DS Exclusive: Mixtapes discuss rap albums, free downloads, being punk, Tom Gabel, then play acoustic songs

DS Exclusive: Mixtapes discuss rap albums, free downloads, being punk, Tom Gabel, then play acoustic songs

They are a band that was never going to be a band.  What started as nothing more than two friends mucking around on acoustic guitars turned into Mixtapes.  With members hailing from Cincinnati and Detroit, the band’s release schedule is something that would put a lot of punk rock veterans to shame.

Ryan and Maura sat down with Dying Scene to discuss all things Mixtapes including Ryan’s upcoming rap album, the formation of the band and how Tom Gabel, Fat Mike, Dillinger Four and The Gaslight Anthem amongst others can all “go get fucked.”  Read all the hilarity here.

How does what you listen to influence what you write?

Ryan: Essentially what I’m trying to say is that the copious amounts of rap music that I listen to I think helps me write better songs for Mixtapes, because I don’t base it upon anything that sounds like anything we would do. I think a lot of bands, bands that just listen to indie rock just sound like indie rock, and the bands that just listen to Copyright and Teenage Bottlerocket just sound like Teenage Bottlerocket, which isn’t bad.

Maura: We just have a lot of diverse influences

Ryan: I think also if you notice I pack a lot of words into our songs and don’t repeat choruses very often I think it because I listen to a lot of rap and there are just so many words and I just want to say more. But also I do rap. Maura and I have our own rap group.

Are you going to release that for free too?

Ryan: We’ll probably just put it up for free. A friend of ours to not be named, who is in a band on a big label, is kind of A+R’ing it, and we’re just trying to make money.

Maura: It sounds like radio rap.

Ryan: It sounds like Lil Wayne and T pain. All the songs are about smoking weed, which I don’t do, drinking, which I don’t do, and fucking bitches in clubs. Its just fun and goofy. Mixtapes is really serious and mostly depressing songs about how I really feel about stuff, so its just fun to write about going to the club and having sex. Maura and I just like writing songs.

“Thoughts About Growing Up”  is a lot like “Maps”, but at the same time there’s a lot more structure to it.  Was it a lot more thought out?

Ryan: That makes sense, and the reason it makes sense is that the story behind Maps  is basically Maura and I wrote all the songs acoustically, and our friend’s came down from Detroit.  He is the drummer in Fireworks, learned the songs in one night, and we recorded them all the next day. He’s an amazing drummer so luckily it worked out well, but we didn’t hear those songs with distortion and drums until they were recorded. That’s when we decided we wanted to be a functioning band.

Maura: We weren’t even going to be a real band before.

Ryan: So obviously Tim from Fireworks has Fireworks going on, and we decided to be a real band.  “Thoughts About Growing Up” came from hearing all of it before hand, so it makes sense that it would come out more structured, because we heard the songs before we recorded them.

Maura: Everything that we’ve done we’ve kind of thrown together before hand, like Maps we threw together.

Ryan: The song “Sprinkles”, I made the band learn the day before we recorded it. I wrote it and was like “we gotta learn this by tomorrow”.

Maura: Yeah and also “Sprinkles” was going to be acoustic.

How did the band come together?

Ryan: I met Maura, I used to work at a venue, and we started talking.  Then we started writing these acoustic songs, then all of a sudden Fireworks were staying at my house, Tim heard the songs, he said “I want to play drums on these.” All of a sudden we had an album out, then Death to False Hope put it out. The reason that happened was because of Scottie at that label, and we just wanted to put it out for free anyways, because we had never even played a show. It was just me and Maura, I played piano and bass, she played guitar, I played guitar, and Tim played drums.

So we just kind of messed with it, and then it all happened so fast.  It was weird.  We started getting a lot of downloads, and it was awesome, that’s been the coolest thing ever.  It’s just been very overwhelming, so all of sudden we started playing out of town like crazy, we’ve already been out to New York, then we shot a music video in Wisconsin. It’s been really weird.  It has been a blessing though.

Since this is so new and it’s all happening so fast, what does this makes Mixtapes to you?

Ryan: It’s actually the best thing ever, because I think when Maura and I wrote these songs it was the hardest two years of our lives. I think through the shittiest part of our lives and that’s the only reason I started writing these songs which is why “Maps” is mostly depressing. I think there is a positive outlook on it, but I’ve been through so much and Maura related to it, so the writing is the most personal ever,.  To have them come out and people like them its awesome. It just gets better.

