THEY helped kick-start brit-pop, counted Morrissey as one of their biggest fans and played on the main stage at Glastonbury, but after three cult albums, My Life Story split up in 2000. Now, 15 years since the release of their debut album Mornington Crescent, singer Jake Shillingford is preparing for the band's reunion gig at the album's spiritual home, Koko, in Mornington Crescent. "I'm really looking forward to it," he told the Informer. "It's quite selfish really – as much as we want to do it for the fans, the people who were so good to us back then, we also want to see each other again. And not just the few of us in the band, the whole orchestra, the people behind the scenes..." Literally one the biggest bands of the mid 90s, their chamber orchestral twist on indie-pop resulted in a touring band that reached double figures. "I suppose the fact that we had the band and were that bit different means that we've stood the test of time – people still want to come and see us. When we played the first reunion show [at the Astoria, in 2006] I'd prepared myself for the musical side of things – we knew it was all sounding great – but I what I wasn't expecting were the emotional aspects. Looking out there and seeing how emotional the crowd was – it really got to me." After Mornington Crescent the band went on to release the iconic The Golden Mile, which spawned hits including 12 Reasons Why, Sparkle and Strumpet. Their last album, Joined Up Talking, was released in 2000, before they called it a day. "We just felt like we didn't have any more to offer, it wasn't because we had a falling out or anything, which makes getting together for these sort of shows really easy." Since the band split, Jake's released two electronic pop albums as ExileInside, on his own label Eilophone Records – a sneering nod towards My Life Story's former bosses Parlophone. He also works as a music industry consultant. "I've always been very aware of the need to keep up to date with people's listening habits – not just what they're listening to, but how. It's a strange time for music at the moment." He doesn't say this lightly – in 1998 the band secured their place in musical history by releasing the first ever download only single, If You Can't Live Without Me Then Why Aren't You Dead Yet? If this is part of their musical legacy, what were Jake's personal highlights? "Meeting Barry Manilow was quite funny," he laughs. "And Morrissey used to come to a lot of our shows. Hanging out with him was great because he was a bit of a hero of mine. Recently 12 Reasons Why was used in a Sarah Silverman advert, and it was great to hear our songs still being used. And being in a Cynthia Platercast exhibition too – it's not very often you get to be in an exhibition alongside Lenny Kravitz! But the rock n roll elements too – we had lots of crazy rock n roll moments. Before britpop took off, in '94, we has Oasis supporting us and that was quite a mad time." So what can we expect from the anniversary show next week? "When you record an album, you're only thinking about how it's going to sound on a bit of plastic, in someone's house, not live, so we're not going to be playing it in order, but we will play all of it. Then we'll go off, and if people haven't gone home we'll play some of our other songs. I'm really excited about it and hopefully it'll be a great night for the fans who've been so loyal to us." My Life Story play at Koko on November 26. For tickets visit www.seetickets.com
INTERVIEW Jake Shillingford of My Life Story
They helped kick-start brit-pop, counted Morrissey as one of their biggest fans and played on the main stage at Glastonbury but after three cult albums My Life Story split up.