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MIGHTY BIG ON EFFORT; INTERVIEW.

Byline: MAEVE QUIGLEY

The weather outside might be frightful but this morning some punters will be waking up with that warm glow, the buzzing in their ears and happiness in the hearts after a top night out.

These lucky folk will have weathered the storms to spend the night in the joyous company of The Mighty Stef who has just launched his new album TMS And The Baptists.

It's the third long player from the Dubliner who is pretty much a national treasure to those in the know.

And the new album is a change of pace for Stef as he drafted in some of his old pals for the record which gave the music a bit of a twist.

He said: "The recording took place over the space of about three days in Berlin last year.

"But my good friends who play in the band Humanzi were living over there all four of them.

"Colm the guitar player from Humanzi used to play in my band - ever since they went off and were touring around, we always said we would love to record something together.

"So we basically picked a load of my songs that I hadn't recorded or that were only half written or whatever.

"We did them and the whole project took on an identity of it's own that didn't sound exclusively like a Mighty Stef record.

"We were just going to call the record The Baptists but the lads thought that saying as most of the songs were written by me it should have my name on it.

"It is different from the other records because there were a lot more people who were really passionately involved in making it."

We Want Blood is the first single from the new record and was written in response to what is going on here at the minute.

And it shows Stef's talents as a songwriter - he has an innate ability to hit the heart with the things he sings about.

But he doesn't want the song to come across as big political posturing - it's people not politics that interests this big-hearted rock rebel.

He said: "I am not very political and most of my politics would come from personal relationships and more on a social level.

"One of the key sentences in that song is "Is my daddy going to have to work until the day that he dies just like he said that he would?"

"And that comes from my dad who is a taxi driver and was saying that as his time of life he was hoping to have an easier time of it and he now feels he will have to work until the day he dies.

"That made me really depressed and when when I wrote that song things weren't nearly as bad as they are now.

"It almost seems irrelevant in it's subtlety at the moment.

"We have started the tour and it has been getting a great response - you can tell the lyrics mean something to people.

"But at the same time it's only a f*****g song, how far can a song go?" Saying something is better than saying nothing though and Stef always has plenty to sing about.

He's been ploughing his own furrow for a long time and is a man of action, creating his own record label The Firstborn Is Dead to release his own record and those of some other worthy bands.

Stef knows how hard it is to be a musician as he experiences it first-hand - but that's not going to stop him.

He said: "I have never really made anything more than a very modest living out of music and I don't know how radically that is going to change over the next while.

"I have already seen it changing at grass roots level and it is almost like I am fighting against the tide.

"I am getting a little bit more of a profile bit by bit. I am doing it myself and as much as the economic trend will try to drag me under I will fight against it.

"It's what I want to do and it's the only think I am really qualified to do the only thing I am really qualified to do so if I can't do this, I can't do anything, you know?"

Sometimes there are hoards of musicians on stage and in the studio, at other stages The Mighty Stef is Stefan Murphy on his own. And Stef thinks the chopping and changing helps to keep things moving.

"The whole project exists as long as I am there to keep it in existence. "So there is no end to it - I am compelled to keep going through hell or high water.

"I honestly believe that over time I have learned how to entertain a crowd and keep people entertained.

"You have to spread your wings a little bit further than here.

"And I do it cos I love it and that's the reason for it and why I would find it difficult to fall by the wayside.

"All I want for the new album is for it to be is the next step in the hope that with in true keeping with steps, they all continue to go upwards.

"Most times when I do play a gig whether it be big or small you can always tell if people are enjoying themselves.

"And that's the bottom line for me - that means everything.

"I just want to be doing something that people actually enjoy."

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NEW RELEASE The Mighty Stef
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Dec 3, 2010
Words:932
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