Momentum is gathering around Liverpool DJ/artist Mentis and his debut single Excuses which was recently released on Columbia Records UK. The single, which features vocals by Kate Wild with thumping kicks and a catchy M1 synth top line, is reminiscent of classic 90s house anthems. There are momentous times ahead as Excuses seems destined to become the soundtrack of the summer.
“It’s just seemed to really take off,” Mentis told me, “especially with the weight of Columbia behind it, now. When it came about, I was with (Liverpool label) Sinister, who’ve been great as well. But, once Columbia came in, I just had to go with them, they’re huge. Now, you’re talking about different levels of interest. They’ve been fantastic, quite personal, as well, which you don’t always get with big companies, so it’s been great.
“Once Columbia came in, you’re talking different levels of interest”
“A little bit of a cliché but it’s a been bit of a whirlwind, to be honest. It all seems to have happened so fast and it’s a bit surreal. Kate Wild was excellent. Kate did a really good vocal for us. We were just in the studio having a mess around and we got this vocal which just felt great, straightaway.”
With the support of Columbia, Excuses has been receiving radio play, including BBC Radio 1’s Party Anthems, and the track has done well with Shazam since its release. It has been building week on week and is currently sitting in the Shazam Top 40. Excuses is also massively reactive on DSPs, peaking at No.1 on the Apple Dance trending chart, entering the Spotify viral chart and already hitting the Top 40 on both iTunes and the Apple Music UK charts.
“It’s got a lot of radio play,” Mentis agreed, excitedly. “Capital were big supporters of it, it got quite a bit of Radio 1 and Kiss FM coverage and we ended up on the Shazam chart! That plays a big part in the music industry, now, the big labels tend to lean on that quite a bit. It’s like a live survey of the track to see how popular it is. It’s really taken off on that.”
A lyric video for Excuses has also been released and the track’s lyrics were recently blown up and projected large across various iconic Liverpool landmarks including the Liver Building, Tate Liverpool and The Cavern Club.
“As a born and bred Liverpool lad, who went to school in Kirkdale and spent many a night clubbing in Cream nightclub, it has been amazing to see the lyrics to Excuses blown up huge and plastered across the city in the past few weeks. It felt great to finally get the single out there properly and to hear it all over the radio.”
And, of course, Mentis agrees that Liverpool’s huge musical heritage rubs off on the city’s young musical talent.
“Oh. It does, yeah, absolutely. The city’s all about music and it always has been when we were growing up. There was The Beatles’ era and, as we were a bit younger, there was a big club scene up here. We’ve always had a lot of successful musicians in different fields, especially in house music, the likes of CamelPhat, it’s always been really big in the city.”
It was against this more recent musical background of clubbing in the city that Mentis picked up his musical influences.
“Initially, it was through my older brother who’s about 7 years older than me. He was on the club scene and he used to bring a lot of mix-tapes home for us, live mix-tapes from some of the big clubs up here. At the time we had Cream, in the city centre we had the 051 and Paradox. The clubbing scene was really quite vibrant back then in Liverpool.
“My other brother, who’s my age, and I would sit and listen to all the old mix tapes. This was my first real influence into it.
“With my older brother, we’d have a mess around and he taught us a little bit on his set of decks. I got my first set of decks when I was 15, with my other brother, a set of belt-drive turntables from Argos for about two hundred quid that I used with old-school vinyls. We learned on them and then got some proper Technics direct drive turntables, a bit more expensive and it grew from there.”
Columbia have now released Mentis’ follow-up single, a remix of the James Arthur track, September, with more tracks waiting for the green light from the record company.
“At the moment we’ve got a couple of other tracks ready to come out and we’re also starting to get a few DJ-ing gigs in, so that’s really encouraging. The first as Mentis will be at New World in Essex on the 7th August. I’m really excited about that one and there are a couple of gigs in the North West, hopefully in the pipeline, so watch this space!”