story / Angie Piccirillo
photos / Mary Ellen Matthews
Often a band’s first album is a series of songs that are sometimes still searching for their “sound.” Though indie rock band Misterwives released a pretty stellar collection back in 2015 with “Our Own House”, it was definitely right smack in the middle of the “indie rock” genre and practically nothing else.
With every new release comes a new sound, perhaps a new genre discovery, or just the collective sounds of various influences pushing the band to its next level. For Misterwives, their new single, “Machine,” is the next logical step with their sound: a grungier, dirtied up set of sonics, making for a grittier pop tune with hints of punk and edgy darkness.
Frontwoman Mandy Lee has said in the past that the group has “no boundaries” on their music, and there’s no doubt that this applies to the new single. Though Mandy says the subject matter from the last set of songs to the new, has remained mostly the same — she says, “Machine” definitely carries a dirtier tone than any of the songs off our last album.
“Our Own House” was sweeter, even if the lyrics were talking about similar issues. We cranked the distortion, threw in some sounds that make you think aliens are invading planet earth and ran with it.”
Perhaps lending a hand to this edgier sound, when asked what inspired Mandy to write the song, she says, “Hearing the words “your album is dead” when never given the chance to let [it] live or being told to “follow the playbook” will definitely ruffle your feathers and give you endless material.”
With “Machine” being the first single off the new album, for those of us who loved grunge rock of the 90’s a la Shirley Manson in Garbage, there’s hope for more favorite tunes to come. If the other songs follow suit — it’s doubtful that anyone will ever claim that their album is “dead.”
Take a listen to the tune below, and check the Q&A with Mandy. Misterwives will be supporting Panic! At The Disco’s “Death of A Bachelor” Tour starting next week.
You’ve said in the past that you have” no boundaries” with your music, would you say that “Machine” is a bit heavier sounding (dusty drums, reggaeton beat) than any of your past stuff?
“Machine” was one of the first songs I wrote for the record and at that point I was just getting back into the groove of writing. I was trying my best not to overthink it, which is why it was so fun to just dig in rather than get caught up in what our sonic direction should be. I’ve always been drawn to reggae and dancehall which is why when I first sat at the piano the rhythm of the melody naturally drew from those genres. The message held a heaviness to it and naturally, the instrumentation followed.
You’ve also said that all your songs have “good messages” — would you say that applies for everything on the new album?
I would hope our songs always have a good message so no, we did not go to the dark side…YET! muhahaha! 2016 was a rough year and if anything all the hate and bigotry that came out of it left us no choice but to combat that with songs that sing of love, equality, acceptance, and hope.
What is the meaning behind “Machine”?
You don’t want to be part of the Machine. Whether it be an industry or society or anything that oppresses one’s individuality and true self, you should never allow anyone or anything confine you to their liking. You do you honey boo boo<3
With every new album comes growth and a possible new sound — What would you say is new and different about your new songs to be released in 2017?
On this record we really got to create our album from the ground up and hone in on who we are as a band. It was incredibly inspiring getting to write and record without any limitations. From creating “Band Camp” (we rented a house in Woodstock and turned the living room into a recording studio) to getting to create with the legend-ninja-jedi-producer Butch Walker who taught us to unlearn the idea of a flawless recording and celebrate humans making music aka imperfections welcome! Whether it was sonically or lyrically, we allowed ourselves to go to unknown territory and fully embrace it. On “Our Own House” as much as it will always hold a special place in our hearts, we were just getting our feet wet as a band and slightly stayed within our comfort zone. For our sophomore album the voice of the late great David Bowie constantly echoed, “If you feel safe in the area you’re working in, you’re not working in the right area. Always go a little further into the water than you feel you’re capable of being in. Go a little bit out of your depth. And when you don’t feel that your feet are quite touching the bottom, you’re just about in the right place to do something exciting.”
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