...heading into town this evening from the birthplace of rock n' roll, Cleveland trio Mystery of Two
channel a unique amalgam of post-punk energy. As the first stop on their current tour in advance of the debut full-length, we caught up with guitarist/singer Ryan Weitzel to talk about the band's origins, it's label, Exit Stencil Recordings
, and the nature of playing music in Ohio...
The Buddha Den: Starting off, how did Mystery of Two come into being? What influences brought you together? What outfits preceded this one? Where did you get the band name?
Ryan Weitzel: Mystery of Two started several years ago, with Nick eventually joining and then more recently Jeff. It feels like we've solidified as a unit at this point so that's an exciting place to be as a group. We've all been floating around the Cleveland music scene for a while, we all came together through various personal connections and from just knowing each other from around. The band name comes as a reaction to a poem that 's being read under or during the Gang of Four song Anthrax, he is questioning why so many groups sing about Love and or what the root of that is. The reading ends with... " I dont think were saying there's anything wrong with love, We just don't think that what goes on between two people Should be shrouded with mystery." So the name is kind of a reaction to that statement, it also speaks to how people interpret things, which I'm always interested in lyrically. I enjoy the vast differences in what two different people can pull from the same thing.
TBD: What is the relationship between Mystery of Two and Exit Stencil Recordings? Which came first? How do you view Exit Stencil Recordings as a label in the current music industry climate?
RW: Brandon Stevens started Exit Stencil, I got involved with a solo 7" that I had recorded which ended up getting released under the name Mystery of Two, It was just about the time the band was getting together originally. So I kinda got signed by Brandon if you will, but we partnered on the label end of things, from there Paul Murphy joined up so we're a three man partnership. We've always been interested as a label in being artist oriented and releasing music we really like with people we believe in and work well with. It's a tough time right now in the industry, so we're working extra hard to show some returns on things. We all do this because we love music, so that helps keep it going, there's a ton of work involved with things so it can be overwhelming at times.
TBD: Last year you released the "Gravity" single as a digital single. What was the reasoning behind that decision? Do you feel that it was a good decision from an artistic/commercial perspective?
RW: Another part of Exit Stencil that we work on is a service called recordcode.com, which people can get the digital download codes from. We started offering it because ESR wanted to having codes on records, shirts, etc. and we had a hard time finding what we wanted elsewhere. The digital 7" was something Mystery pulled together for tour last year before the record got finished up. We wanted to have something that represented the group better since the other recordings were from before Jeff had joined. It's nice to have the ability to attach music to things as you see fit, sometimes people get it and like it, sometimes not so much, It's going to be great to have the download with the 12" though, super excited about that.
TBD: As Dayton will be the first stop on your current tour in advance of your self-titled full length, what can people expect from you this time around? Why the decision to tour out just in advance of the release of the record? Will there be more extensive touring following the release of the album?
RW: We're playing mostly songs off the new record for this tour with a new one or two sprinkled in there. We've started writing our follow up to this one, but won't be recording or anything like that till this winter. The original intention was to have this record done for a spring release, but things got pushed back on it, so we'll also be touring in late September closer to the release date of the record which is Sep 15th.
TBD: Being from Cleveland, how do you feel your local scene compares to other locales? What do you feel makes Cleveland a unique scene? Do you feel a certain connection with other Ohio music towns (Columbus, Dayton, Athens)?
RW: I'm not exactly sure how it compares, but the Cleveland scene is pretty competitive and everyone knows each other more or less, so it can be a lot of fun, it seems like bands are starting to tour more which is good, and hopefully some more groups from the area will see some success outside of Cleveland. I'm hoping that happens for us no doubt! But locally we've been getting some great support and have had the opportunity to open for the Meat Puppets and last week we played with Man Man out in front of the Rock Hall which was a blast. We're having a release party when we get back from this tour at the Beachland Ballroom and Tavern which Jeff manages. The exitstencil studio is also just down the street ( Waterloo) from the club and there a couple record stores on the block, so we're in a really music oriented part of town called North Collinwood. As per connections with other scenes, I guess it's more connections with people and bands that we play with and meet on the road, we have some friends in Cbus and I went to school in Athens, but outside of that I don't think there's been an overwhelming connection with scenes, maybe that's something that will develop more down the road?
TBD: Is there anything else people need to know about Mystery of Two at this point?
RW: Come see us on Tuesday at the South Park Tavern and you'll find out!
...The Buddha Den Presents: Mystery of Two at South Park Tavern tonight, July 14, along with locals Mountain Screamer
. Doors at 9 pm for all ages....MP3: Mystery of Two "Gravity"MP3: Mystery of Two "French Rocking Horse"
Labels: Exit Stencil Recordings, Mountain Screamer, Mystery of Two, South Park Tavern