About + Bio
“Unique is an overused and often misappropriated word in today’s increasingly homogenized world but it applies, with bells on, to Seas Of Mirth” – Just Another Magazine
Seas of Mirth are a salty-smelling mega unit of sea dwelling reprobates with a mighty galleon of sound… landlocked in the East Midlands. Drums, retro organs, guitars, strings and bellows contribute to their invasive noises and the live shows draw you in with the aid of crowd-surfing crustaceans and a cataclysmic tug-of-war. The band feel equally at home in a vibrant, sweat-doused venue than they do on a majestic festival stage!
The ‘Mirth have merrily toured up and down the UK countless times as well as mainland Europe a few times too, namely the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany (including Rock ‘n’ Roll Butterfahrt – a piratical punk congregation on the island of Heligoland!)
Musically, it gets as diverse as a nautical prog-rock party band can get. The folk-based instruments cater for the rustic part of the sound, while the playful song writing and arrangements embrace the wilder element of the music. All marinated in maritime! Lyrically, songs include, for example, dealing with tempestuous sea conditions, gargantuous mythical beasts, mutiny, tales of severe intoxication and the old heart-crushing love song.
Think of it as a sort of truncated nautical B-movie featuring a cast of characters raided from Hollywood’s worst costume department.
Influences/For fans of: Frank Zappa, Jethro Tull, Primus, Steeleye Span, Nick Cave, Goat, Pink Floyd, The Coral, Fleet Foxes, Bonzo Dog Band, System Of A Down, Captain Beefheart, The Divine Comedy, The Destroyers, Gogol Bordello, Half Man Half Biscuit, Flogging Molly, The Walker Brothers, H.P Lovecraft, Moby Dick, Sailor Jerry, Captain Birds Eye…
Festivals Seas of Mirth have played: Glastonbury, Bestival, Secret Garden Party, Boomtown, main stage at Beat Herder, Bearded Theory, Camp Bestival, Nozstock: The Hidden Valley, Alchemy, 3 Wishes, Brixham Pirate Festival, HUB Cardiff, Festival 8, Edinburgh Fringe, Off The Tracks, among many more…
Acts played with: Ferocious Dog, Mark Radcliffe’s Galleon Blast, Hugh Cornwell (Stranglers), John Langan Band, Treacherous Orchestra, The Wave Pictures, Foreign Beggars, 3 Daft Monkeys, Zetan Spore, Jaya The Cat, Cut Capers, The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing, The Correspondents, Professor Elemental, Tantz, Gentle Mystics, Hallouminati…
The new album Hark! The Headland Approacheth is out now on I’m Not From London Records. “[It] blends folk instrumentation and prog-rock adventurousness with worldly rhythms and bizarre sea-based song concepts” – Prog Magazine
“Before you even reach the music Seas of Mirth will bring a smile to your face…” – Bright Young Folk
“You’ll never hear sea-shanties in the same way ever again” – Virtual Festivals
“Raucous fun, musical prowess and thoughtful instrumentation throughout” – Echoes and Dust
“Utterly bizarre… thoroughly entertaining” – The Monograph
“Not your typical sea-shanty inspired band. Their combination of gypsy and punk laced folk will go down a storm at any festival” – Folk Radio UK
“A glorious experience that even a hardened land lubber couldn’t fail to love” – Nottingham Live
“It was okay!” The mayor of Matlock
Seas of Mirth started to emerge out of maritime-based songwriting and rum guzzling which occured in the late noughties between Cannonball Paul and Al Judders. Lots of stupidity ensued, TVs were thrown out of windows, the sound of a pump organ summoned the onslaught of earthquakes and surely after – the band was born. After playing a few gigs in the corners of pubs, caves, house parties and the like, people somehow started to appreciate the in-yer-face erratic nature of Seas of Mirth’s live show. Older sets used to include the songs ‘She’s In Love With A Man With A Hook For a Hand’ – a waltzy love number that progressed into primal chanting, and ‘The Ghost of Tom Jones’ where usually an audience member would berate the crowd dressed in a white bed sheet covered in knickers, and a Tom Jones mask. Early days indeed.
