In the beginning of the year, I had the pleasure of interviewing MewithoutYou guitarist Mike Weiss as the band started their run of supporting shows with longtime friends Dr. Dog that spanned throughout different dates of the year. At that time, the band was also in the early stages of releasing details for a forthcoming studio follow-up to 2012’s Ten Stories. Shortly after, MewithoutYou announced their signing to Run For Cover Records in the spring, with the intentions of putting out their sixth album, Pale Horses, that summer.
Since releasing Pale Horses, MewithoutYou was graced with the opportunity to share their new record with their devoted fanbase on the road with the likes of Foxing and Field Mouse.
I’d also like to add that, right before the record officially dropped, MewithoutYou also played this year’s Skate & Surf Festival in Asbury Park amongst the company of many friends and admirable acts like Thrice, Kevin Devine & The Goddamn Band, Manchester Orchestra, Poison The Well, Beach Slang, The Front Bottoms and The Gaslight Anthem, to name a few. Needless to say, they were definitely one of my favorite sets of that weekend hands down.
Once MewithoutYou completed their run of headlining dates this past summer, the band returned to a more comfortable role as a supporting act on their latest fall tour with Philadelphia hometown heroes The Menzingers and Restorations, as well as Baltimore post-hardcore torchbearers, Pianos Become The Teeth. Around the time when they started this tour, I got to catch up with MewithoutYou frontman Aaron Weiss and discussed their first weekend on the road, the reception of Pale Horses, and also their plans to tour to hit up Europe and the UK at the start of the New Year.
In the beginning of the year, I had the opportunity to interview your brother, Mike Weiss, and we got to briefly talk about your sixth studio album, Pale Horses, when it was still in its early stages. With that being said, what would you say the general reception for this record’s release has been like since the summertime?
I don’t know—I’m probably not best kind of guy to ask about that. I don’t feel very left into how our music is received in terms of reviews or even album sales. But I do feel proud of the album, and I remain happy with it. I’m excited with how it turned out, and I am excited to play the songs. I don’t get the sense that it’s been extraordinarily successful in some respects, but I think it’s been well-received by our fanbase.
But our fanbase is relatively modest in size. But I probably have a skewed perspective because those who would come up and tell me what they thought of the record are generally the ones who liked it, you know?
For you personally, where does Pale Horses rank amongst the rest of your discography?
Well, it’s my favorite one… I think it’s the best one that we’ve made. And certainly as far as my contributions, it’s obviously the closest to where I am now at my life. When those lyrics were written about a year ago—of course, it’s still fresher, and closer to who I am today, than any of our other albums. So in some respect, I feel disconnected with the early music we put out.
Even in subsequent albums we put out after that, it still seemed like there were aspects of my thinking and my personality that I try to let go of that are still present. So, the newest record feels like the most accurate portrayal of where I am now, so of course it, it makes it feel more relevant.
MewithoutYou is currently on the road with The Menzingers, Pianos Become The Teeth and Restorations. How’s the first week of shows treating you so far?
Well somewhat poorly, but mostly because of my sickness. It started as a head cold, and it turned into flu symptoms. I haven’t been feeling well—I’ve had the shivers, and I’ve been feeling hot and I’ve had a stuffy head. My throat is sore, so it’s been hard to perform. We have this responsibility to put on a big, energetic show, and the sickness doesn’t lend to putting on a big performance. I recently lost a friend in a car accident right before this tour began, so I have been thinking about him.
Oh no, I am very sorry for your loss. I really hope you start to feel better.
Yeah, thank you! I think I am starting to feel much better now. Today’s the first day where I’ve felt like myself in a while, so I think it’s going to be better soon. I still feel bad about putting on a very bad show. Like, last night was probably the worst night we preformed and I feel guilty.
Would you say that it’s extremely coincidental that the lineup is stacked entirely with Philadelphia-based bands?
I’m not the right guy to ask [about] that. I have very little, if anything to do with the planning of the tour. I doubt that it was coincidental because from what I’ve gathered, the Restorations guys were friends with The Menzingers guys for a while, and it’s probably due to their geographical proximity.
Now, right before the tour, the band unveiled a combined video for the songs “Red Cow” and “Dorothy.” What was the inspiration behind the video, as well as the concept of combining these two songs together for one visual?
Sure. I think it was collaborative, in that the idea to combine the two songs into a single video was from our manager. Then some of the details of the video’s… well, the entirety of the “Dorothy” portion, and certain aspects of the “Red Cow” portion, were brought by the video’s director, Daniel Davidson. And there were other portions of the “Red Cow” video that were in a sense kind of a “reenactment” of my honeymoon, so that’s my wife in the video with me.
After your U.S. tour with The Menzingers, you’re going to be embarking on your first European tour in over five years. What are you personally looking forward the most about this tour in particular?
I’m not sure if we’ve announced it yet, but we’re scheduled to play Moscow, and I’ve never been to Russia. So that’s exciting to me to go somewhere that I’ve never been, and my grandmother’s full-blooded Russian. I feel a connection of that region because some of my favorite writing has come from there. So, I’d say that last show, even though we will be playing in a frigid city in the middle of February, I still am excited to see St. Basil’s Cathedral.
I don’t know about off days, but my wife and I are planning to fly to Tel Aviv and spend about five weeks in the Israel-Palestine area before the tour begins.
On that note, what is the future looking like for Mewithoutyou in the coming year? Will you be continuing your touring cycle in support of Pale Horses?
Well, I did hear of a possible “support tour” that we’re hoping to get on, and it should be in the spring. Nothing has been confirmed yet, but I would like that. I always prefer to support other bands rather than headline, because we’ve been doing a lot of headlining within recent years. There’s more stress in headlining for me, so I am hoping we are able to go have fun with new audiences, and get on new tours where we are not expected to be the main draw.
The current tour with The Menzingers is sort of like that—it was pitched to us as a “co-headlining bill.” In fact, The Menzingers have been playing last every night though, so it almost feels like a support tour. Hopefully we’ll be able to do more of that in the future, but yeah, nothing has been confirmed, so we’re just keeping things open at this point.
This week, MewithoutYou will be wrapping up the remaining dates of their current tour with The Menzingers, Pianos Become The Teeth and Restorations on Nov. 27 at Webster Hall in Manhattan. Their sixth studio full-length, Pale Horses, is out now on Run For Cover Records. For more information, go to mewithoutyou.com.