Review Fix chats with Ashton Nyte and Mark Gemini Thwaite of MGT who discuss their influences, origins in music and goals for the future.
Review Fix: How did you get involved in music?
Ashton: I first heard Elvis Presley at the age of 5. From then it was all the great chess game of life to somehow remove as many non-art-related avenues from my world as possible.
Mark: My love affair with music started as an early teen, my mother had a job replacing the 7” singles in local pub jukeboxes with new records, and she would bring the old 45’s home and I’ll listen to them all. Then at age 15 my best friend Paul ‘Paddy’ Bryan got a catalogue Les Paul copy guitar and I was intrigued, I was just getting into punk and metal in the late 70’s and decided I wanted a guitar too. The rest, as they say, is history..
Review Fix: Who are your influences?
Ashton: Elvis Presley, David Bowie, Kate Bush, U2, Prince, Lou Reed, The Doors, Queen and many others were huge influences in those “formative years”. Anything that resonates with me probably finds its way into what I create. I think Mark and I found a mutual musical bond with Billy Idol, STP, INXS and a host of others you wouldn’t necessarily associate with our music at first listen.
Mark: Many of the same influences as Ashton, they changed over the years… initial influences on my guitar playing were punk rock bands such as the Skids and Generation X, the Pistols of course.. and hard rock bands such as UFO, Sabbath and Rush, and Pink Floyd… Later I expanded my reach into alternative rock with bands such as Bauhaus, The Cult, Killing Joke etc.
Review Fix: Is there a story behind “All the Broken Things”?
Ashton: There is a dystopian undercurrent to much of the album, lyrically. I think it is an inevitable theme, given all the world continues to suffer. All The Broken Things is very much cut from that cloth. We’re all looking for a connection at the end of the day.
Review Fix: Why does Goth Rock matter?
Ashton: Why should it not matter? If you have something to say I feel you should use whatever tools work best for who you are and where you are in life. We both have musical backgrounds in gothic rock, among other genres but honestly just wrote what we write. It’s that old theory of hoping that if we like it, others will too.
Mark: Gothic rock is a phrase coined by journalists… I just find myself attracted to minor scale chord progressions and atmosphere.. which means I love Radiohead as much as I love Joy Division..
Review Fix: What makes your brand of music special?
Ashton: That’s really for the listener to decide. I write and sing from the heart and Mark writes and plays from the heart. Hopefully that comes through. With MGT, we can each focus on what we bring to the party. I’d like to think our work is stronger for that.
Mark: I think Ashtons solo work is great and like to think my solo work is great, but when we put it together… its even greater. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts, as they say.
Review Fix: Why do you think people should enjoy it?
Ashton: If you enjoy good lyrics, good vocal melodies and good music, hopefully you’ll find something you can relate to with Gemini Nyte. It is not a “genre specific” album at all. We do what we do.
Mark: Hopefully there’s something there for everyone… we are working broadly in the ‘gothic’ subculture but definitely stretching the envelope here and there.
Review Fix: How do you want your music to affect people?
Ashton: In a positive way. There is far too much negativity in the world already.
Mark: I always love it when I can get lost in a song or a piece of music that really moves me, and hope that our music has that same effect on other listeners..
Review Fix: What makes this album different from your previous work?
Ashton: This is a 50/50 collaboration between two artists with rather diverse backgrounds. It is the first time I have collaborated with anybody to this extent, as I tend to write and record everything (or most things) with The Awakening or my solo work. The first MGT album, “Volumes” featured a range of contributing singers / co-songwriters. With “Gemini Nyte” MGT has become a band with Mark and I creating and producing everything together.
Mark: As Ashton points out, the first MGT album ’Volumes’ was a collaborative affair with myself and many singers, the only constant being I wrote and performed the majority of the music except for the covers, whereas with ‘Gemini Nyte’ this is a 50/50 collaboration with Ashton, myself writing most of the music and Ashton bringing the vocal melodies and lyrics. On a personal level, I feel ‘Gemini Nyte’ is a stronger and more focused album due to this alliance.
Review Fix: What are your goals for 2018?
Ashton: Play lots of shows and stay healthy. We are both involved in other projects as well. I have co-written 3 songs for Michael Ciravolo’s Beauty In Chaos Project and I have a new Awakening album and a new solo album in the works. Never a dull moment.
Mark: Hopefully some more MGT shows –we just completed a US tour – and to keep myself busy with some other projects, including working on Killing Joke drummer Paul Fergusons solo material, and help out Burton C Bell on the new Ascension of the Watchers album, we played some shows last year.
Review Fix: What’s next?
Ashton: We just finished a west coast US tour with Jyrki69 of The 69 Eyes, so right now some sleep would be wonderful.
Mark: We grabbed some professionally filmed footage of our recent Hollywood show so hoping to get that edited together, mix the audio and share with our fans sometime soon!