When Mikey Bee was playing a solo show in Australia, film-maker Taylor Steele happened to be in the audience and was intrigued by the performance. The film-maker approached the musician with a different way of writing songs. “How would a song sound from a man sinking into the ocean?". The musician answered with a song washed with anticipation, determined lyrics, and denial. A discovery of new music was explored.
Together they pushed the idea of a song telling a unique story while being part of a visual story, played out over an album which came to represent life’s cycle - a journey from one side of the day to the other, as much as from one side of life to the end.
The band name came about when Mikey and Taylor were thinking about what experience they were trying to create with the music. “We wanted something bold, ominous but also simple and stoic. There's a mountain close to where we were working, it’s the first place to see the sunrise in Australia, the first place the sailors would see from the ocean and when they saw it, they knew they were close to Point Danger, a reef that would ground them if they didn’t turn east”. Bold in nature, ominous in name and simple and stoic to view, the name MT WARNING was agreed upon. It also conveniently shares their initials in the title, hence the pronouncement M, T, WARNING.
Mikey would piece together the compositions during late night sessions in a beach shack studio. He'd put the songs together by jumping around the room from guitar, to piano, to drums, to bass. And by sunrise each day, Taylor would have something to make new notes on. He would check that all music, lyric and tempo were still telling the story each song was supposed to; from the feelings of big dreams in youth to the realisations and heartbreaks of old age, and all the emotions in between. Those recordings became the album, Mikey adding Tori Lee's vocals to some tracks and had drummer Grant Gerathy overdub Mikey's random drum technique.
When it came time to recreate the songs live, Taylor's history in punk rock and film making challenged, coached and directed Mikey from side-stage to engage fully with his audience and letting his education in rock pubs come to the fore with a fury. Holding steady and defined for the intimate moments that appear on the record, to near destruction of stage and guitars in the heightened break out moments, with visuals created by the two projecting on the back of stage to enhance the experience for both the audience and the band.
The outcome is dynamic, an album that is visually thick, sonically sprawling and lyrically subtle in the most poetic sense. A recording of the interactions between us, what lies just beyond and utilizing music as the movie.
‘Midnight Set’ – all songs by Mikey Bee, Produced by Taylor Steele