MisterWives Is A Piece Of Old New York City Come To Life

Photo: Courtesy of Photo Finish/Republic Records.
In many ways, MisterWives' story is one you don't hear much anymore. Theirs is the kind of tale that makes musicians want to move to New York City in the first place.  The band formed in 2013 when lead singer Mandy Lee wanted to book an '80s cover band for her birthday party.  It was then she met fellow bandmates Etienne Bowler and William Hehi. Turns out, she and Bowler were working at restaurants just a block apart. They decided to join forces, played a show at the Canal Room, and got signed the next day. Fast forward to 2015, and they're playing Late Night with Seth Meyers and South by Southwest. It's the kind of thing you forgot can happen in NYC — a place artists, writers, and creative types can barely afford to even live,  let alone succeed. Yet, here they are. We caught up with MisterWives at SXSW to talk about their ride to fame so far, how they make their friendship work, and their zero-to-60 experience. Where does the group's name come from?
Mandy: "The name is a playful twist on the term 'sister wives.' We reversed the roles so that Mandy married all the guys and we all became friends. Best friends at that, too! Not actually married though...yet."

Tell me about the tree house as a creative hub for songwriting.
Mandy: "Getting to write in a tree was so dang peaceful and allowed me to write without getting caught up in this hectic, distracting, chaotic world we live in. I was struggling with writer's block at the time  — as well as time constraints with getting the album done — and just kept getting frustrated/caught up in what others wanted from the music. Being in a place so secluded from it all gave me the chance to focus on my the music without any restrictions. Rain or shine, I was in that thing from morning til morning and I wouldn't have it any other way.

You all played Late Night with Seth Meyers earlier this year. What was that experience like?
Mandy: "It was so awesome, but incredibly nerve racking! We actually met Seth and he's such an amazing guy with great energy. We also got to peep the set of SNL down the hall. It's just insane that we get to do this as a career. Forever pinching ourselves!"

When people see a group, they look at them and ask which one of them is gonna go solo.  How do you keep the group dynamic working so everyone feels just as important?
Etienne: "Do people actually think that? Ha! Well, Mandy has already had many opportunities to go solo, and she'd be so successful at doing that if she ever wanted to. But, she wanted a band and a family and a strong team. There are no egos in this band; everyone's role is so important. We all help out onstage and off. For example, I'm doing [this portion of the] interview at the airport right now so that Mandy can get Cliff bars and snacks for the flight.  Honestly, we're just all best friends — and who wouldn't want that? There is a chance, though, that Marc and will do a side project called Meatwolf..."

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