Music Culture: 'THE MRS' Interview
Last month I sat down with The Mrs, a four woman strong band who describes their musical style as “modern pop meets retro rock with soulful vocal harmonies”. The Mrs is made up of lead vocalist and guitarist Mandy Prater, keytarist Larissa Ness, bassist Jenny Mason, and drummer Andra Liemandt.
In describing their inspirations and creative methods, Liemandt says “Our creative process really starts with believing that we’re all enough,” their first single is titled “Enough” came from the women thinking through “topics that we think other women like ourselves [would] want to listen to... and because we’re four realized women, we think we bring a lot to the table”.
Prater adds, “I think on the last album maybe we would write a sketch of the chorus, start feeling out the music, then add the verses and it just naturally starts growing out from there… we often write every word together”.
Mason adds that they each have very different experiences so it’s fun to write together and come up with their music through such a variety of perspectives. Each of the band members came to making music at unique moments in their lives, Mason and Liemandt began playing bass and drums just under 10 years ago while Ness and Prater have been playing different instruments like piano and guitar as kids.
When asked about their favorite songs from the new album, Liemandt says, “having to choose a favorite song is like having to pick a favorite child. But I know we’re all excited about our new music video that’s coming out, with our new song, “Blink of an Eye” on the new album” The video came out on May 10th and was preceded by their newest lyric video, for the song, “Cravings” which was released a little bit ago.
All of the women sing the praise of their bandmates throughout our interview and it is really easy to see that they are great friends. Liemandt says of the rest of the band, “everybody is pretty open to trying new things; if you don’t have a history of playing an instrument, playing a new one or picking it up and making it sound cool for the song. When Mandy started playing with the band she was like ‘oh you need that? Well I’m gonna play it and I’m gonna rock it’”
The overarching goals of their music are to “have positive lyrics and inspire other people at any age” and as Mason describes, “I get inspired by watching people connect to our music and by them saying ‘wow it’s amazing that you can do this’ and getting to say back to them, ‘well you know what, you can too’ and maybe that’s not music you’re playing but whatever it is that they are hesitating to do. It inspires me to do it again and do it better”.
The Mrs not only have a talent for music, but also for philanthropy. Their song, “Draw the Line” was written for Austin non-profit SAFE and “came as a way to bring more awareness to” ending child abuse, sexual assault, and domestic violence. 100% of the proceeds from that single goes to SAFE as Ness and Liemandt describe “that’s why we did that. We work with many nonprofits or organizations that are helping or empowering women or children. We try to look for creative ways to bring positivity into the world”
Another non-profit venture the women are deeply involved in is The Kindness Campaign (TKC), an organization focused on the emotional and relational challenges of school that are not able to be addressed within current curriculum. Liemandt is the founder of TKC and excitedly shares the growth and reach of their first year’s programs “it started off as a pilot program with four schools and now it’s grown to 50 schools. Right now it’s only in Austin but we would love to grow beyond that. 1 in 4 kids will go into the school system by the age of 3 having experienced some form of trauma. So we created a curriculum to help teachers have a tool to help teach these kids."
One of these tools is a character called “Enoughie buddy” who “takes kids on a journey, of normal school activities that helps kids learn while the character is by their side.” Liemandt and the rest of the band are excited for the many programs and partnerships in the works for TKC and Mason describes “we also have ambassadors for kids in middle and high school to spread the message of kindness to make it cool to be kind. They get to be influencers and leaders in their community.” The organization is trying to find a positive approach to combatting bullying and as Ness put it, “we’re trying to get in at a young age when this stuff really starts to help kids know how to handle it.”
In what seems to be the heart of the organization and also the band, Liemandt closes our time together by saying “I believe that there is no end in sight for this campaign. I believe that if we teach our kids to be kind today, our future leaders will have kindness in their hearts. And a leader with kindness is a powerful leader”
I look forward to all The Mrs have coming in the future and am inspired by their passion, kindness, and efficacy (not to mention their great music!). Thanks to Mandy, Larissa, Jenny, and Andra for a great interview.