Classic glitch-pop duo MS MR have a unique style, brand and message full of eccentricity and prodigious tunes, ultimately creating a fresh fusion of alternative rock, electronica and pop.
We’ve been following MS MR since they broke onto the scene with their infectious 2012 single, ‘Hurricane,’ a dark yet sinfully melodic heartbreak anthem. Initially steeped in anonymity, the pair was revealed to be vocalist Lizzy Plapinger (also co-founder of the pop imprint Neon Gold) and producer Max Hershenow.
The 5 to 9 Life team were given an oh-so-exclusive opportunity to chat with Plapinger about their sound, their upcoming tour, their stage outfits and her perspective on how women are perceived in the industry. Scroll down to find out her thoughts on all that and more!
1. It’s not your first trip to Australia but you are headlining your own national tour – what are you most looking forward to seeing/experiencing down under this time around?
This is actually our FOURTH time to Australia which is absolutely incredible. We love playing here. Because we’ve been so many times we now have a few familiar haunts that we like to frequent when we’re back – especially in Sydney and Melbourne where we’ve been the most. This trip we’re excited to explore more regional areas that we haven’t visited before!
2. You first started by sharing your music on Tumblr. How has social media shaped your vision and given you a voice to speak out on subjects that matter to you?
It’s definitely been a huge tool for us over the course of our run as a band. In the beginning, it was even more pivotal. The Tumblr EP we released on our own and was really the first of its kind and allowed us to show each song in a number of ways. Everything was self-made and curated and was released directly to our fans. It really solidified ourselves in that world.
We still look for creative and unique ways to engage fans to the music in a way only social media can achieve.
3. You released the video for ‘Wrong Victory’ last week which is raw, gritty and really touches on a vulnerable side of peeling back the layers and revealing who we really are underneath it all. Was this the intention of the visuals and [song] lyrics? What inspired you to head down this path with the concept?
Absolutely. We actually wrote the video treatment the same day we wrote the song – it’s really beautiful when things can emerge side by side like that – so it was a dream come true to be able to see it through. we’re very visual artists so our songs often go hand in hand with the videos we create.
4. From ‘Hurricane’ to ‘Wrong Victory’, how do you think the evolution of your sound has evolved?
The first record felt more low-fi, naive and atmospheric. I think the new record is a bit more immediate, articulate and pop.
5. There have been recent articles about not having enough women having a prominent role in the [music] industry. As well as being a front-woman of MS MR, Lizzy, you are also the co-founder of Neon Gold Records. Does being an artist and a label owner give you a better perspective of the business and what role do you hope women will play in the future?
Absolutely. I’m lucky to be able to view this industry and the band from all sides. A lot has changed already in the almost 7 years I’ve worked in this industry, namely in the number of women who work in the business and the amount of power and control I see other female artist take over their own projects. It’s definitely inspiring.
I think at this point it’s about creating a culture and community of female perspectives on both sides!
6. “How Does It Feel” was released last July. Have you been writing new songs whilst you have been on the road, and how do you deal with the creative blocks that occur?
We’ve always sort of kept the live side of things separate from the writing side of things. It’s hard to be creative on the road for us when logistically there is so much travel and promo. When we’re writing we really like to lock ourselves away and focus wholly on the music.
7. The reception to your album has been pretty positive, but the final songs on the record are very personal – How does it feel (no pun intended) to sing these songs whilst you’re on tour and have the audience sing your lyrics back to you?
There’s truly no better feeling in the world. To be able to feel so intimately connected to our audience and recognize we all share so many of the same issues and experiences is one of the most beautiful things about being an artist and a music lover.
8. Tell us about your personal favourite concert memory – of your own or one in which you’ve been to – and why it was so special.
I remember seeing Arcade Fire play at Kings College, in support of Funeral, to about 100 people right at the start and it was one of the most mesmerizing and incredible experiences of my life. I immediately fell in love and they instantly became one of my favorite bands.
Years later, Max and I met and the same year we started the band we went to Coachella to see them headline – to experience their trajectory as a band first hand is still to this day one of the most inspiring elements in my music life.
9. You’re known for designing your own stage outfits. What goes into the thought process of each design and why did you choose to go DIY over having someone else design clothes for you?
We’ve always felt that the clothes we perform in are an extension of the visuals of the band and we take that very seriously. Everyone you see us perform we want it to be unique to that show and experience. We love creating our own costumes because it separates us from everyone else and becomes a context for the music we’re performing.
10. What can Australian audiences expect from your live shows?
A LOT OF ENERGY AND FLIPPED HAIR.
Now, doesn’t that answer alone make you want to purchase a ticket?!
You can catch MS MR during their national tour, kicking off tomorrow night in Sydney. Details below. Tickets are still on sale.