MJ Hibbett & The Validators formed in 1999, when Mark Hibbett asked Tim Pattison and Rob Fleay to help him record the single "Born With The Century". This would be Mark's first single completely to himself, although he'd had many tracks on other releases such as Fortuna Pop!'s now legendary "Work Is A Four Letter Word EP" (1997) and had been a part of projects such as The Fabians (on Sorted, 1998) and Cha Cha 2000's "Autobahn" single (1995). Meanwhile Tim had toured the world and released several albums as drummer for Prolapse, and Rob had had the Sun newspaper rifling through his bins as a result of his presence on White Town's No. 1 hit "Your Woman".
The trio enjoyed recording the single so much that they decided to carry on and record the album which became 2000's "Say It With Words". A vast cast of characters took part in these recordings, but over the following year the band whittled itself down to a touring contingent of four members, with Tom McClure coming in on Violin and Rob switching from guitar to bass.
During this time Tim got married to Emma, who asked Mark to help her write a song for their wedding. This went so well that before long Emma joined The Validators, just as they were beginning some new recordings. These were undertaken, as ever, with Kev Reverb, Bill Drummond Collaborator and former member of Crazyhead . Halfway through the three year recording process the band released "The Milk & Baubles EP", a combination of new tracks and leftovers from the "Say It With Words" sessions. This saw the band first start to get some media attention, not least with the EP's lead track "Easily Impressed" being played on Steve Lamacq's Radio 1 Show.
It wasn't until 2003, however, when things really began to happen for them. When their second album "This Is Not A Library" was finally released praise came in from all over the world. It was described as 'Literate, sassy, human pop music' by Careless Talk Costs Lives, 'in a field all its own - love it!' by Logo, and Steve Lamacq loved it so much he played a track a day when he took over BBC 6 Music's lunchtime show, and had MJ in to play live on his last day.
Tracks were played on many other radio stations, and the album got an excellent write-up in Rolling Stone's "Well Hung At Dawn" column. This was a surprise, as nobody had sent them a copy, but not as much of a surprise as discovering at the end of 2003 that the column had named them as "Record Of The Year 2003"!
All through this time the band's internet presence had been growing, with favourable write-ups in Splendid, Need To Know, POPEX, The Guardian Online and drowndedinsound. In May Rob Manuel of internet site b3ta created a flash animation of the band's song "Hey Hey 16K" which immediately took the internet by storm. Within 48 hours over 100,000 people had downloaded it, and for a brief time it became the 5th most popular site on the entire internet! A week later there were almost a quarter of a million websites raving about the song, and the band sold more records through their online shop than they had done in their entire career to date.
This year the band release their latest effort, the EP "Shed Anthems". This features five new songs, including their Euro 2004 anthem "The Fair Play Trophy (again)", as well as "This Is Not A Library"'s lead track "Things'll Be Different (when I'm in charge)", with a further 16 bonus tracks on the CD-R extras. Within four days of the promo copies being sent out Mark has already been asked to do five interviews and four or five radio sessions with hopefully more to come. He's also going to be appearing on Steve Lamacq's BBC Radio 6 show every week during Euro 2004 to sing "The Fair Play Trophy" and comment on the week's events.
Web Site: www.popex.com/artists/MARK/