Guest contributor Ryan Quint talked with Will Hehir of MisterWives about their upcoming LP, life on the road and much more. MisterWives, made up of Mandy Lee (Vocals), Etienne Bowler (Drums) and Will Hehir (Bass) began making music together in late 2012. They played their first show together in February of 2013 and signed to Photo Finish/Republic shortly after.
Although a new band, their sound was focused and self-assured, quickly earning them a slew of blog love, including early nods from Pigeons and Planes, Earmilk, Neon Gold and more. In October, the band hit the road with Half Moon Run on their first national tour. The tour ended with a two triumphant sets at last year’s CMJ before heading out for a six week stint with American Authors & The Royal Concept. They released their debut EP “Reflections” this January and were featured as the first iTunes “Single of the Week” of 2014.
The lead single “Reflections” now boasts over 1.5 million views on Youtube and has reached the Top 40 Billboard Alternative Chart — as the band continues to tour in between writing and recording their much anticipated debut full length album.
Conversation with MisterWives | by Ryan Quint
Ryan Quint (RQ): First off, happy Thanksgiving and congratulations on all of your recent success, from the “Reflections” EP to the tour with Twenty One Pilots. How did you guys spend the holiday?
Will: I spent some time with my family and Mandy cooked a huge meal for herself & Etienne & their families in our apartment in Riverdale. We actually spent last Thanksgiving on the road and Mandy somehow miraculously cooked a huge feast for us in our hotel in Columbus, Ohio.
RQ: Let’s talk about your upcoming debut album. You have been in the studio for some time now writing and recording it; what is the current status of the album?
Will: The album is basically done. We’ve tracked pretty much everything. We’re looking at a release date around the beginning of the year with a pre-release hopefully starting in January and then a formal release in mid-February.
RQ: Do you have any plans for a single?
Will: We’ll probably have a single released towards the end of the year or during the pre-release and then more songs will begin to come out in January.
RQ: Can the fans/public expect a similar sound as your EP on the new album?
Will: We’ve been describing the project as Misterwives 2.0. When we first started doing the EP we had the idea that they would just be demos so we recorded them all in Etienne’s bedroom, but this time around we were able to do everything with the producer of “Reflections” in an actual studio. Our sound has definitely graduated as far as production quality, but as a band, everything has gotten a lot tighter. We’ve had the luxury of being on tour for the majority of 2014, which has definitely helped. With that being said, we’re really, really excited for this new project.
RQ: Did you get to record any music on tour with Twenty One Pilots?
Will: We didn’t record anything, but our trumpet player, who also plays keyboard, accordion and glockenspiel, would go on stage and perform one song with them each show, which definitely helped bridge the gap between our band and their band.
RQ: “Reflections” is in the Billboard Top 40 of both the Alternative Radio and Audience-Driven Alternative Songs charts, one of Mediabase’s forty most-played alternative songs, and has over 1.5 million views Youtube. Did you ever expect this much success?
Will: (Laughs) No. We basically wake up every day like, “What the hell is going on?” When we started playing together we loved it so much that any potential success was in the back of our mind. I think we were trying to get past the fact that everything gelled so well and we were having so much fun with each other that we didn’t think so much about the potential success as much. It’s definitely a shock. We take it as it comes and we’re so grateful for everything. We really can’t express the level of gratitude for each and every person supporting us; it’s incredibly humbling. I don’t think we’re capable of getting an ego after seeing people sing the words to our songs in 5,000 person venues on tour with Twenty One Pilots.
RQ: It’s good to hear that you appreciate everything and do not take it all for granted, even though the success is coming so quickly.
Will: I was just talking to Etienne about what Sundays used to be, dreading work and the end of the weekend, and now we’re like: “Ok, let’s jam for a little bit tomorrow. Yea that’d be a productive day.” We’re definitely in awe of it all and extremely grateful for everything that’s happened.
RQ: You guys recorded the single four times. What did it originally sound like?
Will: It sounded really different at first. We recorded it when we first started playing together back in 2013. It was one of the first songs we ever recorded. We actually left it for a little while, then went back to it, but couldn’t capture the right energy that we were going for. When we sent it off to the producer, Frequency, he took it over the edge. That song really reflects our relationship with Frequency. We had the meat and potatoes of the song and he threw in a few ideas with the melody and harmony and it’s been an absolute pleasure to work with him.
RQ: Did you know the fourth time was the charm?
Will: We really took our time and definitely don’t half ass anything. When he sent us a mix of the song, we had a few notes for him, and we obviously weren’t a huge priority at the time, so we were just patient with everything. He sent us the final mix back about three weeks later and once we heard it, we knew it was exactly what we wanted. We are definitely proud of the “Reflections” that everyone hears today. There was a ton of time and energy put into getting it to that level.
RQ: The cover of the “Reflections” EP is very unique. Can you explain the significance of the gramophone with the different animals?
Will: We were trying to figure out a cover art while we were on the road and we came up with the idea to incorporate each of our own individual spirit animals. Mine is a dinosaur because I’m basically a five year old trapped in a 26 year old’s body and I love dinosaurs. Etienne’s spirit animal is an octopus for a variety of reasons. His favorite number is 8, his nickname is 8 and he was born in October so he’s all about the octopus. Finally, Mandy’s animal is an elephant. It’s a majestic creature and she can definitely relate to the nurturing nature of the elephant. The hummingbird was just thrown in there and then the gramophone is obviously not only a reflection of the music, but also the way that we view music. The gramophone represents a time when music wasn’t overproduced. When we recorded our EP and album, we made sure to use live instruments and have a real authentic musical feel, which is represented through the gramophone.
RQ: Can we expect similar artwork for the album?
Will: I can’t say too much, but what I can say is that it’s basically a Misterwives 2.0 cover. It will be a more evolved version of the first cover. The spirit animals will still be represented, but in a different way. We’ve been working with really great photographers and artists and we’re really excited about that.
RQ: When the album drops, do you plan on going on a headlining tour?
Will: Yes, we are currently working out the details for a headlining tour. Were not 100% sure on the timing of everything. The way we always envisioned everything was to get the album done, then do a headlining tour, but basically be on the road as much as possible. It’s so much fun working on the album and recording new music, but our heart is really in the live show and performing the music, meeting new people and personally showing our gratitude to everyone who’s supported.
RQ: Do you still expect Mandy to cook for the band as you continue to grow?
Will: I’m always very hopeful of that. I’m grateful for every meal that she cooks for us and fortunately she does it a majority of the time on tour. So I hope she continues to cook for us because even as we grow and can afford to eat wherever we want, it still wouldn’t be as good as Mandy’s cooking.
RQ: Favorite recipe of Mandy’s?
Will: Does Thanksgiving count as a recipe? All of that stuff. If I could eat what Mandy made last Thanksgiving for us everyday, I’d probably be really happy… and about 700 pounds.
RQ: (Laughing). Thank you very much. Good luck with everything moving forward!
For more information visit Misterwives.com.
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