The Tracy Boys

So where does the story begin? The Boys hail from a little known quadrant of a galaxy far, far away, called Bath, England...

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The duo met whilst at secondary school together in the 1980s. Mik - who at the time was consuming a dubious artistic and literary diet of British Heavy Metal, the Bauhaus, Beowulf and Babylonian mythology - was astounded by Jon's falsetto vocals and codpiece thrusting as he strutted around in various drama department productions of Gilbert and Sullivan operettas.

In fact, it was the likes of WS Gilbert, as well as Loesser, Sondheim and Hammerstein, who triggered the start of Mik's interest in narrative song form and libretto. His first pop lyric had been written at age six - two alternative verses for a Monkees number - and by twelve he was penning risqué parodies of pop classics in the back of exercise books and composing lead guitar riffs for his own.

Meanwhile, embryonic illustrator Jon was drawing inspiration from the complete works of Scooby Doo, and moving from an early wax crayon period to more advanced studies in Caran d'Ache. Whilst in the sixth form, a composition of Jon's was recorded by another pupil, Roland Orzabel (later to form another Bath pop duo, Tears for Fears) who remarked that Jon was 'actually pretty talented'. Thus the teenage Tracys' ears were opened to the dual siren songs of art and music - and their feet inevitably followed.

PRE-TRACY CREATIVITY

Having survived formal education, both Boys ended up working in the fields of design and marketing - Jon as an illustrator/designer and Mik as a designer/copywriter. As CGI came into the frame, Jon added animation to his skillset, producing short character-based pieces for clients and developing comic book art styles, whilst Mik was exploring scripts and short stories.

Throughout this period, each continued making music - Jon as a keyboard player, programmer and producer, touring, musical directing and producing bands in various studios in the UK and at his own studio in Bath. Mik as a guitarist, working with young musicians, and both of them exploring a strange, new-fangled artistic medium known as 'the internet'. In 2007 the pair first collaborated as a creative team - on a web project, Cowforce - winning two gold Yahoo! Site of the Year awards in the process.


THE TRACY ERA

In 2012, Mik floated the idea of writing lyrics for some of Jon's daft compositions, and working under the name 'The Tracy Boys.'

As the pair dialogued over several quarts of decaf cappucino, it was clear that The Tracy Boys could not function merely as a band - the potential of the collaboration was far broader, and would require several distinctly different projects to become fully defined. So the duo settled on a 'crucible' approach, which would meld illustration, animation, design, writing and, of course, their new music genre, Intellipop.


ENGLISHMEN ABROAD

tracysThe Tracy Boys are often asked, why create such an English vibe, and not more British or European?

'Well, musically, we're not a couple of Brighton kids trying to convince people they come from Queens,' explains Mik, 'we're actually two awfully nice English eccentrics from the land of Earl Grey Tea and hot water bottles. We grew up with county cricket and queuing, Triumph motorcycles, Times crosswords and John Betjeman. We thrive on those things - So the Englishness of the Tracy brand is purely a reflection and an extension of ourselves'.

This cultural approach resonates elsewhere in the world where there is a penchant for Anglophilia - especially for the nostalgic green-and-pleasant storybook England of rationing, warm beer and Mr Kipling fondant fancies. But hang on - weren't the original Tracy Boys American characters? 'Ah yes, but they were invented by an inspired and intelligent Englishman...'

Like Jo Schwartz in the song Silk Road, the logic of The Tracy Boys isn't hard to understand. 'We're not primarily doing this to make music, or to make art, or even to make money,' says Jon, 'our bottom line is  enjoyment. And when you achieve that, success naturally follows'. So stay tuned... the best of the Boys is yet to come.

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