William Hehir of Misterwives talk mtvU Woodie Awards, SXSW, debut album, first headlining tour and more
March 18, 2015
The annual South by Southwest Music and Media Conference kicked off yesterday and New York-based indie pop band Misterwives are heading to Austin, Texas to join in on the fun. The upbeat band announced yesterday via their social media accounts that they will be playing a set on Wednesday at the Republic Showcase, and two sets on Thursday; at the Photo Finish Day Party and the Spotify House.
While Misterwives was fortunate enough to play the festival last year, the band’s bassist, William Hehir, states there are no words to describe what SXSW is, let alone a way to psychology prepare yourselves for what you will endure there.
“Its just one of the craziest experiences of all times,” Hehir says in a recent conference call. “You got kids walking with bass amps over their head, getting from one show to the next, and I think that’s what’s awesome. Everyone is extremely humbling and on their grind.
“It’s great because it’s one of those things where you can meet so many people, whether it is fans or people you have toured with in the past, so it’s just a complete utter chaos, but for some reason it works,” continued Hehir. “It doesn’t matter where you go you can hear music. I think it’s perfect that it’s in Austin because I think that’s one of the only cities in the world that if you were to get up at 8 o’clock in the morning to play music someone would be there to listen to you.”
The group will close out their week at SXSW with an appearance and performance at the mtvU Woodie Awards, Friday, where they are up against James Bay, Kygo, Rae Sremmurd, Raury, and Years & Years for the “Artist to Watch Woodie.”
Consisting of lead singer Mandy Lee, percussionist Etienne Bowler, bass guitarist Hehir, guitarist Marc Campbell, multi-instrumentalist Jesse Blum, and sit-in saxophonist Mike Murphy, Misterwives released their debut studio album, “Our Own House,” in late February.
In support of their debut studio album, the band will be out on the road through spring headlining their first tour. Their U.S. tour will keep them on the road through mid-April, though they are scheduled to appear at a few festivals thereafter.
In the conference call, excerpts from which are below, we had opportunity to speak with Hehir regarding the band’s style — getting drunk with Sugar Ray — being nominated for a Woodie, and much more.
What would it feel like to win the “Artist to Watch Woodie” at the mtvUWoodie Award?
William Hehir: Just to be nominated is absolutely incredible. MTV has been so incredibly gracious to us, from having us in Artist to Watch showcase, as well as including our song [“Vagabond] in “Finding Carter” as like the theme song.
What would you say has been the most monumental thing of your career thus far?
William Hehir: The best part of this job is that we get to play live shows every night, so to play our first headlining show in Philadelphia was certainly monumental. It was a sold-out audience. Fortunately it’s close to New York — where we all are from — so a bunch of our family was there. We had people from our label there, and our agents and managers came through
The most monumental moment was finally playing that first show and coming off stage and seeing the reaction we got from our managers, family and friends. They have been so supportive and have given us so much room to let us do whatever we wanted, so to see them beaming with pride was incredibly humbling. It almost brought a tear to my eye. It was extremely humbling.
John Oates have shown a liking to your music. What advice have you guys been receiving from others in the industry?
William Hehir: John Oates was like so supportive of everything we were doing and it was incredible. We actually got to meet him at Electric Lady Studios where he had recorded “Out of Touch,” the song we covered. He was very into what we were doing and kind of just told us to keep going with it.
We had the opportunity to open for Sugar Ray at a college show. We didn’t want to step on his toes but we did want to just go say hello and thank him for letting us open for him and all of the things he has done with music. The guy is just like one of the coolest people I have ever meet. He demanded that we hang out with him in his dressing room, and we end up taking way too many shots of whiskey and played trivia with him. He was the kind of person who was like “there is always going to be people in the industry who are going to tell you to do this and to do that, but just forget it. Don’t listen to them. Always do what you’re comfortable with and always be yourselves. Don’t ever let that change.”
I think that resonated with us because that’s something that we are very adamant about anyways, but to hear it come from someone whose career has virtually spanned across three decades, its certainly reassuring. It’s something that we all took to heart.
What type of of kinks did you guys have to fix transitioning from a supporting act to headlining your first tour?
William Hehir: We actually had the opportunity to do some pre-production, so we did a week at this place called Montana studios in New York, so that helped us work the live show. You never know how a show is going to go until you play it to a live audience. So far its be going really well, we have a few more choreographed dances moves that we been doing, which I am not the best of.
We’ve been so accustom to opening for bands and having only 25 to 30 minutes to win over an audience, so to have a hour and 15 minutes to play to a group of people who come out see us specifically is incredibly humbling. It’s a challenge we are willing to work towards. Its a challenge to not cry every night.
Do you prefer touring or creating in the studio?
William Hehir: They are two different beast and I appreciate them equally, but, I’m definitely the kind of person who is hardwired to be out on tour. I don’t like to really be in one place at any point in time. After any of the tours that we done in the past — whether is be two weeks or two months — when I get home I’m happy for like 15 minutes because I get to see a few friends and family members. But then then you go so crazy.
There is no greater experience, at least in my opinion, to be able to play live music and thank all of the people who have been so incredibly supportive. That’s why we do this because we want to be able to connect with these people who have really given us this opportunity to pursue our dreams. So, it’s great to be in the studio, and I think there’s always room for creativity there, but on the same note we try to keep the live show changing almost every single night. So we are constantly thinking about a few things we can add and give away, and how we can make this show the absolutely best it can be. So to have our first headlining tour is surreal to us. We are just trying to make it as impactful as humanly possible.
Your new album “Our Own House” incorporates many different sounds, leaving people not able to classify you into a specific group. Do you think no genre, is the new genre?
William Hehir: Perhaps it is. That’s the idea. I think it’s humbling in a certain degree and reassuring that people don’t know how to classify us because we are all inspired by so many different shades of music, and that is a reflection of what’s on the album and in the live show. I think that’s awesome because you don’t want to be pigeonholed into being too folky or to poppy, because their are so many sounds and music is constantly involving. So to try and play the role of taking all those pieces and putting them together that they are still coherent; hopefully it’s a refreshing taste of things like Motown, folk and pop. We have so much to learn from all the music that’s already been made and the music being created today, so to take from all of those influences are pretty excited.