The debut album from MIEN (pronounced “Mean”) was released on Friday April 6th, 2018. MIEN is comprised of The Black Angel’s Alex Maas, The Horror’s Tom Furse, Elephant Stone’s Rishi Dhir and The Earlies’ John-Mark Lapham. Today the band shares the official music video for “Odyssey.” The band will make its live debut tomorrow night in Austin, TX at the Levitation Festival at Stubb’s .
Sometimes the best projects come into existence without anyone involved being quite sure why or how, and so it is with MIEN. John Mark Lapham of Anglo-Texan acid folk legends the Earlies, Montreal-based sitar virtuoso Rishi Dhir of Elephant Stone, singer Alex Maas of Austin, Texas’s lords of reverberation the Black Angels and keyboard player Tom Furse of London’s consistently inventive The Horrors might seem like a psychedelic dream team, but they never mapped out this trawl through the inner wardrobes of their collective mind. In fact MIEN, whose debut album finds the uncharted hinterland between industrial dread, new age ambience and cosmic expansion, was almost entirely accidental.
“It was very random and unpredictable,” says John Mark Lapham, of MIEN’s beginnings. “Rishi had contributed sitar to the Earlies’ second album, and I was living in Rochester, New York in 2012 when I saw that he was playing with the Black Angels in Buffalo, which is down the road. I went to go see them, and the whole idea of us working together with Alex started floating around. The Black Angels had crossed paths with the Horrors, so Tom was the last piece of the puzzle. It was initially just a case of exchanging ideas. We loved the music, but we never wanted
to form a supergroup. We just wanted a fun experience. We didn’t even know we were a band until we got the record deal with Rocket.”
“I seem to remember DJing at an Elephant Stone show in London,” says Tom Furse on his own involvement. “Rishi and I hadn’t seen each other in a while. He started talking about this idea for a band with Alex and I jumped at the chance. I love collaboration, I knew Rishi and Alex were really good at what they do, and that’s exactly what you want out of your collaborators. I had no idea what it might sound like, but JM took the lead there. He’d developed this aesthetic that was psychedelic without falling on any old tropes and that resonated with me massively… His shit just sounded cool.”
What, then, is MIEN? Unsurprisingly those involved find it hard to describe, so let me help: MIEN sounds like it has emerged from the primordial swamp. Psychedelic music typically has associations with the late 60s and early 70s, but this is timeless. An industrial slant gives modernist heaviness, but the sitars and sweet melodies
bring an ancient quality. This is searching music, made by people who aren’t quite sure what they are looking for but will keep on searching until they have found it.
Now MIEN is a band, with the first concert at Austin’s Levitation festival in April and more potential gigs in the pipeline. “I’m enjoying not second-guessing the course of this ship,” says John Mark. “Up to this point we have gotten on and seen where it took us. I’m excited to see what happens next.”
“We’re all in different bands,” says Alex. “I’ve got a baby on the way, and we have our own lives. But we’re good at getting shit done, and I’ve been digging how this record has been transforming live.”
“Until we spent a weekend in Austin together, we had never all been in the same room,” concludes Rishi, on the project that John Mark inadvertently set in motion by going along to that Black Angels gig in Buffalo, New York back in 2012. “Now we are taking this thing that was created in our bedrooms and turning into a real thing. The pressure is on, but it’s cool. This could go anywhere.”
04/28 Austin, TX – Levitation Festival / Stubb’s *
09/21 London Moth Club
09/22 Angers, France Levitation Festival
09/24 Paris, France Le Cafe de la Danse
09/25 Amsterdam, Netherlands Melkweg
* = w/ Slowdive & S U R V I V E