December/January 2014

by Dedee Wirjapranata

Fresh Talent: Mice On Stilts

by Dedee Wirjapranata

Fresh Talent: Mice On Stilts

Mice on Stilts are a band blessed in many ways. Since their first gig in August 2012, the seven-piece band have become a close-knit unit. The seed was planted when guitarist and singer Ben Morley posted the song Monkey online.

It was a dark time in his life and he was writing songs while coming to terms with situations that hadn’’t worked out. Friends kept asking when he’’d start a band and he eventually came up with the concept in mid-2011. Like all good things, they formed organically through a series of chance meetings.

“There’’s been an incredible amount of luck. We haven’’t really had to struggle to find people, which I’’m incredibly grateful for,”” he says.

The line-up has moulded with the band’s growth. Brendan Zwaan, pianist and newest member of Mice on Stilts, comments on his grafting into the band.

“It’’s a completely new means of expression. I’ve been playing guitar for so long, so this opportunity came up and I just jumped at it. I just love playing piano and it’’s amazing to get back into it again.”

An Ocean Held Me’‘, their first EP, will be out in mid-December. Recorded at Albatross Studios on the North Shore from July to October, it was produced by Tim Burrows, ex-Outrun the Buffalo, who now plays bass in the band. The EP is a credit to them, reflecting an evident passion for their craft. Mice on Stilts feel they have improved immensely through the challenges of recording.

“We’ve had to learn how to be conscious of each other, and how to give room for other people,”” says Ben. “Getting the balance right between a viola and a saxophone was a big learning curve.”

They have a busy summer ahead playing at a number of festivals, and have plans to record their first album in mid-2014. Ben says he is proud of everyone in the band for still being there, grateful to have this band which has become like an extended family.

“One thing I do know, is everyone who’s a part of this really believes in it,”” adds viola player Sam Hennessy. “I mean, in a big way, this is Ben’’s dream, and his baby. I think it’’s a very big tying knot between all of us, because it’’s something we all collectively believe in. When you meet someone like Ben, with his heart on his sleeve, it’’s something that you can get behind and invest in.””

Mice on Stilts indeed. 

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