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Listings for March 4th, 2016

APPEARING ON Friday, March 4th, 2016

Mechanical Owl [+]

free entry before 10pm…£4 after


In 2007 Mechanical Owl was the solo bedroom recording project of Mike Payne. Described amongst other things in the Leeds music press as “folktronica”, the first recordings mixed live acoustic instruments with sequenced sounds and melodic vocals into oddly structured songs. Later on in the year, and having moved back to his parents’ house in North Wales, Mike had the space to make more noise, and after buying some microphones and a drum kit off a friend he began recording indie rock songs in the room his Dad kept his penguin books collection. The songs still contained electronic elements, but Mike also adopted a more traditional song writing style, taking influence from the music he grew up listening to in the 90s and 00s. Eventually those recordings grew into the first online and physical self-release called “Snowdonia EP“.

The EP gained fans, favourable reviews and attention from radio DJs including Steve Lamacq, Adam Walton and Bethan Elfyn. A band was soon assembled and live shows were played in Northern and Southern UK cities. After a few years of playing clubs and festivals, and a failed attempt to record an album, Mike decided to implement “the backup plan” and go back to university to study a Masters in Computer Science.

After a 3 year break from Mechanical Owl and about to turn 30, Mike started to think about writing songs for the project again. This time with the goal of a creating full length album. During the time away from music, it had become very important to finish a complete musical work, and having obtained a fresh work ethic, it seemed completely possible. Recording guitars, vocals and other sounds began quickly at home, with drums played and recorded in Full of Joy Studios near Mold, with Tim McIver (Golden Fable) engineering. In the gaps between work and life, the album started to take shape. With help from Drum With Our Hands in late 2014/early 2015, the album was finally mixed, mastered and ready for release.

Now, with a new live band, Mechanical Owl has been re awakened with a fresh spirit. Work on the next album has already begun, with new material and the pick of a 7 year backlog of demos, ideas and full recordings. “Winter Songs” is a line in the sand, chronicling the last few years and signalling a new found intent to release and play heartfelt music again.