In Which we ‘Connect the Dots’ with MisterWives [INTERVIEW]
MisterWives is a poptastic band from New York, creating earworms faster than lead singer Mandy Lee can churn out homemade donuts. Their energy is undoubtedly contagious, and they’re bringing it back to the city this week. So it was only fitting that we caught up with bass player Will Hehir to hear more about their infectious sophomore release, Connect the Dots, the ever-changing New York music scene, and to find out the secret for success of being in a band and on tour with five of your closest friends.
Bowery Boogie: How’s your Connect the Dots tour going? What do you guys love most about being on the road?
Will Hehir: This tour has been great. It’s been so much fun to play a lot of the new material. This summer was a hodgepodge of headlining shows, co-headlining shows, and festivals – it was nice to get our feet wet. But to embark on this tour has been so much fun because it’s been in some of the biggest rooms we’ve played. And the crowds have been absolutely incredible. Being able to play some of the new music and see the crowd’s reaction to it is definitely very heartwarming.
BB: We caught your set at Governors Ball this past summer. How does the festival gig experience compare to your regular shows?
WH: It’s definitely different. At a headlining show, you’re playing to people who have specifically come out to see you, so you can take more liberties in terms of what songs you choose to play. There’s a different kind of ebb and flow with how things are. We always try to keep it as high energy as possible, but a regular show affords you the opportunity to take a step back, play some slower stuff and experiment with things, which you wouldn’t necessarily want to do at a festival.
BB: What do you think about the New York music scene?
WH: I absolutely adore it. We’re all from New York, so it’s very close to home for all of us. And New York is so incredibly lucky – and we were so incredibly lucky growing up – because every act that you would ever want to see in any genre would always find its way into New York City, be it in Madison Square Garden or Bowery Ballroom or Webster Hall. At the end of the day I’m a die-hard New Yorker; I don’t think I’d ever be able to leave the city. It’s nice to be able to tour and see the country and world, but it is very nice to come back and, oddly enough, get on the subway and experience the familiar sights, sounds, and smells.
BB: What makes the Lower East Side special, despite all of the new developments, gentrification, and the crumbling of the music venues?
WH: It’s definitely discouraging to see the crumbling of certain music venues, but I don’t think the music scene will ever die. To me, the music scene is really about people who are interested in making music, and New Yorkers will always prevail in the sense that they will find a way to accomplish whatever it is that they want to do. If they want to put a band together with their friends, they’re going to be able to find a resource in New York where they can go and make noise, even if they’re not able to do it in their apartment.
It’s sad to hear about smaller clubs and places closing, because for us in particular, those were huge parts of our career from the preliminary stages. Like if Pianos were to close, it stings a little bit to think about that. Because when we first started out, to get to play a show at Pianos and be able to invite all of our friends, that was huge – because that’s a legitimate venue, with a sound guy and you could actually get to feel what playing live there is like. And we did that with places like Arlene’s Grocery and The Canal Room (now defunct).
I hope this trend doesn’t continue. And I hope that we stop building fucking high-rises for the sake of adding more people to the city, if it means it’s going to be tearing away at the culture of developing artists.
BB: How was creating Connect the Dots different from your debut Our Own House, and did you return to the treehouse to write the songs?
WH: (laughs) No, the treehouse was less involved in this one. The album seemed very natural and fun in a lot of ways. Making the Connect the Dots album was amazing because we had been out touring for so long – I think maybe three years – so I think collectively we all felt comfortable musically and personally. Mandy had a lot to say and a lot to express in writing these songs. Tracks like “Drummer Boy,” “Coloring Outside the Lines,” and “Chasing This” are some of the larger ones, and then we tackled some frustrations that exist in the political world today in writing “Revolution” and “Oh Love,” which was written two days after the 2016 election.
We finally had the opportunity when we were home in August to have some time to work on the new songs that Mandy had come up with, to see what she had on chord progression and melody, and we were able to jam on that. It was something we weren’t necessarily able to do with our EP and first album.
On top of that, to be able to work with Butch Walker in L.A. was a delight.