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SHEI Magazine is a University of Michigan student-run fashion, art, and pop culture publication. Everything from the photography, writing, modeling, editing, and publicity of our bi-yearly print publications and monthly digital mini is created by students who attend the University of Michigan. Founded in 1999, SHEI Magazine continues to produce issues of professional quality, as well as provide real-world experience to students interested in journalism, publishing, and the fashion industries.

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A Talk with Misterwives

Shamaila Ashraf

SHEI got an exclusive interview with William Hehir of Misterwives, an upcoming band from New York City who just released their first EP (Reflections) in 2014. The band can be described as a modern-day No Doubt, with front-woman Mandy Lee's voice leading the band to success. Misterwives recently released Reflections, which is the single off their first EP. Check out this interview with Will and give the band a listen!

Your band started off by playing at the Canal Room in New York City. Could you describe how this came to be?

We had been working and playing together for a few months before that and the show kind of came together well. We invited our friends and family and others who we wanted there, and it worked out because our two future managers were actually at that show. Etienne had played with the two other band members before so they joined us, and that kind of kickstarted things for us. After that we signed onto a label and started going on tour!

Were there any funny stories or memorable moments from your tour?

Well, this is kind of a bad moment but I remember it…we did our tour in the winter, and after our show in Denver, Colorado we had some bad weather and a lot of snow. Our drummer was driving, and he kept hitting the accelerator instead of the brake which I think saved our lives. We love touring but winter tours are scary for us and our van.

How would you describe the musical style of Misterwives in 10 words or less?

Oh 10 words, that’s a lot more than what we usually get…

Maybe we should make this a little harder then!

Actually I think having more words makes it harder, I’m a very accurately verbose person. Our music is very colorful. I would say fun, quirky, danceable music. I guess that’s kind of how we would present a live set. Songs like Coffins and Vagabonds are more smoky, but when we play live, we want the whole set to build up and go with the stage. But I would say in ten words or less… colorful dance music.

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So, before Misterwives came to be, what were each of the band members doing?

Mandy had been playing in a bunch of different bands. She was always about music. She studied singing and music at LaGuardia, so she was basically going to be a singer since she was able to talk. Our drummer had also studied music. His family is very musical, his father taught him how to play. The guitar player is from Scotland and he played there, then moved to America six years ago. He played folky music. And then our keyboard player is more or less a session musician outside of the band. He studied at a conservatory outside of New York. Myself, I always played. I started when I was 14 and then actively pursued music. In high school, I started a music club where students could play music together, and we set up performances in the cafeteria. Then in college, I spent a little bit of time jamming. And when I graduated, I was working full time, but then I would go home and head into the studio until like 2 in the morning.

So you all came from musical backgrounds and knew that was what you wanted to do!

Oh yeah! I mean, I actually worked in investment banking, and if you want something to reinforce your love for music it’s doing something like that and working 60 hours a week.

Wow, well as long as you find something that you are passionate about, that’s the most important thing!

Yeah, Mandy, Etiene and I were working full time. And when we moved in together we moved far away enough from the city that we wouldn’t be distracted, and so we would come home from work and focus on our music.

 

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We understand that Mandy writes most of the songs, so at what point does she bring you and Etienne into that creative process?

For the most part, Mandy will have an idea for the song and she will come together with a chord structure and a melody and lyrics. And then Etienne and I come and add drums and keyboard and the guitar. So it all comes together!

What did it feel like to you to jump into the music industry so quickly with Misterwives?

It was mind-blowing, but in the most seamless way possible. And I credit that simply to the people that we were working with. It’s like a dream team. You hear all these horror stories in the music business and we haven’t seen any of that. Everyone that we’ve worked with has been incredibly helpful and we couldn’t be more grateful!

Does you rapid success and the new EP scare you?

I don’t think that we can do anything with any reservations. If you’re going to do something you have to do it 100%. You can’t have one foot in and one foot out, and I think that’s why we all moved in together and the reason we’ve treated this as a second job. And even when we signed with the label, this became our full-time job, but we never had any reservations!

With the new EP, which track would you want SHEI readers to listen to first?

That’s a really good question! I would say Reflections would be a good song to listen to because it’s the single. But with the EP, there’s so many genres touched upon that it’s hard to pick just one song. But Reflections is the song that is closest to what the high energy of our live shows are like!

How would you describe the song Reflection in one sentence?

“A funky dance song about moving on from a past relationship.” I guess that’s what it is, that’s one of the interesting things about the song. The lyrics are about wanting to move on but the song is much more fun.

So, do you have any advice to musicians at the University of Michigan that are interested in a career in music?

Oh yeah!! Just don’t stop, there’s a reason that you picked up that instrument and never forget that reason. I never picked up the guitar or bass thinking that I was going to be able to play in front of hundreds of people, I did it because I loved music and was passionate. So don’t lose that passion and don’t let anyone change that. Music will always be there for you but those people that discredit you won’t, so remember that.

To wrap it up, what can we expect from Misterwives in the new year?

In 2015, we are going in full-force. The album will be available for pre-order in January and download in Febraury. Basically we are hoping to do everything that we’ve been doing but fulltime!! We want to focus on getting the music out there as much as possible!

To learn more about Misterwives, visit their website! They will also be coming to Detroit on March 1st