Wouldn't you like to get to know someone who is smart, sweet, funny, creative, super talented, and of course, 'easy on the eye'? Who wouldn't? --- Well, look no further, Arthur McBain is the man you need to know!
Sure, right about now you're thinking, "What? did I just stumble onto a Tinder profile or something?" But the answer to that, would be no, of course. This is actually a Cool Magazine interview - and even though, Arthur McBain is all of those things we have listed above, he also has one more quality that is required for this interview --- And that is - the man is undeniably 'cool'.
(Bet you didn't see 'that' one coming, did you?)
Ok, so who is this Arthur McBain we speak so highly of? Well, Arthur is a British actor from Lancashire. Yeah, that's pretty cool, but he is also a musician in a band called Midnight Mouth. Did we mention that Arthur writes children's books yet? No, don't think we did... Oh, and he also has his own podcast, makes his own perfume and according to his Instagram Stories, he has even begun making some of his own clothes!
So, that's who Arthur McBain is. Another one of those 'rare to find', artistically explosive human beings that do it ALL! We cannot tell you how thrilling it is to find such talented art types as these. These are the people who make the world so colorful and bright! They touch us with their brilliantly vivid imaginations and bring excitement into our lives! They entertain us and strike emotion in our hearts. They live and breath beauty and intrigue. They are a remarkable breed that can attract and capture that poetic side of us that is just dying to leap out. Personally, we find that very 'very' cool.
So, obviously, we did not just 'want' to speak with Mr. McBain about all he was doing - we simply HAD to. Each of his amazingly creative qualities represent exactly what
Cool Magazine is all about. This interview was imperative.
If the description above isn't enough to pull you into reading the rest of this piece, then maybe the fact that Arthur was in the recent 'smash hit' film biopic "Judy" and worked side by side with 'Best Actress' Oscar winner Renee Zellweger herself, might be the thing that will topple you right over the edge.
Either way, we recommend getting to know Arthur McBain, because we believe we could all use a bit more color in our world right about now!
Cool Magazine Interview With Arthur McBain starts here: Ready... Steady... Go!
Photo: Kevin Voller
Photo: Kevin Voller
First, we would like to say that you are the type of talent that Cool Magazine raves about! A "triple threat", as they say - Actor, writer and musician! Very cool. Tell us, was all of this creativity passed down from family, or are you the first to show interest in all the arts?
"Wow. You really know how to kick off an interview don’t you! Thanks. Well, I am from a family of accountants and scientist-types. My uncle does astronomy and has a telescope so powerful you can see the rings of Saturn with it— I think that’s much cooler than anything I do. Having said that, whilst having a degree in biochemistry, my mum is very artistic. I don’t think she knows quite how artistic she actually is. After years as a science teacher, she now works in textile conservation - which mixes art and science together I suppose.
Thus, I’m a first generation artist. I don’t have any family who have braved the path before me. It can be frustrating not benefitting from the knowledge and network of a ‘family business’. But, the result is that I’ve had to work things out for myself— which I’m proud of— and I’ve had to build myself a second family comprised of friends who are in the business, so that’s nice!"
Everyone's talking about the upcoming series "The Trouble With Maggie Cole" (from ITV1) starring - yes - the Dawn French! What can you tell us about the show and the character you play in this series?
"The Trouble With Maggie Cole is a Drama/Comedy— Dramady?— about gossip. It’s about the fallout that happens after Maggie Cole (Dawn) goes on the radio and is accidentally lured into telling the interviewer a load of unsubstantiated gossip about local residents. It is at times funny, charming and lighthearted, and at other times catastrophic. I have one of the more heavy storylines playing a character called Alex Myer. He is a local coast guard and is keeping some pretty dark secrets which make themselves known as the series progresses…"
So, you have really cool, curly hair and you play the guitar. A style that many rock stars are famous for. You have to tell us the rest of the story. What made you want to play the guitar? What kind of music do you listen to? And what should we know about your band "Midnight Mouth”?
"Thanks for noticing the hair… It takes more effort that I’ll ever admit! Ha.
