MS MR—like “Miss Mister”—remind us a bit of Florence + the Machine, as they have mixed dreamy indie pop and alt rock elements into their music. We spoke to the duo, comprised of Lizzy Plapinger and Max Hershenow, about the changes that are afoot on MS MR’s second album How Does It Feel, which is out in July.
Apparently, they’ve learned to balance the darkness by letting in a little bit of light.
Can you give us some insight into the first track “Painted?” Something you may not have talked much about yet!
Max: We started writing in Manchester in the UK and it was the first foray back into writing after being on the road for two years. Lizzy started the chorus and verse and sent it to me, with a couple of references that felt it was like a step out of the MS MR sound. It’s like it announced the new era of the band and laid the foundation for everything else we wrote.
Lizzy: When we started, it came from a dark place in my life. I was feeling a little lost. So much of this record is a more mature relationships. Secondhand Rapture was about wallowing in misery and accepting your darkness. This is a little more using the darkness to move forward, and seeing a light at the end of the tunnel. It is a balance of dark and light, using both.
What was the impetus for striking more balance between dark and light?
Lizzy: It think it always has to do with where you are in your life. I have always battled with a certain darkness. I’ve matured musically and personally and that comes across in the music.
Pick one song to listen to that’s not a single and tell us why.
Max: ‘Tripolar’ is a track we started upstate and it stayed with us through the whole process. It went through many iterations. We loved it. It encapsulates us trying to balance organic and electronic elements so you can’t tell which is which.
Lizzy: Max made it his own and I love how the bassline works with the vocal sampling and the beat. It’s really groovy and it is one of my favorites.
Any non-music hobbies or skills?
Max: This project is increasingly multi-disciplinary. We recorded and now we can focus on the artwork and videos, so it’s creative. We both have fine arts backgrounds. We are visual artists, too. We love to dance, shop. I love to workout. That all ties into the larger project. It’s amazing all the things we can pull from to complete the collage of MS MR.
Lizzy, you have unique style. Have you ever thought of doing a clothing line?
Lizzy: Max and I would love to. Collaborating with a designer for the stage or doing something on our own. It’s something we’re interested in. Max is the person who introduced me to men’s clothing. Men’s fashion is an interesting place.
How will MS MR spend the rest of 2015?
Max: We are going to be on tour for the next few years. We are doing U.S. and European headline tours in the fall. Since we’re headlining stages that we previously opened on, we’re excited. We feel like we’re measuring our success by the venues we play. We’ll be on the tour for the rest of our lives. When we left after the end of the cycle, I thought, ‘I never want to do this again.’ Then two weeks later, I couldn’t wait to get back out there.