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Page last updated at 06:48 GMT, Tuesday, 16 September 2008 07:48 UK
Arctic Monkeys 'supergroup' form
By Damian Jones
Newsbeat reporter

The supergroup Mongrel which includes ex-Arctic's bassist Andy Nicholson

A former member of the Arctic Monkeys has teamed up with one of his old bandmates for a special side project.

Drummer Matt Helders and ex-bassist Andy Nicholson have joined forces with Reverend And The Makers and Babyshambles to form a supergroup.

The band, Mongrel, have just completed recording sessions on their debut at London's Dean Street Studios.

The record, Better Than Heavy which is heavily influenced by rap, dub and hip-hop, is a politically driven project.

It is due for release on 27 October and the band are planning to hit the road for a tour later in the year.

Back working

Jon McClure, lead singer of Reverend And The Makers and founder of Mongrel, said he was really pleased to see Nicholson back working.

"It's nice to have Andy back doing music because I think he was down in the dumps for a bit after the Arctic Monkeys," he said.

"He is a brilliant musician who has a lot spirit and and a lot of feeling for what he does. It's good to see him indulging himself in some interesting music which is not the music most people know him for but the music he loves.

I got a bit mental when I got down in the dumps and said I was going to quit but I won't, I'll carry on
Jon McClure
Reverend And The Makers

"It was also good to see him and Helders playing again together even if it was just in the studio. There's a lot of chemistry between them."

Although Nicholson has been DJing and following the Makers on the road, this is the first time since he left Arctic Monkeys in the summer of 2006 that he has worked with another band.

Political issues

McClure said he got involved with the surpergroup, which also features Babyshambles bassist Drew McConnell and rapper Lowkey, so that he could give a voice to underground rappers and tackle issues such as the Iraq war and conflicts in Afghanistan.

"It's been refreshing working on this album because it's kind of good to get out of your comfort zone and do something a bit different," he enthused.

"I think lyrically it is so much more combative than anything else that is around at the minute.

"The state of British music bores me to tears and I think it's time we reflected the greater British music scene rather than just middle class indie boys with guitars around their necks."

Reverend And The Makers
Mongrel is the brainchild of Jon McClure
Songs slated to appear on the record include Bar Code, Better Than Us, All You're Ever After, Julian, Lies, The Menace and Alphabet Assassins which features 18 rappers including Skinnyman.

"We all take a letter each on that track and attack the alphabet with alliteration," explained McClure.

"It's the closest thing to punk and lyrically they say things that would never be said within indie music. It's a bit of a bringing for them too because I'm trying to open another audience to hear music they would never normally hear."

'Media control'

Explaining further themes on the album he added: "A lot of the album questions the government and the way the media controls things.

"From there it leads onto foreign policy and the war in Iraq, conflicts in Afghanistan and Palestine.

"It is kind of tackling a lot of hard issues which people since 9/11 have been scared to tackle for some reason."

Despite claiming last month that he would be quitting music after Reverend And The Makers' next album, McClure told Newsbeat he will now be carrying on.

"I got a bit mental when I got down in the dumps and said I was going to quit but I won't, I'll carry on," he explained.

"There's some people I need to put straight on a few things first. I will be back don't worry about that, I'm bullet proof."

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