Muncie Girls Emerge: Lande Hekt on Touring Japan and Recording "Fixed Ideals"

Since 2010, Muncie Girls have been producing some of the best jangly indie-punk emanating from the UK. The release of their first album, From Caplan to Belsize, in 2016 introduced the band to a broader audience and catapulted the band from the Exeter underground to the stages of SXSW, Reading, and Glastonbury.

With the band’s new album, Fixed Ideals, due out on August 31, we caught up with singer and guitarist Lande Hekt to discuss lineup changes, touring Japan, and Gretsch guitars.

Muncie Girls - Fixed Ideals

Has your songwriting process changed between albums, and are you writing solo or collectively?

The songwriting process is the same actually, I still wrote almost all the songs in my bedroom on an acoustic guitar and then either showed the guys a demo or played it to them. Then we add in drums and second guitar. For a couple of songs, Luke [Ellis] and I jammed out some parts in his bedroom and I had a melody before any lyrics. Picture of Health was definitely written that way.

Up until Fixed Ideals, we’ve always been a three-piece and I’ve played bass. For this record I decided to switch to guitar and we’ll be touring as a four-piece. Consequently, I think the sound has changed. This record is more guitar-focused and there are more layers. Thematically, the record is similar to FCTB, but people have so far told me that the new one is more hopeless than the last one! It’s less overtly political but the sentiments are still there—they’re just disguised in context a bit more.

You recently returned from Japan. How did you find touring in Japan, and how does it differ from touring in the UK and Europe?

We had such a great time in Japan! Because we didn’t have all the paperwork, we went over there with nothing that would lead them to believe we were a band. So, we borrowed guitars every night and bought plectrums and sticks in music shops. It was Golden Week, which is a public holiday, so our friend who organised the tour told us we should get the bullet trains rather than drive because the traffic would be so busy. We left our suitcases in Tokyo and just hopped on trains with no gear everyday. It was amazing! The shows were so fun. The scene is really strong, and people at shows were so enthusiastic and supportive. I’m not saying the UK scene isn’t like that, but we were looked after in a big way!

You mentioned that you have switched from bass to guitar. Why did you make the jump over to guitar, and how does this play out on the new album? Are you playing guitar as well as bass on the record?

Yeah, so I played guitar and bass on the new record which was pretty intense. But live we have our friend Iona from Shit Present playing bass. I chose to switch because I’ve been writing the songs on guitar and it always felt weird playing them on bass.

You’re currently using Gretsch guitars live. Which models are you using, and why did you choose Gretsch?

Muncie Girls

I’m using an Electromatic Bigsby model. I got a Bigsby baritone years ago which I absolutely loved and I think I decided then that I prefer Gretsch guitars to Gibsons.

What should people expect from Fixed Ideals, and what do you think has changed since From Caplan to Belsize?

I don’t want to sound unprepared, but we haven't properly got our set together yet because the tour is not for six weeks or so. But we plan to recreate all the effects we used on the record or near enough. Dean’s the pedal guy and I try and keep it as simple as I can.

What do you hope people will take away from hearing Fixed Ideals?

Well, obviously I hope they like it, or that they find something in it that they can relate to but if they don’t then it’s really not the end of the world. We really enjoyed making the record so we’re pretty happy already.

Fixed Ideals is available from 31st August on Specialist Subject.


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