Sunday, December 26, 2010

MAKE OUT - Live Review & Interview

Danish music veteran Jesper Mortensen and New York upstart Leah Hennessey brought their glam-punk rock band - MAKE OUT - to The Mercury Lounge on December 16 and the results were nothing less than spectacular. Capably assisted by band mates Anders Christiansen on bass and Olivia Aliminiana on drums, the thrash, bash and pop delighted a dancing, animated and sometimes moshing audience that included non other than NY Doll David Johansen as well as members of bands Hooray For Earth and Zambri. What this star studded collective witnessed was the pretty and youthful Hennessey confidently taking command of center stage, while brains-behind-the-project Mortensen slashed pop chords and harmonized to the lyrics he wrote. Their just released single "I Don't Want Anybody That Wants Me,"finds Leah singing with a sneer in her voice about being on the prowl to "find a lover tonight," only to petulantly reject all interested parties. Jesper's four chord chorus (and primary hook) precisely marks out the vocal melody as Anders strong bass line is punctuated by Olivia's sharp percussive accents. Their debut EP is due out February 2011.

Meeting Leah pre-show for interview

and also Jesper

Leah sports warm winter hat

While Jesper rocks a "festive" sweater

The Drums - as punk as you can get

Olivia and Leah

Jesper masterminds it all

Check out the band live:

It's short punk n' pop blasts from this collective:

But what do they have to say for themselves?
Read on:

You have a debut record coming out soon. What are the details on it all?
It's a three song EP called "How To" (MAKE OUT). We have a lot of songs written, but we just haven't recorded them all yet. Our next single will be called "What You Doing Later." Jesper wrote the bulk of the early material, but we're going to start collaborating more now.

What was the vision behind MAKE OUT and how is making music in New York different from making it in Denmark?
There are talented people in Denmark but sometimes finding someone who wants to do the same thing as you isn't always possible. When we met here in New York we discovered that we all had good, eclectic, wide tastes in music. Because of that we can simply try to think about what each song needs and what would make them fun and exciting. As opposed to trying to sound like any one specific style.

How did you go about developing the songs?

We didn't start off with a concept or anything. Like all the songs should be short and fast and only two minutes. We had these songs and we just practiced them and realized what makes them exciting was this jump cut mentality. Cutting out all the boring stuff. We had some songs that were much longer. Almost like prog-rock with all these beautiful parts but we didn't want it to be boring so we cut things down to their essential core.

How would you describe what you do in your live show?

We don't have any gimmicky prepared routine. Its not predictable and different all the time. Sometimes we go completely insane and other times its been more serious. Were totally in love with all this poppy stuff but were just having fun with it all. It looks the same as when are practicing with each other, when were playing by ourselves. Playing the songs puts us in a mood to project how we are feeling.

What was the inspiration behind the cake image that goes along with your "I don't want anybody that wants me" single?

We thought it would be fun. We always make cup cake jokes because practice across from a cup cake place. Also were always saying that we want it to be poppy and light. When we talk about pop we never think about what is pop now. When we think pop, I think we mean actual cake and the image of 16 candles and teenage lust

What are some of your favorite authors and what are you currently reading?

Leah: I'm a philosophy student, so my favorite author of all time is Nietzsche, and currently I'm really into the philosopher Gilles Deleuze. I also read and write fiction as well. The Wizard of Oz series are some of my favorite books ever written.

Jesper: I'm a bit of a music nerd, so I read a lot, but mostly about music. Starting 10 years ago I read all the biographies at the library.

One more live - "Come On Over Tonight"

Origins: Denmark and New York City

What it is: MAKE OUT is melodic, hooky pop with a punk edge to it all

For those who like: Bikini Kill, Free Kitten, The New York Dolls
Relevant info: Played showcase at The Mercury Lounge to both critical and fan acclaim. Featured in SPIN, Virgin Mobile Live and East Village Radio.


