Charlie Elliott: ‘I… smoke lots of weed to numb the pain,’ an interview with Lewisham’s most nonchalant musician

South East London’s sexiest band, Mummy, are about to release their debut EP. So last week, as he lay horizontal on my bed sporting a boiler suit and a balaclava, I interviewed their frontman Charlie Elliott. Here’s what he had to say about Nigel Farage, success, and modern jazz.

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Some would say that ex-Metros guitarist Charlie Elliott, having already entered the Japanese music charts as a teen, had already made it. But after making his way to New Cross on a fold-up bicycle, others would beg to differ.

After bounding up three flights of stairs, the accomplished musician perched himself on the end of my bed and agreed to talk to me about his new musical venture. ‘Mummy surfaced last year as Donald McKay finally agreed to play bass.’ On McKay’s style Elliott passionately elaborated, ‘he’s fucking wicked.’

It was only last year that Elliott’s last musical venture, Voodoo Binmen, ended. For three years, the Binmen, as they were so often referred to, graced London with an authentic neo-punk sound. But would Mummy label themselves a punk band post rebranding, ‘I would say our energy on stage is more punk than our sound and or our messages. I write about experiences. I document emotion. However, unlike most musicians, I’m not particularly political, therefore not that punk.’

And so naturally we moved onto politics, ‘I voted for someone to put a bullet through his fucking head,’ when asked if he had voted for UKIP’s Nigel Farage in last year’s general election. ‘He’s the devil’s advocate and that’s not a bad thing. Sometimes, you have to have the opposite point of view to highlight the faults in the favourable side of the argument. No issue is ever completely one sided. Politics is about making compromises and getting the best for everyone.’

Before tackling what would be best for Mummy, the musician fidgeted and pondered. ‘I don’t care about success too much. The only thing I care about is making our gigs as enjoyable as possible for our followers. The majority of our fans enjoy our sound but our authentic performance more so as I think for many artists, performance is a thing of the past.’ After being asked to expand on Mummy’s sound, Elliott proudly said, ‘It’s genuine. However, my confidence on stage is not. I have to drink and smoke lots of weed to numb the pain.’

As Elliott proceeded to roll a joint on my desk, we then briefly spoke about the focus of this interview, music. ‘We’re recording our EP at the moment and it’s really fucking good.’ Elliott follows up, ‘I don’t know when we’ll drop it though.’ The ill-informed frontman then unexpectedly mentioned jazz as he crafted a roach. ‘Isn’t Gregory Porter a great jazz vocalist? I’d say he is the best of the last ten years. I’ve seen him three times and he’s undoubtedly and single-handedly saving jazz.’ Following Elliott’s unforeseen comments on Gregory Porter, he said, ‘My Dad’s a saxophonist and we speak about jazz a lot and we have concluded that jazz is not dying out, it’s just changing.’

And as jazz changes, the dynamics of the interview changed. ‘Isn’t this boiler suit I bought in Sheffield yesterday intimidating? It was only ten pounds. Big up to JJ’s of Steel City.’ We argue for a brief moment. I said, ‘Your boiler suit is unimpressive.’ He favoured a welder. ‘Fuck off’, he said and thus back to Hither Green he cycled.

Mummy’s debut EP is set for release this May. But if you can’t wait until then, catch them at the Windmill in Brixton on March 18th.