Maura: I never thought in a million years that a song either one of us wrote would come out on vinyl or anything.

Ryan: We have the most fun, all we do is have fun. We’ve never had an argument or anything.

Maura: Shut up babe, we fight all the time.

Ryan: Shut up betch!  We just love playing music. We’ll play wherever. I think that’s another reason we’ve been doing so well is because we’ll play shows wherever even if its inconvenient.

Do you think you’d ever get more attention for being a girl?

Maura: Not so far.

Ryan: You’d think so, like when people come and talk to us they really talk to both of us, even guys, legitimately.

Maura: In fact, guys sometimes talk to Ryan more.

Ryan: I think people know that her and I write these songs and they like it so they talk to both of us. I think most people that come to our shows are pretty cool. We’ve played all over the place over the past whatever, and we’ve never had one weird creepy dude, not one time.

Maura: And we don’t really have any pictures of us, so no one even knows what we look like.

Ryan: We write songs like a motherfucker, when it comes to anything else in being in a band, we don’t do anything. People talk to us and say “you need promo pictures.” We don’t have any. I don’t care. That’s how punk we are.

Maura: Yeah, we’re so fucking punk.

Ryan: People don’t really know what we look like. I guess maybe they do, because people have been talking to us. I look forward to the day when theres a weird creepy dude.

Maura: Me to! Because I’m going to creep him out…

Ryan: And I’m going to pay him to rape you…

So what prompted the split with you and Direct Hit?

Ryan: We’d already been talking to Direct Hit for a while, we liked them and they liked us. I showed them to Maura before we even talked to them.

Maura: We like each others music a lot.

Ryan: Then Nick from Direct Hit got a hold of me and said “Your stuff’s really good, we’ve been listening to it”.  That was cool, then we talked to Lisa at Kinda Like Records, at first I wasn’t sure, but she does PR for Counting Crows, and Against Me! But fuck Against Me!, and fuck Tom Gabel, I’ll smack his face.

Why do you hate Tom Gabel?

Ryan: I don’t know, but I’ll smack him in the mouth.  See, I’m not one of those people who doesn’t like him because he’s in a big band, I just never liked them.

Do you feel like he’s done the punk thing, then sold out?

Ryan: The only reason I’d say that I’d agree with that is funny.  It isn’t because he’s signed to a major label and got a tour bus, because fuck I’d sign to a major label if it was a good deal, but we also didn’t build Mixtapes around being fucking anarchists, and made a DVD that was essentially us taking offers from major labels and us laughing at them, and then six months later signing to major labels and going on big tours and stuff like that. We didn’t build our band around that.

Maura:We don’t really have a cause.

Ryan: We just write about our everyday lives and what happens. It’s not like a goal, or an anti-goal,  but that band I feel like based their entire existence on that entire thing, and now is like “forget it, we don’t care”.  They’re making a living and that’s cool, more power to them and they’re awesome compared to all the shit that’s on the radio, at least those dudes are real dudes, but I’ll still smack Tom Gabel in the face. And The Gaslight Anthem, fuck that band.


Yeah, but fuck em’ And Dillinger Four, fuck that band.  Hot Water Music?

Fuck them?

Fuck them.

What about Fat Mike? Fuck him?

Really fuck him… We played with NoFX in my last band. No Use For A Name, their singer was a dick, fuck that guy for real.

Tony Sly?  Really?

Yes, for real. I just like to talk shit, I don’t know if you can tell.  Even if I like the band.  Like I love Dillinger Four, but fuck em’.  They’re actually one of my favorite bands.

Do you want to list some “Fuck em” bands?

Ryan: Let’s say if we had a room and we could throw a grenade in that room, here are the bands that should be in that room…

Maura: Abraham Lincoln should be in that room.

Ryan: Abraham Lincoln, yeah he’d be in there. Other than Abraham Lincoln, that room would be full with None More Black, Hot Water Music, Dillinger Four, Gaslight Anthem…who else is big around here?

Maura: Avril Lavinge…

Ryan: No, that’s real punk. That’s the real shit, you can’t throw her in the room.

Please excuse my camera. I had no idea how to work the auto-focus. I’m a writer, not a cinematographer…

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published.