Artists will often retreat somewhere exotic in order to find inspiration, whether it be deep in the countryside or some isolated tropical paradise where undisturbed their creativity can flourish. However, for MisterWives, (Mandy Lee [vocals], Etienne Bowler [drums], William Hehir [bass], Marc Campbell [guitar], and Jesse Blum [keys, trumpet, accordion]), in order to record their debut full length album Our Own House [Photo Finish/Republic Records] all they had to do was take a short trip to Riverdale, NY and start by going back to basics.
“I wrote a lot of the songs in this tree house Etienne built,” smiles Mandy. “It’s in his parents’ backyard, and it’s unbelievable. I was in this little house with only the birds chirping outside. It’s like I was quarantined. My band mates would hand me food under the door! It’s a big part of the album. When I first saw it, I thought the Bronx turned into Narnia.”
The tree house not only provided inspiration but acted as a place of continued peace and tranquility as 2014 proved to be a whirlwind breakout year for MisterWives. Their critically acclaimed Reflections EP yielded a hit in the form of the title track, which would go on to exceed a staggering 15 million streams online, sell over 100,000 downloads and clinch the #1 spot on Billboard’s Emerging Artist chart. The band also crisscrossed the country multiple times while touring with bands like Bleachers, twenty one pilots and even made their national television debut by performing on Jimmy Kimmel LIVE!.
All of this served to bring the members of MisterWives even closer together, both personally and creatively. “It’s like we found the secret to life”, says Will “You find what you’re passionate about and find people you love to do that with.”
“The phrase Our Own House is symbolic because we’re literally and figuratively creating our own house and movement for music,” says Mandy Lee. “This is a declaration of who we are as individuals. We made our own little MisterWives world.”
The album reflects a broader horizon for the group and effortlessly combines aspects of indie rock, soul, funk, ska and pop music The title track “Our Own House”, with resounding piano keys and an unshakable chorus punctuated by swooning horns, welcomes listeners into MisterWives’ funky danceable world.
Elsewhere on the album, the girl power anthem “Not Your Way” swings and shimmies from style to style, while the song “Best I Can Do” will make you dance with its horn-driven power. “Hurricane” captures the creative swell of a generation tired of waiting their turn to break out and “Queens” is a soulful ode to life, family and the hometown that left an indelible mark on Mandy Lee. Every song on Our Own House does its part to create an album that showcases MisterWives as a band succeeding through the judicious application of their own unique brand of alchemy.
Ultimately, MistwerWives’ house is one that is meant to encourage and inspire all who seek shelter. As Etienne says “we don’t have any boundaries on our music.”
“All of the songs have good messages,” concludes Mandy. “These are real emotions that every human feels at some point in their lives. When someone connects to a song, it’s incredible. That’s all we want. We hope everyone has a good time and dances their asses off as much as we do.”