MDRN HSTRY spurred from a jam party one Cinco De Mayo, and their story only gets better from there. From hosting parties with live music in their Garage Mahal, to pushing the boundaries between the connection of music and performance, the band utilizes sound and space to create epic, mesmerizing, and rowdy shows set to a modern 70’s-style sound. MDRN HSTRY has only just begun their journey, and are set to drop their first full-length album, TV Talk, in January of 2020. We had the chance to catch up with the band, and gain some insight into their unique creative process, and what the future holds.
1. Tell us a little about your story, how did you all meet and form MDRN HSTRY?
The Garage Mahal was the birthplace of MDRN HSTRY, during our (now annual) Cinco de Mayo celebration. Jesse hosted jam parties as a way to meet other musicians in town and start projects. He and AJ has been writing songs in Logic on his laptop for a few months at that point. Nick was a neighbor and brought his friend Shea to the party, where he hopped on the mic. Since that night, the Cinco De Mayo party has doubled as our band birthday.
2. Tell us a little bit about Garage Mahal, how did the idea come to be, what visual aspects of the room translate your sound and style, and what do you hope for the space to be used as?
Our sonic sanctuary, the birthplace of it all. it’s a 1 car garage on a noisy street in Pacific Beach that has played a major role in our development as a band. When MRN HSTRY first started we would throw parties as an excuse to play our set in front of people, sometimes we’d book another band to play as well. This started the topic of live sessions, which eventually became “Garage Mahal Sessions”. For its first season, bands brought along an “artifact” to induct, so most of the decor is actually pieces donated by local bands. I also have a knack for collecting oddities and weird vintage stuff (like old TVs) so this room became the perfect place to put it all. I suppose the charm of an eclectic mess parallels our sound as a band… so far, we’ve hosted over 50 bands and produced 150+ videos, and I plan on continuing to provide a window into the scene so long as I have the space to accommodate.
3. Our name, REVOLT, means to revolt against anything holding you back and live the life you’ve always dreamed of. How did you choose your name, and what does it mean to you? Any special reasoning behind the spelling?
Not the most glorious of reasons here… The name was one of about 200 others that we landed on. We were quite fickle with our choice and danced around different options after every practice. “Modern History” seemed fitting because we were experimenting with the retro-rock scene and music of that era. After we fell in love with the name we found a band in Chicago under the same moniker, so we took the vowels out.
4. If you were to make a playlist describing your sound, what top-five other artists would be on it and why?
All of us have unique influences that shape our songs, but I’d say the ones that poke through the most would be The Doors, Queens of the Stone Age, The Strokes, The Growlers, and Mac Miller.
5. What does your creative process look like? How do you all go about creating a song or setting up for a concert?
This changes from time to time, but songwriting usually happens in a live jam format. Ideas come out from playing live and feeling the mood of the moment. Almost all of Shea’s lyrics are improvised by him on the spot – even some of the studio recordings were one-off takes. We’ve spent more time attempting to reenact versions that happened by accident than thinking about where to go next!
Other times, one of us will have an idea and lay it down “in the box” in Logic, and then stab at it one at a time. Each process births different kinds of songs, typically songs in the box are pretty mellow and wavy, whereas the live jam songs tend to be more aggressive and in high energy.
For live shows, we try to arrange our music to take the audience through an experience. Sound is an emotionally powerful tool, we try to take full advantage of that with the order of our songs.
6. You put a lot of emphasis on the performing aspect of music, in what ways do you connect performance and sound together, and what do you hope the audience takes away from a performance?
Performing music is our favorite part about it (writing is very close to 2nd). We like to think of playing music as a full-on show. Of course, we are in the business of sound, so the songwriting and execution come first, but ITS A SHOW. People come for a show, so we want to provide one. That means a full sensory experience. When we throw props out or 3D glasses or start a mosh pit, it’s a physical experience. People see us going nuts in front of a tripped-out 3D video mashup, it adds a visual performance aspect. Surprise people during live show and they’ll leave talking about you.
7. What artist or band, dead or alive, would you want to perform with most and why?
Mozart, for sure. Could you imagine if we opened for Mozart? People would lose their shit! Wait, would we be performing in their time or would they be performing in our time? I guess that plays a huge factor, no one back then knows what Snapchat is… so I guess we’d have to say Cage the Elephant, their live shows are wild.
8. As a local San Diego band with deep ties in the community, how do you think San Diego has influenced your sound and style?
San Diego has made us determined never to be in a reggae band.
9. What advice would give your listeners who are on similar journeys to make their dreams a reality?
Don’t sweat the petty things, don’t pet the sweaty things. Also, don’t try. Two words from Charles Bukowski that we’ve found some comfort in. “We work too hard. We try too hard. Don’t work. Don’t try. It’s there. Looking right at us, aching to kick out of the closed womb.” He eludes to the idea that if you have to try to try, or try to care about something, try to want something, perhaps you don’t care about it. Perhaps, you don’t want it. As people, we perform our best when we are ourselves, honest and pure. Don’t force it. Don’t overthink too much. Don’t try.
10. We heard you might be working on a new album! what can we look forward to in the near future for the band? Got any release dates
The rumor is true! We just finished our first full-length album Tv Talk, and we’ll be releasing it on January 23rd at The Music Box! After it’s available to the public we’re planning our second tour up the west coast around Feb-March.