Although MisterWives’ polygamous musical marriage is still in its newlywed phase—the six-piece teamed up only a little over a year ago—their music presence is undeniably distinguished. Their debut single “Reflections,” recorded in their drummer Etienne Bowler’s Bronx bedroom, sold thousands of copies in its first month. On top of that, the band’s first live show together, after adding guitarist Marc Campbell and the multifaceted Jessie Blum, landed them a record deal in under 24 hours. Now they’re opening for Jack Antonoff’s indie-pop project, Bleachers, working their way from Indianapolis to NYC starting in late August. So yeah, we’ll go out on a limb and say they’re not doing too bad at all.
If their insane covers (i.e., a soulful-indie rendition of Drake’s “Hold On We’re Going Home” or stripped-down version of Sam Smith’s “Money on My Mind”) or tambourine-shaking, dance move-inducing, original tracks have left you craving more, don’t fear, because their latest album is slated for a fall release. In the meantime, while we’re eagerly waiting to get our hands—er ears—on some new music, we caught up with our favorite “family” affair’s drummer, Bowler, and lead singer, Mandy Lee, at Bar III Shoe’s launch party and had them spill on their upcoming tour, in-the-works projects, and duh, favorite footwear.
How did you guys get involved with Bleachers? Were you fans before?
Lee: We have the same booking agent and I guess they sent our music to Jack, who loved it. And now we’re opening for them! Well, at least I hope that’s what happened. But we actually knew who Bleachers was before because we heard their song “I Wanna Get Better” on the radio. And usually we turn down the radio because it sucks, but we started blasting it.
Bowler: And when I’m really hungover I think of the song and it really helps.
The thing you can’t live without on tour?
Bowler: For me it’s a back pillow, since I do all the driving.
Lee: Incense. I’m in a band with five other guys and the smells going on will kill you.
What can we expect from you new album and how will it differ from Reflections?
Lee: The singles we have now are like Reflections on steroids. Like a mature version of it, because I’m in a different place then I was in the EP. All the sounds are the same, but just more amplified; we’ve really navigated our sound.
Bowler: And we finally have real drums in our album, since we’ve been recording in our room studio, we could only use electric. Everything is real and organic since it’s our first time in a legit studio.
What’s your cure for writer’s block?
Bowler: I built a tree house when I was a senior in high school. It’s in the Bronx near my parents’ place.
Lee: So I get quarantined into the tree house. Writer’s block f****** sucks, it’s inevitable, it happens but you just have to push through.
What was the first album you ever bought?
Lee: Aretha Franklin. I sang “Respect” in a kindergarten talent show.
Bowler: Blink 182’s Enema of the State when I was a really awkward teenager
What was the last album you just bought?
Both: Walk the Moon and Dark Eyes
You guys have a great sense of style—do you have any favorite designers/stores you swear by?
Bowler: Urban [Outfitters], Buffalo Exchange, Forever 21.
Lee: On the road all you have is dirty clothes, so you’re like damn, I need to run to Forever 21 or somewhere to buy new stuff. And it all accumulates to this huge thing, because you don’t do laundry and you just end up buying brand new outfits.
Considering we’re at the launch of Bar III’s new show line, which type of footwear is essential in your wardrobes?
Lee: I’m always in boots. I can’t do heels or anything else. Even if it is 100 degrees, I will be in boots; they’re just so comfortable.