MS MR – A Tumblr Full Of Top Shelf Tunes
Written by Marc Zanotti on 3rd November, 2012
MS MR are the New York-based duo who have been filling up Australian airwaves with their dream pop ballet Hurricane. The construct of Lizzy Plapinger and Max Hershenow, MS MR’s debut EP Candy Bar Creep Show was released one song at a time via the band’s Tumblr account.
Over a period of four weeks MS MR unveiled Candy Bar Creep Show, posting a different track each week, accompanied by corresponding video clips, artwork and remixes. Plapinger and Hershenow also uploaded stems of their debut release so that fans might manipulate and reinterpret the music.
MS MR have carved out a niche for themselves with their unconventional and inclusive methods of introducing the world to their tunes. With the pair heading to Australia in 2013 for St Jerome’s Laneway, MS MR gave the lowdown on their affinity with Tumblr, being remixed by Chet Faker, and when a debut LP will be on the way.
How did the concept of slowly revealing your debut EP Candy Bar Creep Show via Tumblr develop, and why did MS MR decide to unveil the EP in this fashion?
MS MR: The Tumblr EP was actually an idea we had even before we formally decided we were (a) band – we’re obviously big fans of the site, but we are also really interested in exploring alternate ways of sharing music with an audience. Mixed media and collage is also very much at the heart of what we do both musically and visually, so in that sense Tumblr is the perfect platform for us. The music has and always does come first for us, but we’re fascinated by the different ways in which people understand it and how it can be reinterpreted in other mediums.
During a recent interview with national radio station triple j, it was insinuated that lead single Hurricane gets more radio play in Australia than in the US. Was one of the reasons the duo decided to initially release Candy Bar Creep Show via Tumblr an attempt to circumnavigate the need to first be recognized at home before being broadcast abroad?
MS MR: That’s a really interesting question, and honestly that wasn’t something we consciously thought about. New York has been a huge influence on the music and our identity and we hope we’ll always be associated with the city, but we recognise that one of the primary gifts of the Internet is the freedom for music to be unbound by a geographic location. It’s amazing and liberating to have a platform that allows us to share our music with an audience from all over the world.
Why do you think MS MR garner such a strong reaction from Australian fans?
MS MR: Honestly, we’re not quite sure ourselves. All we can say is that Australia has a wonderful reputation for being very open to new music (which certainly stems in part from the great programming on triple j – they’ve been great early supporters of ours). We have no idea why the music seems to be connecting so well, but ultimately we’re just grateful for the attention we’re receiving and are really looking forward to connecting with people face-to-face!
MS MR posted stems of each song allowing fans to remix the new tracks. Why did you want to make your music available for manipulation by the public?
MS MR: As we said before, we’re interested in how people interpret the music for themselves. As young musicians who are still discovering what we’re capable of, we wanted to encourage people to experiment along with us. Our hope is that maybe someone who has never remixed anything will give it a go and create something incredible.
Australian-established musician Chet Faker reworked one your tracks. Which song did he tinker with and how did the remix come about considering MS MR and Chet Faker have never met?
MS MR: We came across Chet Faker about a year ago through our friend Will, who runs Chess Club Records. We instantly became fans of his original material and rad cover of No Diggity. When we first started thinking about who would be ideal to remix the tracks from the EP, Chet felt like the perfect match for Dark Doo Wop, our “apocalyptic lovers ballad.” We were thrilled when he said yes and were blown away when we heard his final mix – we completely fell in love with it. We’re looking forward to meeting and thanking him in person when we come to Australia next year.
MS MR will be making their maiden voyage to Australia for Laneway Festival 2013. Given the new EP is four tracks strong, what tricks do you have up your sleeve to make up a full set?
MS MR: We absolutely cannot wait for Laneway! We’re so excited to finally be making it to Australia and to be playing with such a strong lineup – there are so many other bands on the bill that we’re huge fans of. We don’t necessarily have any “tricks up our sleeve,” but even though we only have 4 songs released, we finished the album this past summer and have been touring with a full set for a few months now.
Any chance of some sideshows while touring with Laneway Festival?
MS MR: Here’s hoping!
When can we expect a debut LP from MS MR, and are there designs to once again directly integrate social media into the process?
MS MR: Well, as we said, it’s done and dusted and we’re looking forward to finally sharing it with the world early next spring. We don’t have any formal plans for its distribution, but as always we’re thinking about a few ways to spruce up the release and make it as ‘MS MR’ as possible.
Watch: MS MR – Hurricane
Listen: MS MR – Dark Doo Wop (Chet Faker Remix)