Interviews

MisterWives in Conversation: Perfect Pop with Intention

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If you would have told me I would get to interview a really notable pop band in a hotel suite, I probably would scoff at you. But I did get to, it DID happen.

I received an invite to attend SpringHill Suite’s first Art of Local event in Chicago, bringing together live music, unique food, and stellar community for a night of celebration. MisterWives were the special musical guest. I first saw them a few years ago at Bottom Lounge supporting The Mowgli’s. A fledgling group at the time, they hadn’t even released their debut album yet, which subsequently rocked the charts and swiftly captivated an audience.

Upon arriving to the hotel, several writers and I were taken up to the hospitality suite, where we enjoyed small plates and a craft cocktail while awaiting the band. All my notions of a textbook interview were dissolved when I realized I wasn’t going to be reading my standard list of questions in order; rather, the band would be hanging out with us, engaging in conversation as friends rather than subjects. At first, I was a little thrown off, but not deterred once they entered the room.

Each of the six band members was extremely personable, making sure to shake everyone’s hand and introduce themselves upon walking through the door. I was lucky enough to snag a few minutes with the group, and even take this photo on the giant suite bed (minus one MisterWive), which allowed me to live out my dream of being a real-life character in Almost Famous.

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“Are we huge? We are on the 23rd floor. We’re pretty high up,” the band joked, humble as ever when I asked the question of how it’s been now that they’re quite recognizable in the music scene these days. The true answer emerged: “It’s been amazing to just do this and see growth. Every tour just keeps getting bigger and bigger, and we feel really lucky to do that.”

We covered a range of topics, including their craziest tour story (that they could talk about). “I did get left behind at a truck stop once,” Marc Campbell remarked, a smirk on his face. Everyone had a little too much fun the night before, he said, and when he went to use a truck stop bathroom, leaving all his possessions on the bus, the bus took off without him. The band went to sleep and woke up three hours later. Marc was fine, don’t worry: “I met an old man who took me to his frisbee golf course.” That’s probably the best scenario when you’re stranded at a truck stop in a remote California town.

They typically play bigger venues now, so this intimate show was something special. A few MisterWives and I were conversing when lead singer Mandy Lee joined the group. Campbell remarked, “We don’t get to play acoustic too often, so it’s nice to work out the songs and arrange them a little differently. I think Mandy probably digs it better because she doesn’t have to jump around as much on this stage.”

As energized as she is as a lead singer, Lee was just as you’d imagine she’d be in casual conversation. Bubbly, effusive, and gracious, I felt like I was speaking to an old friend. Each of the band members getting along so well and you could tell that they truly enjoyed spending time together.

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When asked how the band gets pumped up for their concerts (if you’ve seen their shows, you know why I ask), a quick hour of P90x and a few shots of coffee was the group’s joke consensus. “Honestly, it’s the crowd,” Lee chimed in. “I’ll be ready for bed, and then you’ll hear everybody going nuts when you’re backstage, and then I’m immediately ready to go bananas.”

“Once I put in my in-ears and you can hear the crowd, it starts to get you really excited,” William Hehir noted. Campbell then discussed the band’s cover of “Mr. Brightside,” and the band’s faces lit up recalling these moments of connection with their audience. On the topic of covers, we took a little moment to revel in the greatness of Chance The Rapper while we discussed their “Same Drugs” cover. “He’s our special guest tonight,” Campbell joked. That would have been pretty cool; next time, SpringHill Suites?

“He’s incredible. He’s definitely my favorite artist that’s out right now. It’s super inspiring for someone to be like, screw labels, screw the industry, and just do your own artistry, and he’s really great at what he does. Not only what he’s doing with developing his own brand, but just his music itself and what it’s about, he’s incredible,” Lee stated. Campbell mentioned he high fived him, and it might have been one of the best musical meetings of his life, and likely, the perfect high five.

As far as inspirations go for MisterWives, the group remarked that every member has different influences and different genres they like to listen to, with No Doubt being the one band they have in common. (Early, Rock Steady-era No Doubt; this fact is key.) The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nina Simone, Damien Rice, Aretha Franklin, LCD Soundsystem, and of course, Beyoncé’s Lemonade album are also MisterWives favorites.

“That record [Lemonade] had a huge influence on our record,” Lee said. “I think that’s what’s cool about being in a band. You all bring such different perspectives and different influences from one another, but then you figure out how to melt it all into one sound. It’s a harmonious balance I think, of different tastes and personalities. That’s what makes it fun.”

Next up on their list? Madison Square Garden someday, and a quirky mention of being the first band to play up on Mars with a forthcoming crowdfunded campaign (in all seriousness though, “Our Own House” in space would sound pretty cool). For now, they’ll be working on putting out their second record and touring with Panic! at the Disco. A band that is as joyous as they appear, MisterWives were a true pleasure to speak with. It’s no wonder why they’ve accumulated so many fans eager to sing along and dance to their ultra-catchy songs.

 

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