Mister Loveless - Interview Below
Frontman Rob Miller from Mister Loveless chats with Split Lip
Who are you guys and how did you all get together?
Mister Loveless are:
Rob I. Miller – Vocals/Guitars
Charlie Koliha - Bass
Nick Clark – Drums
Daniel Brown – Guitars
I moved from Dayton, Ohio to a suburb of San Francisco called Walnut Creek when I was 15 years old. Charlie, our bass player, was one of the first kids I met after the move. We both skated and loved the Smiths, so it seemed obvious that we should start playing music together. At the time, I didn't know how to play any instruments, but I had always written lyrics. Charlie showed me how to play a few chords on guitar, I started writing songs, and Mister Loveless began.
As the years passed, the band became increasingly more important to Charlie and I. We had trouble finding bandmates that were willing and able to commit. We met Nick after being invited to perform his 19th birthday party. We knew we were in the process of parting ways with our then drummer, so when Nick mentioned he had been playing drums for most his life and that Mister Loveless was one of his favorite bands it seemed like fate.
While Daniel is the latest addition to the band, we've known him for years. He has played either bass or guitar in several different local bands all of which were great and had shared the stage with Mister Loveless. We needed someone like Dan because he had been there since the beginning; he watched the band evolve into what it is now. Daniel played his first show with the band in March then played his second in Austin, TX for SXSW. In the brief time he has been in the band he has joined us for numerous headlining local shows, supporting National acts, SW + NW tours, and has contributed to the writing process for a handful of new songs – we're currently in preproduction on a new record.
Some of my favorite bands have come out of San Francisco. Are you all natives or did you migrate from some dead-music scene city like Boise or something?
I'm originally from Ohio and Dan is from New Hampshire. However, we moved when were really young so, can't really say much about the music scene out there. Charlie and Nick are both Bay Area natives.
The song "Curfew" and its video are stellar. Want to talk a little on the making of the video?
Thanks. For me, “Curfew” is about longing for the way I used to feel as a young person. Specifically, a teenager. At that time, I felt this sense of urgency every time I left my parent's house. I felt that even though our sleepy suburban town didn't seem to have much to offer during the day, there was something very intriguing about exploring it at night. Part of that, of course, was that it was forbidden. Defiance is a natural part of being young. That curiosity is what fades away as we age. We just wake up one day without that strange ability to find adventure in the seemingly mundane.
When we started discussing treatments with the Perez Brothers we both seem to understand that a very literal video would not serve the song. They presented this idea of clock faced, Orwellian policeman enforcing curfew. I loved the idea because only something as surreal as that could really serve as a metaphor for the fleeting spirit of youth. I think they nailed it.
And the song itself is sonically some of the best music I've heard. The drums sound like, well, drums. The guitars sound like I'm listening to them straight out of some old variation of a tweed Fender tube amp, and you hold off on the sauce a bit – delay, modulation, etc. Who's your producer? How was your collaboration with your producer? What kind of sound were you looking for?
We've been working with producer and engineer extraordinaire, Duane M. Ramos for years now. We met him in 08 when we went into Different Fur Studios in San Francisco to track the Two Words EP. His incredible work ethic and refusal to compromise really left an impression on us. We knew we wanted to work with Duane again. This time we wanted to track the whole record in our rehearsal space which happens to be my Dad's garage. We wanted it to sound like us. Nothing more. Nothing less. We didn't have a ton of ridiculously expensive outboard gear and didn't want to use a bunch of ProTools plug ins so, we just made sure we were happy with the tone of every instrument and the quality of every performance before moving on to the next track.
Split Lip readers are most interested in the creative process of art. Anything you'd like to say on your songwriting process?
We are about as collaborative as a rock n' roll band can be. We all write the music together, contributing ideas for the arrangement, developing our own parts. I write the lyrics and vocal melodies on my own.
Who are a few of your influences?
In the beginning, we drew a lot from post punk groups like, Wire, Joy Division, Gang of Four, and The Sound. We started adding hints of the “gateway bands” we grew up listening to like Nirvana and Smashing Pumpkins. Charlie and I have always loved surf instrumentals, 60s garage, and Phil Spector produced girl groups. I love the Replacements and every one of Paul Westerberg's solo records. We all collectively love PIXIES, The Smiths, and Adorable (Creation Records). Nick likes a lot of pacific NW indie rock stuff like Modest Mouse and Built to Spill. Charlie likes The Specials and the Clash. Dan likes bands with really slick, 80s production like, Prefab Sprout. Oh, we all really like the first two Weezer albums too.
Do you all have a collective favorite adult beverage? I know of bands who all drink Miller Lite or straight Maker's Mark. It's like a staple for them.
Maybe it's just because we're getting older and have been drinking for way to long but, we've definitely gotten to the whole craft beer thing. We all went through a phase where we were drinking stouts or porters exclusively, even in the summer.
How do you spend your free time?
What free time?
Is there any news you'd like to share with Split Lip readers? Tour dates? Upcoming record?
We have a show on Monday, September 2nd at America's Cup in San Francisco.
We have a show on Friday, September 27th at Neck of the Woods in San Francisco.
After the 27th, we will spend the rest of the year writing and recording new material.
We'll be releasing new music in early 2014.