By Pat Gunther
Mobley, like many acts hailing from Austin, Texas, are energetic, full of youthful resolve and lyrically honest and open. The duo comprised of Anthony Watkins and Tim Shelburne is slated for a September 5th show with local act England in 1819 at the Spanish Moon. I decided to give Watkins a call to talk about everything from his writing process to what artist they would resurrect from the dead.
DIG: Considering Austin is a pretty prominent and passionate city, how do you think its music scene compares to other parts of the South?
Anthony Watkins: Austin is a great city with a lot of character. For all its virtues, though, I’d say some of the most satisfying places to play are small towns. The people in those towns aren’t treated to as many options as those in larger cities; they really seem to appreciate the effort touring musicians expend to be there. Also, there’s just something about being in a bar full of 100 or so people who all know each other. There’s a “slice of life” appeal to it — that and it’s fun to be the stranger in town.
DIG: Why do you think Young Adult Fiction is a fitting name for the record?
AW: That’s debatable. As far as my intentions go, I was attempting to give a name to the lies that twenty-somethings of my generation craft for themselves and each other to assuage guilt/anxiety or keep life interesting or who knows what. I was trying to describe something I saw as a dangerous fiction.
DIG: Do you consider yourself a writer of young adult fiction?
AW: Insomuch as I’m a twenty-something who lies to himself and the people around him to cope with the challenges of modern existence, yes.
DIG: What do you think is the most important part in your lyric writing process?
AW: Probably my sixth grade Accelerated Reader program.
DIG: Do you think music influences you more than other mediums of art, like visuals or writing?
AW: It’s hard to say. The way we (or at least I) tend to experience those things is now so immersive and broad. I think I’m most influenced by things that strike me as good or inspired ideas, regardless of what form they take.
DIG: How is your new material different from your other projects?
AW: I can confidently say that it’s the newest.
DIG: If you could bring any artist back from the dead to collaborate with, who is it and why?
AW: If I have to use the my miraculous power of resurrection on a musician, it’s George Gershwin. I’m enamored with a lot of his music.
DIG: What kind of record do you think you guys would make?
AW: I’m not sure. I think it’d be melodic and gorgeous and at least a little populist. His willingness to explore musical idioms that many people thought were “beneath” him was far ahead of his time. I think that attitude (and his prodigious talent) would put him pretty high on the list of “Long Dead Musicians Capable of Making Relevant Popular Music in 2014”. Also, the tour would be dope.
DIG: What should fans expect from your show at the Spanish Moon?
AW: England in 1819 are very talented musicians and great guys. They were good the first time I saw them and they’ve been substantially better every time since, so I have high expectations for their set. I’ve never played with Nice Dog, but I’ve never been disappointed by any of the bands we’ve played with at Spanish Moon, so I’m looking forward to it. As far as the Mobley set, I plan to break out a couple new songs from the forthcoming record. As always, there will be lots of dancing and sweating and crooked smiles.
DIG: Describe a Mobley concert in one sentence.
AW: An hour (roughly) of unabashed, communal exuberance.