On May 15th mewithoutYou released their new album “Ten Stories.” For many old mewithoutYou fans the album is a welcome return to their former raucous post-hardcore sound. Lyrically, mewithoutYou has never been better. Aaron Weiss’s lyrics are complex, poetic fables, but still retain a fairy-tailish simplicity. The poetic wanderings of Weiss’s continue to make mewithoutYou what they are today. At once confessional and mystic, concrete and wandering.
The best song on the album is undoubtedly “Fox’s Dream of the Log Flume,” which not only highlights Aaron’s lyrical genius, but brother Michael’s and Kleinberg’s guitar skills and Mazzota’s wonderful drums. There’s even a Sausurre reference to the sign and signified in the song for the nerdy English majors out there (don’t worry about it). “Provisionally eyed, practically alive,” Weiss sings “Mistook sign for signified, and so sins have tried to run him off a cliff like Gadarene swine.”
We were able to get an interview with front man and singer Aaron Weiss about the new album and touring in their bio-diesel veggie bus.
Tell me about the inspiration behind the new album.
Well, I can’t say exactly what inspired everyone else’s contributions, but I can say a bit about mine. The beginning of the story was loosely based on a true event, a menagerie train crash where a tiger opted out of escaping. Once I heard that, I figured the rest of the narrative would come relatively easily. Also, our cat Blizzard had kittens as the band was writing the songs. Having them around the house put me in a silly mood, and kept animals on my mind.
Do you consider Ten Stories a return to the previous Mewithoutyou sound?
Yes, to some extent. Mind you, we’ve always tried to challenge ourselves & change with every record, so I don’t think we really have a single sound that we could return to – but some of the stylistic elements we had abandoned with our previous release are revisited on the newest one.
What is your favorite new song on the album?
At the moment probably the one called “East Enders Wives.”
Have you made a conscious effort on the last two albums to write fables instead of exploring more personal issues? It seems you’ve moved away from a more confessional writing style to third person storyteller.
I can’t remember how conscious an effort it was, but I agree that things have moved away from a confessional style and toward fables – but of course that doesn’t mean I’m not still exploring personal issues…they’re just veiled nowadays, but thinly so.
Maybe a tired question about the whole Christian thing, but I know some Christians have criticized your use of Sufi imagery and stories on the last album, how do you see yourself balancing different religious ideas and stories in your writing?
I don’t think that’s a tired question at all – I think it’s a great question. Unfortunately, I don’t really know the answer. I’m not sure I understand what I’ve been writing about all this time, or even my own intentions or thought processes.
Are you guys still touring around in your veggie bus?
Yes, we’ve had the same bus for the past 6 years or so, but used vegetable oil is hard to come by these days.
I admire your honesty and interactions with fans at the show, is it ever annoying to have fans coming up all the time asking you questions? How do you deal with it?
I’m afraid I’m pretty easily bothered, and find some way to be dissatisfied with almost anything that happens. If I have too many interactions at a show, yes, it can be draining – but if no one wants to talk, that can be upsetting in a different way. But as for how to deal with it (with either, for that matter), my main trick for maintaining some semblance of sanity is to let go, to whatever extent possible, of any agenda I might bring to a given interaction.
mewithoutYou will be playing at In the Venue on July 20th at 6 p.m with Kevin Devine, Buried Beds, and local Salt Lake band L’anarchiste. Tickets are $12.50.