Watch

Read

Listen

Go

Play(Lists)

Play (Lists)

Mystery Friends Wants You to Have an Awesome Time on “Nowhere to Be”

by Hero Magnus

This week, I called the band Mystery Friends over the phone. I had loved my sneak peak of their recent single “Nowhere to Be” and was feeling lucky that I was about to catch even one member of the rock-disco Washington, DC crew. Instead I caught three of them: the vocalist and synths-player frontwoman Abby Sevcik, guitarist and synths-player David Mohl, and bassist Robbie Lee. Once we covered their DIY music video (the production has been delayed briefly, allegedly because the video includes roller-skating but David is a roller-skating novice), Mystery Friends and I talked about their old record, new projects, and upcoming work.

How is “Nowhere to Be” different from your recent album, Past and Future Self?

David (D): There was a different group of people who recorded with us on the new stuff. We recorded Past and Future Self with an engineer from Maryland, who is also great. But do you know the band Color Palette? We recorded the new stuff [a slinky cover of “Toxic” as well as “Nowhere to Be”] with Jay from Color Palette. It was a totally new approach to the mixing process. A little more hands-on, wouldn’t you say, Abby?

Abby (A): Normally, we go in with the bones of a song and see what we can pile on to it, what feels right. This time Dave put the bones together for himself beforehand. Rather than figuring things out as we go, there was more of a collaboration, an intentional hand involved.

David, I know you worked on the synths for “Nowhere to Be.” What did that look like?

D: It was a very educational experience for me to work on synths. I’m pretty good at the twisting knobs and making sounds. Jay and Kyle are good at recording software… one of the things that really came together with the synths on this particular track was that we wanted to fill the space. We could make sure that there was a really rich and full sound by playing with different synth textures. It is a little wink that really adds to the song without being distracting.

What inspired you to write “Nowhere to Be?” Does it have to do with COVID-19, or is that just a wild coincidence?

A: We wrote it before all hell broke loose, actually. It’s a song about fighting the urge to not go out and not coordinate anything in the middle of winter. You’ve got to fight the inertia. It’s a dancey song with a lot of room to breathe around the instrumentals. It says: I made it out, I’m all here, and I’m going to have an awesome fucking time…

D+A: We really wanted to lean into this track and embrace the repetition. Disco music is repetitive and entracing. It’s not about a person, but it’s personal.

In some of your promo materials, you say you want to help bring back disco. What do you like about disco music?

Dave: I used to be a disco skeptic. I thought disco was all the Bee Gees. Not that there’s anything wrong with the Bee Gees! But I started to learn that disco music really affected punk music and post-punk music.

Abby: We love the Talking Heads and Blondie.

Dave: We’re kind of like jittery post-punk with a lot of lucious synths.

Abby: I love that phrasing– lucious synths! It’s kind of a disco-infected pulsing sound that isn’t afraid to be fun and doesn’t take itself too seriously. Disco instrumentation is really layered and complex, and we felt very inspired by that.

How has being part of DC informed your music?

D+A: I knew a little bit about Dischord, but I didn’t really know much about the DC scene. When we got here we started diving into local bands. We know there are a lot of political events happening around us, but our music is not exactly inspired by that. It is a way to find community and happiness and healing, in a way, outside of the often toxic political sphere.

In DC, you meet so many cool people. Unlike New York and LA, where things are a bit more cutthroat and competitive, DC is a community, and it’s not as much of an industry. Even if sometimes it should be a little more of an industry. But there’s a benefit to the lack of money in the DC scene! It means it’s not all about the money.

Oh, that makes total sense. Good AND bad for the DC scene, I think. Now I’ve been dying to know this: why is your band name called Mystery Friends?

D+A+R: We started the band right before the presidential election, a super notable point in time. But the band name itself is totally random. It’s actually from a random hipster name generator. We felt like it was part of our larger conversation: how do you have a name that you appreciate but that doesn’t take itself too seriously?

Haha. That’s a great story. What else should our readers keep an ear out for?

D: We have a couple of songs following the release of “Nowhere to Be” and we plan to dole them out on a regular schedule.

A: Yes, totally. Three songs coming out after “Nowhere to Be.”

That’s so exciting.

D+A+R: It’s like this. We made an album we’re really proud of, and now we might let the rest of these songs come out as they go. They go to more extremes than Past and Future Self.

You might have noticed a theme in the album that we kind of have two types of songs [quieter and more danceable] and we stick to that same theme in the upcoming work. Some of it is moodier and quieter and more contemplative. In other ones, we really work on embracing the banger.

Alchemical Records is thrilled to announce the new Mystery Friends song “Nowhere to Be,” following the release of last year’s debut album. Check them out above (even if the meaning of their name is still a mystery).

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on google

Hero Magnus

Hero Magnus is 20 years old. She runs a live radio show at Yale University called the Moon, and for fun she likes to dance at house shows, study American plays, and write music about historical figures. You can find some of her songs on Spotify and the rest on heromagnus.bandcamp.com. Hero is thrilled to be a new music reporter at Alchemical Records. 

More to explore

Read

After a Decade in Gestation, D.C.’s own Kemi Adegoroye is Set to Release EP ‘For the Record’

Kemi Adegoroye dreamt her entire life of having her own album-release party. It will finally happen on Jan. 29, but thanks to the coronavirus, it won’t be quite as she imagined. Absent from the event, to be broadcast online from Crescendo Studios in D.C., will be a live audience, though several of her bandmates will be present to share her music with the DMV—and the world.

“It’ll be full lights, five cameras, a full production. And people will be able to watch it safely and comfortably from their homes,” Adegoroye said this month, adding that the song arrangements will be slightly different from what will be heard on the EP, also recorded at Crescendo. “I love that it’s full circle. So to be able to come back [to Crescendo] for the release out into the world is a really special thing.”

Read More »
Watch

Don’t Leave Me in the “DEEP END” says Khi Infinite

At just 19 years old, Virginia native, Khi Infinite is a genre-bending artist with sounds that range from R&B and Hip-Hop to Alt-Pop. It is not just his unique blend of sounds and storytelling that set him apart, but his remarkable versatility within his artistry. Infinite’s music draws from a host of musical circles, however, his greatest influences include Mos Def, Andre 3000, and his father, hip-hop producer, Nottz. Infinite’s sound is not only sonically distinct, but developing at an unprecedented rate. From here, with continued dedication to his craft and musical experimentation, the ceiling is indeed, INFINITE. 

Read More »