Regarding my music. Well, I’ve loved music all my life and have always tinkered around on instruments. For a while as a teenager I was set on being a Rockstar, but I got ‘frustrated with the music business’ and retired from the game at the age of 18. Haha. But now I’m out of retirement! Like a phoenix from the ashes.
Midnight Mouth is the brain child of one of my best friends, Scott. He was writing these awesome songs and playing them solo. We had a few conversations about how epic they could be with some extra instruments and ‘soundscapes’. He got Poppy and Pierce (who are a brother and sister power duo) on board around the same time. We have lots of fun and I think that the result is what Scott first imagined. Fun fact: Poppy, our drummer, was nominated for an Emmy last year for doing the sound editing on the documentary Leaving Neverland."
Speaking of music -- we are really huge music lovers ourselves, but we weren't all too familiar with "The Easybeats" name until we looked up the song "Friday On My Mind" and suddenly it all clicked! That's a great song! So, how did it feel to dive into the life and career of Snowy Fleet of The Easybeats? That must have been some experience! What can you tell us about the whole thing?
"Friday On My Mind was a job of a lifetime. Getting to pack my bag and work in Australia— a country that I’d never been to before, learn an instrument and be on set every single day of the shoot. It was brilliant. I made friends for life and we all had a huge amount of fun. I’ve never met Snowy, but he lives in Perth and I was lucky enough to have several long phone calls with him. He was very funny and charming. Like most Liverpudlians, he has a talent for recounting tales. When I first spoke to him he said ‘Do you want me to give you some important advice about playing the drums?’ I said yes, that would be great. ‘Use two sticks.’ He said. That sort of sums Snowy up. Sarcasm and good humour. That’s what I really tried to implement into my portrayal of him. A lot of what ended up in the final product was improvised. We just larked about, and I think that really helped us appear believable as a band.
I learnt a lot on that job (not least the drums). It was my first proper go at working on a television set and to this day I still use tricks that I learnt on that job. The most important thing I learnt was to be wary of onset catering. It’s so good, that you just want to eat it all (you never know when you’ll get free meals again!). As a result of my greed, I once ate seventeen hash browns for breakfast. If you look carefully, you can tell which scenes we shot towards the end of the shoot, because my belly ballooned slightly. Ha."
Now, we really can't ignore that big 'elephant in the room', can we? - Your film credits list that you were in the recent movie blockbuster "Judy", starring Best Actress Oscar winner "Renee Zellweger" - How did that come about? Were you able to meet Renee, or watch her perform on set at all?
"Great film isn’t it! Yes I met Renée plenty and got to see her perform pretty much every day for two or three weeks. I learned a lot from watching her. She was the epitome of what it means to be an expert at something. I also got to meet and spend time with Andy Nyman, who is a personal hero. You know they say don’t meet your heroes? Well, definitely do meet your heroes if you hero is Andy Nyman. He’s a great man.
I play a character called Askith. He was Judy Garland’s double bass player. I had some funny little few-line scenes with another guy in the band (David Rubin), but they were cut out. Such is Hollywood! I can understand why— it’s all to do with pacing, and in order to maintain the intensity of Judy’s struggle, we can’t cut away to a few blokes in the band doing sarcastic throw aways. If you watch really, really closely, you will be able to see a closeup of my straightened hair and thick moustache in a London pub scene. I’m not particularly downhearted about the cuts. It happened to quite a few characters and scenes. The main thing is I got to be there when it was being made. I got to watch Renée deliver an Oscar winning performance first hand. I also made good friends and was able to pay my rent so it’s a win all round!"
You have written and released your own children's book called "In The Dead Of The Night". We think that's so cool! Firstly, why a children's book? and secondly, have you written anything in addition to this adorable little gem?