Anonymous said...

Nice review

DaveCromwell said...

Oh, lovely of you to say, Anouk.

deadmandeadman said...

Nice interview Dave, with the expected great photos. (see, you've spoiled us, we expect top-shelf now...because of your track record.)
The band has an interesting sound, a neo-retro urban angst thats bracing & fun.
You keep bringing them Dave, I'll keep listening.

Mr Smork said...

nice piece. was fun to read. and they sound exactly a described, description really matches their name. :)
i like their sound and how they ar on the stage, seems like they brings out good energy.
interview was something i been waiting a long time from you, dave. :)
and i notice you and that dude both have same taste to the books. :)

DaveCromwell said...

Hey deadsy - thanks for the "photo track record" acknowledgment. I try to bring something unique to the table. I like your description of the band as "neo-retro urban angst" - wish I had thought of that.

Mr. Smork - they were total "energy" on stage. You couldn't help but feel the enthusiasm - especially in Leah's performance. And yes - Jesper and I share similar taste in reading material. Good spotting.

ViewFromSpookysDoghouse said...

Damn those tunes are short! They must have to play fifteen to twenty of them to fill up a set at the Mercury Lounge. I imagine the sound person at the club gave them a five song warning instead of the usual one or two. Not that that's a bad thing. Brevity is good. But to clarify: is Leah stating that prog-rock or beauty is boring? Not making judgments here, I just want to understand what I read. They are certainly enthusiastic about their performance and material, and I like the key change at the end of the third song included in this blog.

DaveCromwell said...

I'll have to ask Leah what she meant the next time I speak to her, VFSD. Good follow-up question.

I would say "enthusiasm" is the key component of this band (at the moment). Its quite refreshing.

Anonymous said...

They sound like a pretty interesting band, love to hear some studio versions.

Welcome back to the blogosphere! Hope you had a good Christmas and that you aren't all snowed in over in NYC

Prog rock ? Don't get me started! haha.

DaveCromwell said...

Andy - you can grab a download of their studio single over at their site. Go get it!

We are totally snowed under here!


Anonymous said...

Glad to see you back, Dave.

Whoa, this band sounds like [looking for the perfect choice of words] a pop/rock version of Sex Pistols or something like that. Professionally executed tracks, a lot of energy and a lovely "dirty" sound that reminds of Iggy Pop's older recordings. The vocals are great, same goes for the rest of the band, there are good proportions here.

Probably not a ground-breaking explosion but absolutely something more than an average, decent young rock band. They've got a potential and hopefully we'll hear about them again sometime soon so we can see how their career goes on.

I've enjoyed it!

DaveCromwell said...

I'm loving your reference checks to The Sex Pistols and Iggy Pop, eagle. I didn't think of either but I agree with both!

Glad you could dig it.

Patricia said...

I like this interview Dave, so fun and great. I had not heard this music, but sounds good, i like them.

DaveCromwell said...

I'm happy to make you aware of them, Paty.

I'm very much looking forward to hearing some more studio versions of these songs.

Unknown said...

unreal review dave! this new project is going to be big.
Im a huuuge fan of jespers work, (i know all of the in's and out's of all of junior senior's instrumental tracks) and this just proves that hes way legit. This band has a distinct sound that you cant really put a finger on (junior senior was the same way)
I might have to drive out to NY to a show if they dont come to california soon. :]

Unknown said...

What ever happened to them? Haven’t heard anything from them. Does anyone know what happened to Jesper??

DaveCromwell said...

Hey Gaby soto - good question. I tried to hunt down new info on them (and Jesper) but everything seems to peter out after 2011. Weird. But - if you like singers from Denmark - I have a brand new interview up right now here on this site - for Sune Rose Wagner of The Raveonettes! Check it out here:

Just copy and paste that link - or go to the most recent feature here (as of this comment) - in the future - just search for Sune Rose in the search box. Cheers!

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