Page last updated at 12:57 GMT, Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Reverend explains Mongrel mission

By Georgie Rogers
6 Music news reporter

Mongrel's Drew McConnell, John McClure, Andy Nicholson and Lowkey
Mongrel's debut album Better Than Heavy is being released in February

Former Reverend And The Maker frontman John McClure hopes to fuse hip-hop and indie with his new band Mongrel.

The supergroup includes Drew McConnell from Babyshambles, ex-Arctic Monkeys bassist Andy Nicholson, former Reverend musician Joe Moskow and rapper Lowkey.

They have just announced a 12-date tour in February 2009 to promote their debut album Better Than Heavy.

Mongrel are set to play their first UK date on 5 November at the Boston Arms in Tufnell Park, London.

The Reverend And The Makers mastermind has led the supergroup's formation, and explained to BBC 6 Music what Mongrel's music is trying to achieve.

"Politically it's tackling subjects which since 9/11, within popular music, have been shied away from by almost everyone really," said McClure.

"I'm kind of in love with the idea that it's cool to care about the world you live in, the same way it was for Lennon, Marley or Strummer, but unfortunately that's out of vogue at the moment."

I think it's a crying shame because the British music industry seems to be increasingly ghettoised, where white people listen to guitar music and hip- hop's ignored
John McClure

"With British Iraqi rapper Lowkey, I'm trying to give a voice to a section of society that is largely ignored by the by and large. It's the same with the hip hop community, the indie world just doesn't know."

Voicing his opinion on the UK Music scene, McClure added: "It's a crying shame because the British music industry seems to be increasingly ghettoised, where white people listen to guitar music and hip-hop's ignored.

"Unfortunately the music industry's increasingly being run by white, middle class males and while that's the case, these people are going to be crucially ignored."

"I'm trying to fuse those things together and hopefully someone, somewhere will take notice," said the musician.

'He's a genius'

McClure has also enlisted the talents of Malian musician Bassekou Kouyate with Mongrel's title track Better Than Heavy, which McClure wrote with Andy Nicholson.

"I just fancied doing something a little bit different so I invited him to come and play," he said, speaking about Kouyate's musical involvement.

"He was in England at the time and came and played the ngoni, which is a small one or two string African instrument. He's a genius man so it was an honour."

"It's like a dub thing and we had Adrian Sherwood from On-U Sound dub it up so it sounds really cool. I'm really proud of it."

The Mongrel tour begins at the Norwich Waterfront on 1 February and ends at the Scala on 18 February.

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