The Last Bee On Earth’s debut full length album Prism Break is out in the open right now! So no fancy introduction, just listen to a tune and read the exclusive interview!
The Last Bee On Earth is a very evocative name. When exactly did you first start working on your solo career?
I’ve been writing songs since I was in my early teens. I was always better at creating my own or improvising entire songs on the spot than playing covers. I’d start to learn someone else’s track and it would quickly spark an idea or a feeling of my own that quickly turned into something else, so I didn’t learn in the traditional way, but I absorbed a lot of different music, Delta Blues, house, Grunge, Rock, Jazz which affected my own style.
It’s great to have influences, but ultimately, there’s an original fire in all of us, that’s what I like to play with musically, and in life!
The name came to me from the aether, as most things do. Last Bee on Earth was the whisper and so it had to be that. I knew it would make sense further down the line. You cant go against the flow!
It has a few different levels to it apart from the obvious environmental vibes, I’ll keep that mystery open a little!
Your music is truly the work of a solo artist as it encapsulates your entire world view, philosophy and spirituality…
Thank you! So many people, in this crazy world, try to project themselves as something they aren’t or want to be. That’s not a judgement, that’s how this place works, it’s a circular copy factory! But it’s not how I work. Finding who we truly are and why we are here was my ultimate goal, always has been. I’m just trying to get a feeling across, documenting my thoughts and otherworldly adventures of the Now, like a musical time capsule!
… your lyrics refer to the wheel of life, the duality of man, nature… and you seem to have a pre-occupation with the devil…
I spent a lot of time with Robert Johnson as a kid, that may have had an impact! The blues was my musical start really and still the core of my guitar playing, you can hear elements on the album in songs like ‘White Light’ and ‘Two Wolves’.
It’s all a documentation of my spiritual journey really, themes and ultimately, my experience here on Earth. I look at life from an outside perspective looking in, I usually sit back and let the higher Mike takeover to be honest. He’s a creative maniac, I’m just along for the ride! But we need each other 🙂 Were both from the Stars.
Can you run us through the album track by track?
In the Woods / Prism Break
(it was just a regular day in the forest, until a doorway appeared)
Ebb and Flow
(Quantum Fluctuations in the Aether and coming changes)
(Duality and Fire)
(An important health and safety message about protecting yourself from unwanted forces)
(Duality, you become which Wolf you feed the most)
Here Comes the Wave
(Maybe I’m letting people know about something that’s coming, something BIG)
Which instrument do you write on?
Predominantly on guitar, however when you’re pretty (I guess accomplished is the word) on your instrument I find that can take away from the songwriting.
This album wasn’t about what I can do with the guitar, so that became secondary really. It was about trying to get what was in my head into the physical, so I built some of the tracks up from beats and piano strictures so some of the songs were a little less guitar based.
Prism Break is a lot more “song based” than the Prologue EP and talking of Prologue, ‘World On Fire’ is a huge dazzling song that Richard Ashcroft dreams of making! How, when and why did it come about, It’s very emblematic of your music…
Ah man, it’s old that! It was probably recorded about 2009 when I was just learning how to make my own recordings with a new set up. To me, it sounds very old as the voice has developed a lot in that space of time. However, production aside it does have its place so I’m glad it featured on Prologue along the more experimental chaos!
My mate John asks after listening to ‘The Concept Of Alan Watts’… “Are the philosophies of Alan Watts to you… or did you create music to accompany his readings because his voice sounds like Hal from Stanley kubricks 2001?”
A bit of both! That track was recorded the day after a heavy weekend at Liverpool Psych Fest a few years back. Can you tell!? Alan Watts is a great philosopher so it was fun to create that track and improvise around his voice. And obviously to make him sound like HAL!
Your record and produce your music yourself, right?
I’m a one stop shop! I’ve had to do it this way to keep costs down. I create so much material it isn’t feasible to pay for all the mixing and mastering that would be needed. I’m opening a new studio space very soon with my wingman Craig, I’m really excited about that. I like Air!
I wanted to keep a realism about Prism Break. Its not shiny inside, it’s a shithole! So if anything, I under produced it. Imaginging I was recording in analogue, post blast and technology… Last Bee would use a tape deck not Pro Tools, that’s the vibe (to me anyway!)
It was mostly created in a converted shed… I didn’t want to fully bury that reality!
The next album will sound very different.
You’re also playing with The Winachi Tribe…!!
Yeah man! That’s my full time gig, being a Tribesman. It’s a beautiful roller-coaster, I love it. I get to play with top musicians, friends and to experience collective bouts of rock and Funk madness. What we’ve done in the last year is beyond expectations, It’s like the Funk dreamboat!
How was it playing on the West Coast on tour with them?
Who doesn’t want to go touring Los Angeles and California! We’ve got and have made loads of friends in the U.S. The support for the Tribe is strong stateside and our last trip culminated in supporting The Charlatans at the Teragram Ballroom, working with the X man (John X, Bowie, Black Grape, Inxs) at his amazing studio off Venice Beach. Good times!
What’s next with the Tribe?
I honestly can’t yell you, but it’s bigger than your Average planet and there are lots of amazing, mind blowing things happening in the world of the Winachi Tribe!
How hard is it to balance being in groups with a solo career?
Easy! My music is what I do when I’m not doing anything else. Some people watch TV, drink beer, I write and produce music pretty much all the time. I also teach music so it’s a full time music based life.
It is important to me to get my stuff out to people who want to listen, but i’ve no grand ideas of becoming a solo star, I have too much fun with the Tribe, I’d be bored on my own!
Do you think solo artists are a dying breed?
No. But maybe Solo artists with something real to say are?
Down here we worship on the altars of John Cale, Tom Verlaine and Julian Cope. As a solo artist, which solo artists do you listen to?
Robert Johnson, Ian Brown, Jose Gonzalez, Johnny Cash, Pj Harvey, a mixed bag!
For the tech heads, what guitars and gear do you play?
My main guitar is a 74 Fender Strat with Kinsman Woodstock Pickups, plus a load of blues guitars. My favourite guitar in the world is my new Taylor 322e acoustic, built in the Heavens! It blows my mind everytime I play, touch or look at it!
I’ve got loads of amps but at the moment I’ve gone full Borg and I’m using a Digital Keeper Profiling Amp with the Tribe! It sounds great and is obviously really useful in the studio. I haven’t located it’s Soul yet but I’m working on it!
Prism Break is available right now and we heartily suggest you buy this treasure chest of psych-folk gems!