From humble start to hit records, and a dance with ‘Game of Thrones,’ MS MR take regal approach to music
When thinking back to how she and Max Hershenow first thought of the name for their electro pop band MS MR, Lizzy Plapinger admits it was a simple process.
“We were looking for something regal,” says the singer.
In their search for a royal moniker, Miss and Mister represented the formal-yet-mundane titles for respected women and men. And this suited the then-anonymous performers royally.
MS MR will perform on the second night of shows at The StubHub Music Experience on Wednesday 18 in Austin, one of three performances for the group during the South by Southwest Music Festival. The shows come while buzz around the New York City band continues to build and with a second album in sight, and three years after a subtle start on a college campus.
Hershenow and Plapinger began their careers in music from very different ends of the industry. Both studied at Vassar College and both had experience with music, but neither approached the performance side of music head-on.
Hershenow was fascinated by Vassar’s modern dance program and fell into creating music as a way to control his own dance pieces.
“I ended up starting to produce,” he says, “because I wanted to have music to choreograph to.”
Plapinger, meanwhile, started her own record label, Neon Gold, out of her dorm room.
“On the business side of things, I didn’t think I was going to be a musician myself,” she says. “Even though I might have fantasized about it in karaoke.”
When Hershenow asked her for an artist in her label to work with, she decided to send him some demos of her own private work.
“For whatever reason, I just decided to send Max some stuff that I had been working on,” she says. “And I told him, you know, I don’t really share this with anyone and I know you’ll be honest with me about it.”
Despite her initial reservations, when Hershenow heard what she had created, MS MR became an idea ready to be put into action. The two wrote furiously and experimented with their sound as well as its reception among their audience.
Referring to their initial professional meetings, Hershenow recalls sharing “low expectations and a sort of openness to explore. And we recognized that in each other right off the bat.”
Three years later they have a hit song in “Hurricane,” toured all over the world, put out their first record and even saw their song “Bones” featured on the third season trailer for the HBO hit series, “Game of Thrones.” Now they are in the final stages of completing their second. Described as a “good evolution” from their first album, the yet-untitled project is due out this year.
“On our first album, we didn’t really know what we were doing, and now I feel like we have the skills to say, ‘OK, let’s make a dance song,’ and we really know how to,” Plapinger says. “We made the music we wanted to make and poured ourselves into it. But we made it for us. Everything wonderful that fell into place after the music was created was just the cherry on top of seeing our visions fulfilled.”