Have an exclusive interview today with Hartford, CT based pop-punk outfit Mission Transmission. The band have been making a name for themselves with their exquisite live sets and heavy slanted guitar riffs that give them a two-pronged effect that is unlike anything else currenly out there, and really makes them pop and sizzle right out of the gate. I saw these guys in concert a couple of months ago at PA's lounge, and their live set really made me swoon and appreciate these gentlemen from the get go. The guys were nice enought to take some time out of their busy schedules to talk about the beginnings of the band, and how their music has changed their own lives. Here is the transcript from our chat:
Give us your names and what you do in the band?
Adam - vocals Brian - guitar, vocals Mike - guitar, vocals Seth - bass Rich - drums
How did you guys all meet and when did the band form?
Rich: [Brian] Dunnigan and I met through playing shows together in separate bands. After his band got back from a stint on warped tour they broke up, and my band was getting ready to head out to California. I asked Dunnigan if he wanted to form a cover band just to play shows and make money, because I had a crappy job and no real way to save for the move. After about a week of talking, I asked Dunnigan if he wanted to be an original band instead, and he replied with "I thought you'd never ask."
Now we started auditioning friends of ours for different positions and landed on Seth instantly for bass, just as his band was breaking up, [Mike] Morin, my old college roommate and former bandmate, and then Dunnigan called Adam who he knew from high school and college to round out the lineup. And we've been together ever since.
Describe the sound of the group for those who aren't familiar with you?
Rich: We try to blend all of our influences into each song, drawing on things we might be into at the time or stuff we've grown up on. Seth and Morin came from a heavier musical background band-wise, but like all kinds of stuff. Dunnigan played in a ska band, Adam used to play in an acoustic act, and I drew mostly on punk/pop punk. We all listen and vibe off each other and pull the songs in different directions.
What are some influences that have personally shaped your musical tastes up until this point and some that have shaped the band as well?
It's always tough to pinpoint exactly who's influenced you, but as a whole, we tend to create songs that are in the genre of Yellowcard, Jimmy Eat World, Mayday Parade, All Time Low, Story of the Year, with a touch of Four Year Strong influencing some of our later stuff
What is your favorite thing about performing in a live setting?
For me personally, we love being in front of a crowd. It's a rush that you can't explain. Getting up and having people watching you play, it really makes you want to leave an impression on people, you know? Leave them going "wow that band was nuts!". One of the most rewarding things is being up on stage performing one of your own songs and seeing someone in the crowd singing along. The feeling is overwhelming just seeing how an idea or feeling you created into this song has now translated over to someone else... sometimes a complete stranger.
Take us behind the recording process for "One Small Step" and what that whole experience was like?
It was really cool. We worked with a friend of a friend, Jon Abarca, who was super easy to work with. Morin and Rich had worked with him on a hip hop record we recorded with another band and knew he'd do us justice. He made the whole thing very fun, but at the same time he did his research when we told him how we wanted to shape our sound in the studio. It was a fun, though at times (like late night mixing and mastering session to meet deadlines) stressful. But the end result was worth it.
What do you think it is that sets you guys apart from the other up and coming bands in the scene?
We're about as genuine a band as you get. We're 5 guys that have come together to make music, plain and simple. And we have a fun time doing it. You can tell on stage. Also, a little known fact, but we are pretty handy. We design our own shirts and screen print them ourselves, program our own lighting which is unique to the set list, built our own light boxes that we get to jump on during shows, re-purposed an old guitar case into a fold-up merch stand, film, edit, and produce our own photo shoots, videos, and posters for upcoming shows... you get the idea. Most of what we do is homemade because between the 5 of us, someone will have some random talent or at least the tools to get it done.
What do you guys like to do for fun in your spare time away from playing and recording music?
We all keep pretty busy. A bunch of us go to the gym regularly so when we challenge Four Year Strong to a bench-off in the parking lot at Warped Tour it won't be a total shutdown. Some of us enjoy cooking to Frank Sinatra or blues classic hits. We hang out often with a big group of our close friends outside of practice and will have parties at the band house sometimes. We all enjoy craft beers - someone usually brings over a micro brew that none of us have ever had before.
What's coming up next for you guys later on this year, are you guys working on new material as of right now?
Yeah we're working on some new tunes and we'll hopefully be recording/shooting some videos in the near future. Always keeping busy!
Lastly, how has being in this band changed each of you individually?
Rich: I always enjoy the challenge of trying to play what a singer or guitarist (or any non-drummer) can beat box to me. Sometimes when you've been playing an instrument for so long something complex may seem simple, and the lack of experience actually creates a better drum part for a song than an experienced one. And in that, I've come a long way from being a stubborn kid who couldn't be told to slow down or not go for that "sick" fill to someone who enjoys the challenge of playing the RIGHT part. I've grown up a lot in that sense.
Dunnigan: I think the group of people you surround yourself with shapes who you are as a person. Rich and I were very careful about who we selected to be in the band knowing that we would be spending a ton of time with these people and that they would be shaping who we are as people. What this band has changed about me, similar to Rich, is my openness to new ideas and trying out new things. When you're younger you think you know everything and as you get older you realize that the only way to truly know everything is to listen to what other people have to say.
Morin: This band has definitely taught me to be more open. As a group, we foster a creative atmosphere where it's easy to share ideas and lend criticism. I never feel like I have to hold back and because of that I feel like we're always moving forward.
Seth: I used to be very set in the style of music I was interested in playing, but being a part of mission transmission has allowed me to grow creatively in ways I would have previously overlooked.
The biggest changes for me were the opportunities and connections we have made, including what the future holds. It's incredible when you think of all the relationships you make and all you get to experience being involved in something like this - all the friends you may never have met otherwise. I could've been going down a much different path by now, yet I can't picture how my life would be without all the growing I've done as a person and musically with this band. It is a significant part of who I am.
Thanks once again to the fellas in Mission Transmission for taking some time out to do this interview. They really seem to have a grasp of the type of music they want to play their fans, and even they themselves can't believe at how their lives have changed as the result of playing together. For more info on Mission Transmission, 'Like' them on Facebook here and give them a follow on Twitter right here.