Interview with MS MR
by Diana Lupică
On the cusp of stardom, the New-York based duo is on their European tour and they bring along with them eccentricity and prodigious tunes. Vocalist Lizzy Plapinger and producer Max Hershenow are getting bigger and bigger with each show and music video they do and it’s no surprise, since they put a fresh and new spin on alternative rock. I got the pleasure of having a chat with them before their show in Electric Brixton, London and we talked Beyoncé, success and their relationship with the fans.
Surprised by the warmth of a radiant, makeupless Lizzy and a laid-back Max, I was able to get into their brilliantly creative minds for a short while. When asked about performing in London, since Lizzy actually grew up here, they admitted it is “quite intimidating”, next to New York, Los Angeles and Nashville, considering them “high-stake cities” with high expectations and good taste. Nonetheless, they rocked the stage in Brixton and went beyond any anticipation; with Lizzy in the spotlight, you simply cannot help but mimic her energetic moves and positive attitude.
MS MR certainly have a unique style, brand and message, so I was interested if they make it their purpose to be different. “We’ve always gotten off and found solace and support within counterculture. It’s something that comes naturally to the project, an expression of our own beliefs”, replied Lizzy, backed up by Max: “The way that we write is very visceral and emotional. When we started the band we really didn’t know what we’re doing so we’re completely self-taught.”
If you watch any music video of theirs, you will be struck with a deeply artsy vibe that follows them throughout their career. I went on to say “You have these moody pop-songs mixed with art and strong visuals; do you think this combination is essential for the band?”
“Yes, I think that’s something that’s come to define the band. The fact that we have a very articulate sense of self really sets the band apart. We take pride in perfecting and creating a style and cohesion for the album.” Lizzy also explained that it’s something she appreciates in other bands as well. And speaking of fellow musicians, Max revealed that he would love to collaborate with Robyn, Miike Snow “and anyone, you know… Beyoncé”, although they agreed that writing in the same room with her would be too intimidating.
Among highlights in their musical career they mentioned performing at Coachella and Bonnaroo last year, describing the experience as “f*****g wild”, praising their fans with whom they jokingly claimed to have an “increasingly intimate” relationship. MS MR want to be seen as equals by their fan base and they relish the interaction on social media, as well as creating a little community around the band.
With their new music video for Criminals out and tour in full swing, the duo is still humble about their success. When asked about their plans for 2016, Lizzy and Max confessed they have no idea: “We’re going to play some more shows, we’ll probably write some music at some point, and other than that, who knows?”, admitted Max while laughing.
Sexy, sweaty and spectacular, the show they put up in London made even the stiffest feet in the audience dance along to the beat and to Plapinger’s Florence Welch-like vocals. Watching the energy on stage shift to the crowd, it was obvious that MS MR killed it live, with Lizzy thanking the fans and continuously pouring water on herself. Singing anthems like Hurricane, How does it feel and Fantasy, the fiery performance culminated with obscene gestures and with Lizzy even spitting water (?!) on some front row unfortunate fans but, weird or not weird, Lizzy was the queen of the stage for sure.
Raw indie pop ballads of an electrically charismatic duo? Please and thank you.