We went on a pilgrimage to Edinburgh Festival those years and honed down the act to some extent, did some street performances and bellowed rather loudly. We got to play with Doc Brown, Richard Herring and Isy Suttie (Dobby from Peep Show), who let us borrow her medieval looking guitar for a gig – well good! …although it refused to stay in tune. We recorded our first release Post-Nautical Anti-Shanties in 2010 at Snug Studios in Derby. The lineup was vox, guitar, violin, accordion, pump organ, bass and djembe. You can listen to the 3 track EP here:
Although we were starting to play at prestigious venues such as Wilton’s Music Hall and London’s SE1 club, we were still blagging it a bit. But it wasn’t too long before we started playing as a full band (yeah, with drums and everything). It happened when we were booked for a gig at Falmouth FXU Students Union. We were struggling to find any decent transport to get us there. A friend of our mandolin player offered to drive us down in his van, on the condition that he played drums. It was a late call, and he had no rehearsals whatsoe’er. Fortunately he pulled it out of the bag and smashed a 45 minutes set in front of a thousand screaming freshers. Good job, otherwise we would have died on our arses.
The band developed more, and by now we had our extended family of members up to the twenties. Although there was 9 in the core ensemble… Cannonball, Judders, Zorba, Mindy & Shitluck, Mantits (now known as Glen Fingle) Mackerel Boy, Rear Admiral, and Sharkey on the Drums. By 2011 we started introducing the tug of war to the live show – damn knows how many injuries have been caused, but it’s the giggles that matters. Perhaps people have found love over a tug of war team-mate or opponent. Who knows… That was the same year we summoned the beast of the giant crab. I remember the gig, it was Headstock Festival (RIP) and most of the band had no idea that the actual crustacean existed in real life. And the dispute still hasn’t been settled between it and our Rear Admiral! Here’s a snap of that gig…
Interesting fact: the girl who made the crab outfit is the daughter of the guy who played Zippy from Rainbow.
We were finishing the writing of our first album that year as well, which we ended up recording at Phil Booth’s JT Soar Studio in Nottingham. Lots of all-night debauchery essentially shaped the sound, and we started to leak a couple of the tracks the next year until it was released at the tail end of 2012. Septopus! was the name of the album (due to the artist failing to draw all 8 legs) and you can listen here:
By then we started to get a proper festival band reputation. 2012 was our first year at Boomtown, which we’ve been at every year since! Then the following year we debuted at Beat Herder, Secret Garden Party, Bearded Theory and Alchemy. Also in 2013 we did our first European stint in Holland and Belgium. A videographic account of that tour can be viewed here:
Writing continued, dreads were cut off, wigs were lost, retro organs were bought, drummers changed, and we took a break at the end of that year to pen down the second album. It’s difficult to write when there’s nine of you, it’s essentially like writing for an orchestra. So it didn’t end up getting completely written for ages. Nevertheless, the gigs kept flowin’ and the oars kept rowin’. 2014 was our first time at Glastonbury, we played the Shangri-La Hell stage on a wet afternoon, to more than 20 people. Which for those conditions, is not too shabby! We returned to Europe that year too, playing a bit further afield this time and plundered Germany for the booty and wonderful grogs. Highlights were playing on the uninhabited island of Helgoland Dune, and getting a shoutout on national German radio!
We recorded the new album at JT Soar as well. We put out an EP with one of the tracks from the album as the lead track, on our new label I’m Not From London. You can watch the vid here:
We had a lot of fun filming it as you can imagine. Glen Fingle has joined the band again since changing his name and ditching the cringeful crooning. Good move, Glen. Listen to the EP here…
And so, the new album arrived! Here’s the artwork by Stuart Faulkner, and a link to the stream too…
We’re thoroughly chuffed with the new record and we are touring it as we squawk. Loving the reactions so far, from press…
“It’s a trip and a blast from beginning to end. Bellowhead is so last year darling, the new gods are here”
– Spiral Earth Magazine
“An extremely refreshing and encouraging type of ridiculous” – Fatea Magazine
“A swag bag full of party” – Leftlion Magazine
“Great fun… irrepressible, with lots of good tunes and musicianship” – R2 (Rock ‘n’ Reel)
“A record that’s unquestionably daft, but also exquisitely crafted, varied, and at times beautiful – For The Rabbits
“A crazed yet fascinating and contagious romp from start to finish from a wildly unique and inventive bunch” – Slap
…and from fans too. If it wasn’t for the fans who do crazy shiz and make us piss our pants in laughter at the shows, this wouldn’t be happening and we wouldn’t be doing this and I wouldn’t be writing this bio. Respect!
If you’ve managed to read all this, then double respect!