By Ashmita Shanthakumar
Scorpius recently had the chance to interview Mitch Winter member of local rock band MMEND to learn more about the band, their new album, and more.
Scorpius: What inspired you to create a band together?
Mitch: Creating a band came really naturally, actually. Mason (lead singer) and Dallin (our drummer) had been playing music together since high school, and Elise (singer/keyboard) and I just kind of added ourselves to the mix as siblings. Luckily, the chemistry was already there and exhibited itself in different ways like performing, writing, and directing our musical intention.
Scorpius: Who would you say are MMEND’s biggest musical inspirations and influences?
Mitch: There are definitely a handful of core bands that always seem to be a source of inspiration that we pull from (David Bowie, Radiohead/Thom Yorke), Portishead, and Grizzly Bear), but it also seems like there are always other bands/musicians orbiting around that core and these bands typically are playing different genres than we play. Artists like Kendrick Lamar, Kanye, Drab Majesty, Black Midi, and Bon Iver are some others that come to mind.
Scorpius: What are some of the benefits of working with your siblings and close friends and what do you think each member brings to the band?
Mitch: I would say the main benefit of working with siblings and close friends is the inherent creative comfort that exists within us. Writing music is a really vulnerable, sometimes awkward process, and that process can be incredibly intimidating if you’re surrounded by people that you’re not entirely comfortable with. We also have the ability to be honest with one another without having to worry about any fallout that could come as a result of being offensive (that’s not to say that we don’t try to be extremely respectful and sensitive). There just seems to be an easier-flowing creative process that comes as a result of the closeness we share.
Although we are all close, each person in the band brings something incredibly unique to the table, which has created our ultimate sound. Mason is kind of the lead in everything we do. He’s truly a musical talent that borders on genius (he’d never tell you that).
Dallin (drummer), has become both the curator and director of the artistic direction of the band. He not only creates incredibly unique and catchy rhythms, but also has an ear for what will sound best on each song.
Bryce (Bass Player) I can’t tell you how many of our songs have been created around Bryce’s bass lines, which isn’t too common in the music world. Bryce’s grooves not only spark inspiration, but they’re completely foundational to
everything we do.
Elise (Keys/Vocals) she’s written some of the coolest piano parts I’ve ever heard. They’re always a combination of beautiful and energetic, which is an interesting combination. Her vocals are always spot on, super jazzy, and beautiful.
Mitch (Synth/vocals) I write some of the lyrics/melodies and also create a lot of the leading synth lines you hear.
Scorpius: You recently released your first full-length album “Spectator” can you tell us about the process behind this album?
Mitch: The process was a long, difficult one. We started with an idea to record a four-song E.P, but it kind of grew and expanded into a ten-song, full-length album. Each song was written in a different way. Some were lyrics first, others were bassline first, others started off with a simple chord progression, then expanded into what it is now.
One song, in particular, was halfway recorded when we discovered an acoustic version of it that Mason had created as a demo. We realized that the way he had done it was better than the direction we were going, so we essentially scrapped everything (drums, synths, bass) and started over. Everything was built around the song itself, and it created a really gorgeous product.
The overarching goal of our album was to write beautiful songs first, worry about texture, production, and accompaniment later.
Scorpius: MMEND has been described as having an ethereal pop/rock sound, can you tell us more about that type of genre and sound that the band creates?
Mitch: The synthesizer and keyboard sounds we utilize definitely create that ethereal tone, but we like to mix those sounds with punchy rhythms, hard-hitting guitars, and groovy bass lines. Those two elements combine to create a pretty cool overall sonic pallette.
Scorpius: What can we expect to hear from MMEND in the future?
Mitch: We felt like our last album had songs that were packed to the brim with different sounds and instrumentation. We feel that the natural direction of our musical progression lies in complexity of ideas/melody/arrangement and a new-found simplicity in our composition. We want to continue to write beautiful music, but be very methodical and purposeful about how we do that.