Berlin based Alt-indie outfit, Mighty Oaks, are pleased to announce details of a brand new track ‘Land of Broken Dreams’, lifted from the band’s forthcoming album ‘Mexico’ due this summer through Howl Records.
Drawing on a myriad of influences from indie, pop, blues and soul, the disparate trio, hailing from America, England and Italy respectively, conjure an undeniable mainstream indie-pop tune, delivered in their own inimitable style.
Ian Hooper says: “Land Of Broken Dreams is pretty self explanatory from the title, it is one of the first songs we wrote for the album when everything was very in the state of chaos and the selfishness and the Me First Attitude was really being put on display by people around the world. You were kind of seeing how different countries were dealing with this unprecedented situation. Some countries adopted a more community driven approach, takini care of their citizens and some other countries like America that let its citizens slip through the cracks and just fall forever. At the end of the day, what does the American dream mean? Does it even exist? Okay, you can go ahead and be angry and cry but at the end of the day what’s giving you this raw emotion is teaching you something.”
He goes on to add: “What makes you bitter makes you wise. I hope you can take something away and reflect on what’s important in life and in a place like America, this Land of broken dreams – as hard as it is to even have an American Dream anymore sometimes just having that dream gets you up and moving forward – so this song is both sides of the fence. it’s a critique but on the other side it’s also giving great respect to the kind of unwavering optimism of Americans which I have inside of me and which I think Germany tries to crush sometimes but it’s a tough time for everybody and we are all on our own at the end of the day and the one who pulls up, gets back on track.”
Their last record, ‘All Things Go’, was released a year ago, and they spent February and March 2020 on tour through Europe. Then – silence. “Corona was on our heels the whole time”, singer and lyricist Ian Hooper recalls. “We had just returned from Norway and a few days later, boom, lockdown!” For Hooper, this was the perfect moment to realise his dream of finishing work on his home studio. “It was the first time since our debut album that I had the time to just write a whole lot of songs for this album”, he says. “And I feel like it sounds so much more like one album than say the last one did – or the one before that.”
Together, the three bandmates and long-time friends decided to record the songs in Hooper’s home studio, together with their producer Nikolai Potthoff and their drummer Joda Förster. Recording at home, in this make-shift basement studio, was a little adventure in itself. How would it sound? “It was a total shot in the dark to record at my house. I had never actually tried it out, to record drums down there, and to track people together. Everyone was nervous, myself included. But it ended up being the best thing that we could have done. There is something about recording at home that brought us back to that very beginning, when Claudio and I started making music at his apartment together”, Hooper says. “I’m the most at peace with myself as a musician than I ever have been before. Recording at home takes the pressure off: our time was our time, we didn’t have to hire a big studio, nobody was expecting anything from us, because we were in a pandemic. We just had time for us.”
And so, MEXICO brings together the best from both worlds: it is as intimate, personal and direct as Mighty Oaks have sounded since when the world first fell in love with them. Yet, at the same time it is a more grown-up record of these three musicians who have found their voices, who have lived life with all its highs and lows, and who do not need to prove themselves to anyone. “The past few months were not easy for anyone. Music has been my outlet”, Hooper explains. His new parlor guitar, tuned a step down and sounding dark and jangly, has inspired many songs and can be heard on almost every track. They chose to rely much less on computers, and more playing together. Fewer plug-ins, more tape, more of a live-sound feeling – back to the roots. Hooper swoons: “The saturated, analogue harmonics sound like a fuzzy blanket, warm, and just somehow more pleasing. It inspired me to keep writing and creating”
Darkness and light, happiness and desperation, they go hand-in-hand on the album, as do they in life. With MEXICO, Mighty Oaks show once more what they do best, and where they are headed. “This is the best I’ve felt about an album of ours”, Hooper says. And if you listen to MEXICO once, you exactly know why.