Me, May and the Mystery Cats
Before headlining the third Beautiful Town Music Presents, we caught up with local favourites Dulcie May and the Mystery Cats who blend jazz and folk to discuss the music scene in Canterbury. The Mystery Cats present were Josh Allen, Ashley Smith, Elisha Firmin and James Rowdon.
Q: What are your influences?
Elisha: Marvin Gaye and Kimbra are influences for us. We do a lot of covers like the song Sway.
Dulcie: I thought Led Zeppelin were influential. I don’t know if it comes out in most of our songs, maybe in the more folky ones.
Q: On the Dulcie May Facebook page, you describe your sound as fusion, what do you mean by that?
Dulcie: Well everyone in the band has different tastes so we each bring something different to the music but I would say it’s largely funk soul.
Q: Did you have a musical upbringing?
Elisha: I played saxophone since I was 6 and completed a music degree.
Ashlee: I started playing bass when I was 16 and went to uni and here I am.
Dulcie: Josh’s family are all musical.
Josh: Yeah my family is a bluegrass band which is pretty different to what we do but it’s still music.
Dulcie: I’m the only one with very little music in my family as my mother plays guitar and piano a bit while my grandfather plays piano, not sure how well.
Q: What is your song-writing process?
Dulcie: I write poems then I write melodies then I just play them on guitar. Simple as that. I then play them to these guys.
Q: Where did you form the band?
Dulcie: Well I’m sort of the leader of the band and just get musicians to come along and play with me, like Elisha is the newest member to the band so I go through a lot of line-ups as its difficult to find the right arrangements as even if a musician is amazing, when they play with you it sometimes just doesn’t feel right.
Q: What has been the highlight of your career so far?
Dulcie: Playing the light house last night was pretty fun.
Elisha: It was very interesting, I got to know one of the audience, and she was a very drunk woman who basically told us her life story.
Q: What is your view on the Canterbury music scene?
Dulcie: It’s buzzing, we’re a big part of the Canterbury music scene. I run a jazz jam at Bramley’s every other Tuesday where we play slightly jazzy music. We get loads of amazing musicians playing so it’s a great night.
Q: What are your plans for the future?
Dulcie: We’ve got loads of gigs over the summer at like private parties and weddings along with a few gigs. We’ve got one on my birthday at the Ballroom along with a band called Paisley Mess on April 30th.
Stones or Beatles? Beatles.
Dylan or Springsteen? Johnny Cash.
Prince or James Brown? Prince.
Oasis or Blur? Blur
Interviewed by Matt Byron