"I write all sorts of stuff. Scripts, a couple of novels and I co-write a podcast (called At Your Peril— check it out!). It just so happens that my first published book is for kids. I love writing for kids because it’s all about having fun. Even if the subject matter is pretty serious, you still have to make it fun enough for children to engage (for example, In The Dead Of The Night is about facing your fears and to a more subtle extent is about breaking stereotypical gender roles). On top of that, you have to find ways to appeal to parents because they are the ones who will be reading it. I do this by hiding pop culture references within the rhymes. I absolutely love rhyming too. It’s a real discipline. Everything has to scan perfectly, every beat, every rhyme - all whilst carrying a feeling that each line needs to be there regardless of whether it rhymes of not. You can always tell if something is there just because the writer couldn’t think of a better rhyme. I was bad at math at school, but to some extent rhyming is my maths. It’s all about counting, and precision and working out tricky problems. I couldn’t be prouder of the book. I got to work with amazing people like Tom Knight, the illustrator. He’s not only a really nice bloke, but he’s also a complete blackbelt at drawing. And yes! The next book has been written, so watch this space!"
On your Instagram page you posted a while back about the book "Eating Animals" (by Jonathan Safran Foer) and mentioned that you were a 'veggie' at the time. We have to say, that we are strong supporters of a vegan lifestyle - We love animals - and enjoy the healthy aspects of it too. We wanted to ask, are you still an active vegetarian or vegan? And if so, what inspired you to adopt this lifestyle?
"Yes! I mostly eat food that is vegan. I’d say that I am a preferential vegan. I was brought up a vegetarian though, so for me it’s not a particularly challenging diet. I ate meat for about a decade as of the age fourteen, but after getting meat related food poisoning four times in two years, I went back to vegetarianism. It was then Jonathan Safran Foer’s book which inspired me to be more vegan because, if done mindfully, it’s substantially better for the planet. I liked that book because it is fair and well thought out. It doesn’t point fingers at meat eaters or shame anyone (apart from the battery farmers and systems that allow it). We can all do our bit, and the best way to encourage change is to talk and reason with one another. Foer also wrote an incredible novel called Everything Is Illuminated. I’d recommend it. And another great book about the food industry (as a whole, not just meat) is Not On The Label by Felicity Lawrence."
Out of acting, writing and music, which would you say, is the one you hold closest to your heart? The one that truly defines Arthur McBain most of all?
"Well, I see myself as an actor first and foremost. That is my craft and my profession. But I would love to keep releasing kid’s books for as long as possible and continue building a career in that industry too. I fill every second of my ‘actor’s downtime’ with really fun and constructive things and I’m glad that the hard work is starting to pay off in those other areas too."
Photo: Gabriella De Martino
What's next for you? Any projects or ideas in the works?
"Well. Things I can tell you… Up next, my kid’s book In The Dead Of The Night, is being released in Korea! I can’t wait to see the translation… even though I can’t speak the language. It’s having a huge first print run, so I’m very proud of that. And as I said earlier, I’ve written the follow up book, so hopefully there’ll be more I can share about that soon! I’m also soon to be co-directing an animation that I wrote. It’s going to be plasticine stop motion. The process takes so long that you probably won’t get to see it for a very long time! I’m looking forward to seeing how it all works. The script is quite dark and twisted, so I think plasticine animation will yield fantastic results! And lastly, we at Midnight Mouth are working on a new EP, which will hopefully be out in the summertime!"
What's your definition of cool?
"I went to the science museum in London a few months ago and saw a packet of glow in the dark stars in the gift shop. You know, the type kids stick onto their bedroom walls? I thought, why can’t I, as a twenty seven year old man, cover my bedroom ceiling in glow in the dark stars? At what age are you meant to grow out of things like that? Needless to say, my bedroom ceiling now looks like the milky way… So, my answer to what the definition of cool is, is: glow in the dark stars.
I’m being silly. The coolest people I know are those who are passionate about something. Passion manifests itself in many different ways. But a person really caring about something— whatever it is— is deeply and unwaveringly cool."
We don't know about you, but we really enjoyed this interview!
Arthur McBain is 100 percent, genuine COOL in our books! If you feel the same, make sure to tune in to ITV to watch The Trouble With Maggie Cole -- Or if you get PBS in your area, watch out for the series coming soon! Arthur also has an awesome Instagram account for you to follow @arthurmcbain You won't want to miss the new creative adventures Arthur will be on to next!
We told you this guy was cool.
-M & J Shepherd
The Trouble With Maggie Cole airs on ITV at 9pm but if you miss it you can watch an hour later on ITV+1. Or you can catch it shortly after airing on
the ITV Hub.
Photo: Kevin Voller