Well over the last decade, MewithoutYou has been regarded as one of the most beautifully articulate and genre-defining groups of their time. From their first two full-lengths, A To B Life and Catch For Us The Foxes, MewithoutYou introduced themselves as an emotionally passionate entity that gained them notoriety within the post-hardcore scene. As the band began to part with their heavy-core tendencies with transcending studio efforts like Brother Sister and It’s All Crazy! It’s All False! It’s All a Dream! It’s Alright, the band soon carried the torch with an infatuating indie rock persona that has been brought to life by the eccentric prose of lyricist Aaron Weiss.
While MewithoutYou have transitioned toward different musical avenues throughout their career, there is no doubt that the heavy-core elements of the band’s emotive musicianship can still shine through their heartfelt and gripping live performances. Years later, MewithoutYou’s core-devoted fanbase still continues to show their undying support. Immediately after the band revealed their plans to release their forthcoming sixth studio album—which is expected to be released sometime later this year—there has been a lot of buzz and excitement revolving around the MewithoutYou camp as they gear up to share with Dr. Dog on the Flamingo Hotel tour this winter.
Right before the holidays, I had the chance to talk with MewithoutYou guitarist and songwriter Michael Weiss about their upcoming tour in support with Dr. Dog. Along with sharing past stories on these how these two likeminded acts have united together and crossed paths over the years, Weiss also enlightened us with an update on LP6, while reflecting back on their past fall tour in support of the 10-year anniversary of Catch For Us The Foxes.
Pretty soon, MewithoutYou will be starting the new year off by going on tour in support of Dr. Dog. What will you be looking forward to about these shows the most?
I have been hoping and wishing for like, I want to say eight years now to tour with Dr. Dog. So, I …after giving on it ever happening, it was pretty amazing to get to hear the opportunity. I think whenever you think about going out on the road and touring with other bands, a big part of what makes that appealing is to be associated with bands that you respect and are making the kind of music that you think somehow connects with what you’re doing in a way—not necessarily always in a direct comparable sort of way, but there is some sort of spirit that I feel connects the music of two bands.
And also, just the fact we’ve known a few of those guys since like, college—for years. I think, you know, you look at that band and the personality of the band and the kindness of the band makes you feel really excited to spend the time, you know? We’re just so pleased.
I actually spoke with Scott McMicken [vocalist and lead guitarist of Dr. Dog] recently and he told me that you guys go way back. How long have you personally known the band? What were some of your earliest memories from crossing paths with Dr. Dog over the years?
Well… okay, so Scott McMicken went to West Chester… actually, no, we played a show with them at West Chester, maybe that’s what I’m thinking. I think they were still in Raccoon, which was another band of theirs before Dr. Dog was formed, but we had mutual friends.
But as far as memories are concerned, just hearing them play, whether it would be seeing them play West Chester—and I even remember hearing them play at the North Star Bar—and just seeing kind of what they were able to do with not only their sound, but sort of the way they presented themselves on stage, it was completely different and unique and refreshing, and you can also see that they were serious about what they’re doing. I think especially with Scott and Toby [Leaman], I can see that these guys were not just doing this as a hobby. It was pretty clear that it was sort of a vocational decision to make this their career… and look what they did with it.
So, just seeing them live and having mutual friends who sort of brought us together because we were all doing the same thing, you know? We were all trying to make our music and we were all sort of likeminded with our dreams and stuff like that.
Since you just finished up the East Coast run of the Catch For Us The Foxes tour earlier in the fall, will there be any songs off of the record that will make its way into the rotation of your setlists of this upcoming tour? Or will your sets vary spontaneously throughout each night?
Yeah, I mean, normally we look at that record as one that represents more of the “core” sort of sound of the band as a whole, or at least, you know, more of our “core” competency I would say as a band. You know, that and maybe the subsequent record, Brother Sister, I think we normally do more a good amount of songs off of that regardless.
I think my hunch is that we are going to lay off for a little bit since we just did the entire record for people. I don’t think we’re going to go a heavy with the Catch songs, but we’re definitely going to play some of them for sure.
Speaking of which, what was it like to play this full record in its entirety and especially to reconnect with Catch For Us The Foxes in a live setting once again? How did the East Coast run compare to the West Coast dates you played for this tour earlier in the year?
Umm… yeah, I would say we do better in some markets than others. Not just strictly, “East Coast is better than West Coast,” but I would say we have more success on the East Coast. I think when you mentioned a couple of the songs off the record before, we had to dust off and play some for the first time in years.
