We’ve always assumed that being a New Yorker means you are automatically cool. And it’s people like Lizzy Plapinger and Max Hershenow that validate this assumption. The duo makes up MS MR, self-described makers of “Tumblr glitch pop” tunes.
This month, the colourful pair are bringing their catchy tracks and glam costumes Down Under for Groovin The Moo. We got to spend some time with Lizzy and Max and discussed being LBGQTI+ activists, living on the road and sharing their music with the world.
MS MR’s sophomore album has been out for a little while now. How has the response been, now that you can look back and reflect?
We really wrote this record with the stage in mind, so for us the test was always how well it would translate to our live show. Now that we've performed the album all over the world, at both festivals and headline shows, it’s been incredible to see the reaction in person from our fans. It’s been beautifully validating.
You’re set to come out to Australia for Groovin The Moo, what can we expect from your live set?
We’re a very high energy band, so come expecting to dance and throw yourself around!
Do you have a favourite MS MR song to perform, or one you are particularly proud of?
‘How Does it Feel’, the title song from the album, is always a set highlight. It’s a great chance to get the audience involved for a big sing along.
There were a few years in between your first and second albums. Will this be the same with your third?
We hit the road pretty hard during the Secondhand Rapture era, so the two years between that and How Does It Feel seemed pretty appropriate to us. For us, it’s about giving the record enough time to breathe and then to allow ourselves the creative space to evolve and experiment. So stay tuned...
How do you find living on the road for such long periods of time?
Touring was hard when we first started the band, but in recent years we’ve figured out how to make it work for us. Most importantly it’s about surrounding yourself with friends. Lucky for us, we’ve had almost the same team since the beginning, who have become a great built-in support system.
You’ve been quite vocal about supporting the LBGQTI+ community. How did this become such an important aspect of the MS MR?
We’ve always wanted to use whatever platform we have to stand for issues that are important to us. Our core ethos revolves around creating an environment where we, and our fans, can feel the most comfortable as ourselves. A safe space for personal expression and experimentation, especially in terms of sexuality and gender.
Style-wise, MS MR seems to embody some super-glam vibes. Where does this come from and how did you decide on your ‘look’?
This record cycle has been particularly inspired by ’70s glam rock, which developed fairly naturally over time, both on-stage and off.
Is your day-to-day style similar to your on-stage style?
Absolutely. The line between is becoming almost nonexistent, which means awesome things for our day-to-day style.
What’s been the most challenging thing about working in the music industry?
Getting compensated appropriately for how our music is consumed.
If you weren’t in music, what would you be doing?
Max would most likely be a dancer or architect and Lizzy would most likely work in fashion or studio art.
Quick fire questions:
Music is... always foreground, never background.
Favourite road trip tune... ‘Shooting Stars’ by Bag Raiders.
Favourite city... Berlin.
My parents always say... Max: "tuck in your lips." Lizzy: "wash your hands."
Sweet or savoury... salty sweet.
Favourite clothing item... Lizzy: vintage Mercura NYC heart cherub sunglasses. Max: brown leather suede jacket.
My guilty pleasure... we don’t believe in feeling guilty about anything that gives us pleasure.
Apologise or ask permission... neither.
Justin Bieber is... all over our radio and we don’t hate it.
My favourite FRIENDS character is... Phoebe (Vassar College represent).
You can catch MS MR at Groovin The Moo from April 23 or at their headline shows, starting April 28 at the Metro Theatre in Sydney.