. We now have full branding, and have been played on radio stations all over the country and abroad. We have played sold out shows at venues like the Fleece and Crofter’s Rights, and have now been asked to headline a show on the O2 main stage. Not to bad for a band that, before The Underdog, struggled to fill a 30 capacity venue. Thanks to all the support we’ve received over the past year we are now a professionally ready contender for the national scene.
★ What did you spend your £1,000 prize on?
All of it went on recording our EP at Skyhammer Studio near Liverpool. Chris Fielding, of Conan, spent 4 days with us, producing and mixing the lovely artefact we now have on sale.
★ Have you made it down to the 2016 event? Have you seen anyone noteworthy?
Yes we have, and there have been quite a few notable acts we’ve seen this year, one of whom was also in last year’s Underdog, Stone Cold Fiction. Groovy, bluesy, and always a good show, Stone Cold Fiction are still a solid contender for the top prize, after getting through in the Wild Card round.
Another band that we caught in the early stages were Imprints, with their own energetic brand of shanty folk rock. Getting everyone dancing with their gypsy rhythms, they are certainly a crowd-pleaser.
The final finalist that we saw where Dusted Out, an interesting brand of classic hard rock, desert blues, and heavy metal, with a rather intense lead singer. Having only formed a couple of months before the competition, these guys are in a similar position to where we were last year, and continue to improve a a breathtaking rate.
Although they have a way to go musically, a band that really caught our singer’s eye, with their insane stage show, was Black Wasp. If you like full on psychodrama and blood everywhere, these guys are ones to watch. Being only 16 years old, these guys could be, with a hell of a lot of work, Bristol’s answer to Marilyn Manson.
Another couple of shout outs should go to Everyday Heroes, great live rock band from Wales, and Foxhol, with a raw, honest sound that reminded us where alternative music should come from, and finally, From Idols to Ashes, with their energetic post-hardcore insanity. There have been so many good bands in this year’s competition, so it has been very hard for us to pick many out of what we’ve seen.
★ Have you kept in contact with anyone from last year’s competition?
Yes, we made many friends during the competition last year, Stone Cold Fiction, White Noise Radio, THC Dreams, to name a few. So many good bands out there, and so many good people meeting in the melting pot that is The Underdog.
Most importantly though, we’ve very much befriended the guys behind Synthetica, and have worked with them on many gigs, events, including our own EP launch. Our relationship with them has meant that not only do we get paid, have the opportunity to work with other professional artist, but also get to work with a company that goes above and beyond the call of duty, one that truly loves music, and wants to see musicians thrive and succeed.
★ How do you think winning the Underdog has helped your band?
It has not only put us in the public eye, but challenged us to be as refined as possible, work as hard as we can, and has also meant we have been able to fund our first release, and record it to industry standard. If it wasn’t for The Underdog contest, we would not be where we are now, and we would most certainly not have the opportunities that we will have in the next year or two. We intend to eventually grow to international levels of listenership, and the Underdog has already set this in motion.
★ What can we expect from your performance at the final this year?
Heaviness, loud noises, weirdness and melodrama from our lead singer. As always, one hell of a show.
★ What do you have lined up for the rest of 2016?
We are playing Gryph-Fest, at The Gyphon pub later in September. Come down for 3 days of heavy music. We also have a few other gigs coming up later in the year, just keep an eye on our Facebook for details.
Most importantly, we are going to be starting a fundraising drive, in the hopes of amassing enough money to bring you MYST’s first full length album for some time in 2017.
★ Finally, where can bands hear your music / find out more information about you?
- Our Facebook page for updates on what we are doing, releases etc.
- Our BandCamp, for listening and buying a digital copies of our work. Our Single is still up for FREE/pay what you want, so get downloading:
- Our Big Cartel site, for all your physical merch needs:
- And finally we also have a Soundcloud, for soundclouding:
Words / Edit: Jon Spencer | Images courtesy of: Rob Marsden.