It’s kind of weird to play a whole record live though straight through because, once you do that kind of tour, it’s almost exactly the same kind of set every week. We don’t normally go out on tour and play the same set, which you know, a lot of bands do that. I understand why they do that, but we never really wanted to do the verbatim sort of setlists, like we did on those tours, so that was kind of strange. We did do an encore every night with different songs every night, which was cool.
So the word is that you’re planning on releasing a new record sometime this coming up year, LP6. Will there be any new details on this record coming anytime soon?
The record is just about to get started in the mixing process, so all the music has been tracked—with a couple of background vocals here and there. We’re just going over artwork ideas and all of the things that you start to talk about when you’re at this point in the process—sequencing, what’s going to make the record, and what isn’t. It’s all coming together beautifully. I mean, we’re looking to get it out. Unless if something catastrophic happens, yeah, we’re going to release it in the middle of next year at some point.
Since this will be the first release since 2012’s Ten Stories, what was the overall response like right after you first announced that this new record was in the works?
Since we announced that we are releasing our sixth record? Yeah, actually, I think for the most part, it just depends on where you’re looking to find responses and feedback. Because, I mean, I think anybody that’s on our Facebook page is generally a fan, so it’s always really a nice feeling when you hear your fans sound off on how they’re excited that you’re still making music.
And I think for the most part, no one’s going to go on our Facebook and say stuff like, “Just give up,” you know? (Laughs) So, I tend to keep my troll around on our band to a minimum, but I’ll leave it at there. But yeah, I did notice that there was an announcement about our record coming out and it was really cool. It’s been a great response and people are really excited and I think that they’re going to be very, very, very happy when they hear it too.
For us, we’ve been sort of working on it and trying to perfect every little thing, and it’s exciting to think that soon, people are going to hear it all at once and get to experience what we’ve been slaving over and working so hard to keep doing what we do, so I’m very, very excited.
Musically and lyrically, how will LP6 differ in comparison to Ten Stories? What should devoted MewithoutYou fans expect to look forward to the most about this upcoming release?
Well, for one thing, the thing I am enjoying about it… the first thing that comes to mind is that I feel like I am kind of reconnecting with Aaron Weiss a little bit—as far as what he is going through in his life and how he is processing certain events and where his mind is. I feel like I am getting more in touch with Aaron as an individual through his lyrics on this record, as opposed to it being, you know, like, Ten Stories, which is very, very, very guarded in some respect because it is sort of him telling stories playing the role as a narrator—or playing the role for speaking in character for different animals as the story unfolds. In the song, there’s always sort of a disconnection between what you’re hearing and Aaron as a personality.
So, on this record, it’s a lot more of just Aaron speaking in his own point of view—and not just that, but also making accounts of certain ideas and certain understandings and certain misunderstandings, or whatever the case might be with where Aaron’s at and just hearing more of his voice in the first person.
And secondly, I think the band is trying to focus on, you know, like more on what I spoke about earlier, like our “core competency” of what we can do the best as a band and where our strengths lie. And you know, it sort of goes without saying that we are strike here and there, and sort of experiment. But I think on this record, we are really kind of trying to explore, how do you bring the best out of this band and not just to constantly… I don’t know, explore the next like, baby sound that we can have, I love (laughs).
Now that you’ll be spending most of the winter and early spring on the road along with the fact that LP6 is in fact coming out this year, what are some other plans you have in the works for this upcoming year? Is there a possibility that there will be a lot more extensive touring in support of the new record when it comes out?
You know, we’re going to Australia later next month and we’re most likely going to do a headlining tour in conjunction with the release of the album, which will most likely be in the summer—which will be a full U.S. [tour] and it’s the early stages. We’re still figuring out routing and we don’t know who else is going to be on this tour. I imagine that we’re going to try to put the music out in interesting ways like, videos—maybe try to make a video or two. And yeah, maybe try to release some seven inches, maybe do singles with a B-side.
We still have some material that was originally intended for the LP, but we’re probably just going to be moving it. We’ll release it on an EP or a B-side. So, we have a little bit more writing to do, a little bit more recording to do and yeah, we’re going to be busy next year and it’s a great feeling.
MewithoutYou will be playing at the Music Hall Of Williamsburg in Brooklyn on Jan. 12 and at the Bowery Ballroom in Manhattan on Jan. 15. For more information, go to mewithoutyou.com.