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Interview: Kyle Lee of The Mexican Walking Fish and Gintis

Tell us about the Mexican Walking Fish. 

The Mexican Walking Fish are a country / indie band originally based in Bangor but now we’re all scattered around North Wales. It’s sort of Bright Eyes, Ocaville River, that type of music. We’ve got a mariachi section as well, so it’s very Spaghetti Western.

What inspired you to play that type of music?

To be honest, it was a side project to start with. I’m in another band called Gintis and we were having a little bit of time off. So I had all these songs written that I thought I needed to get a band together to play them. That was it really. As soon as we got a trumpet player, it took on a different direction. I was quite happy to go with the country part but then he added this weird mariachi part to it which just clicks and works.

How long have you been involved in the music industry? I’m hearing that you’re a bit of a music legend in Wrexham.

I don’t know about that. I’ve been gigging from the age of 16, so about 10-11 years now. I’ve done a lot in Wrexham, probably more than any other town. It’s just because they’re so welcoming and there’s so many decent venues here. I don’t know about the legend thing! I used to run a festival in Bangor so that’s how I met Andy [Jones] and I’d sort of try and poach a few bands off him. I’ll ask him who I should get on and he’ll send me a couple of links to people. But, yeah, we’ve been playing here a long time now.

Have you been involved in Focus Wales since it started?

We’ve been to the last three – well, two before this one. The first year I played with Gintis, last year I played with Mexican Walking Fish, and then I’m back here again to play with both this year. It’s one of those festivals that we would be here anyway even if we weren’t playing because it’s very rare in North Wales that you get the chance to see so many great bands under one roof, if you like.

What does this festival mean to you? How good is something like this for music and for up-and-coming acts?

I think it’s probably one of the biggest steps they’ll get. Unsigned bands; you’ll get asked to play a venue and you’re probably going to get 100, maybe 150 people in there. You could play easily two or three years in horrible venues and not get that amount of people. So just the amount of people here that will get the chance to hear your music and also you get to meet different people in bands. Last year we met Darren Eedens, who’s a Canadian. We went to watch him, really loved it and then I’ve been in touch with him over the last year and it turns out he’s going to play with us tonight. So it’s a good way of getting to know other people from not just Wales, but all over the world. There were some mad Japanese and Korean bands here last year and I’ve been to see them since and kept in touch with a few of them. It’s a really good place to connect with people.

Where are you guys playing this weekend? You said you’re playing in both bands?

Yeah, with the Mexican Walking Fish we’re in St Giles’ Church tonight supporting Georgia Ruth. And then tomorrow night, in The Commercial with Gintis, it’s the Bluebottle Veins gig. We’re on at 7:50.

We played The Commercial about four or five weeks ago but with both bands on the same bill. It was good to get a little feeler into it. Dave who runs the nights there is really sound and it’d be good to have his venue very full for him for the three or four days.

So are you looking forward to getting on stage?

I’m looking forward to both gigs. I’ve always wanted to play a church, so I’m really looking forward to that tonight. Just because it’s such a beautiful church as well, and last year some of the bands just sounded 10 times better for being in that church. And then tomorrow, it’s a dirty venue and it’s that sort of place where you get a good laugh in there. People can come and have a dance, so I’m looking forward to that as well.

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About Alex Watt

I’m a writer, not a fighter. Freelancer, NCTJ student and comedian. Write for the Mirror, 411mania, the Denbighshire Free Press and more.

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