Interview: An Introduction to the World of MSPAINT

If you haven’t heard of them yet, Hattiesburg, Mississippi hardcore band MSPAINT will be undeniable soon. Their brand of hardcore combines positivity, upbeat tempos, and incredible synth work to create music that is unique, fantastic, and addictive to listen to.

Their new record, Post-American, comes out on March 10 through Convulse Records, and they’ve given us the spectacular “Acid,” “Delete It (feat. Militarie Gun),” and “Titan of Hope” as singles thus far. We got to talk to their vocalist DeeDee about the record and what make MSPAINT so interesting, and positivity so powerful.

First things first, who and what is MSPAINT?

MSPAINT is an experimental American rock band from Hattiesburg, Mississippi! Nick Panella on synth, Quinn Mackey on drum, Randy Riley on bass and myself, DeeDee, on vocals.

Surrounding the album announcement, you’ve talked about Mississippi and Hattiesburg specifically existing without the influence of trends, how do you think that influenced the sound you developed?

We definitely do not feel any pressure to make music a certain way or adhere to any artistic trends that sort of define genres. In the same way, it’s also important to understand that trends exist everywhere, but the way that we interpret them displays what we’ve gone through as artists and people.

What would you say were the most influential sounds and albums for you when developing MSPAINT as a whole? What are some of the main synth influences you have?

Honestly answering this question is difficult because we genuinely had no artistic direction outside of not using a guitar in the band. There are bands and people we acknowledge in retrospect such as DEVO, Wendy Carlos, Sophie; that sort of championed the synth as a storytelling instrument and not just a sound machine.

What is your songwriting process like?

Nick, who plays synth, is definitely where a lot of the song’s skeletons usually start to form. Everyone in the band contributes to helping write parts or hone in certain sections, but we often start with an idea that Nick has and develop it into something that we all vibe with.

How long have you all been working on your new album, Post-American? I know a couple songs from the 2020 EP carried over, including the title track; did you intend to build the album around those songs?

We pretty much have been working on the album since we released our demo in March of 2020. A lot of the songs do not sound the way they did when we first started working on them, but all the basic ideas for the songs aside from “Delete It” and “Free From The Sun” have been being reworked or honed in since the demo came out though, that is for certain.

You all have worked with fellow up-and-comers Militarie Gun twice now and also bring in Pierce from SOUL GLO on a track; how has it been collaborating with other artists who are pushing the envelope in a similar way to you? What doesthat collaboration mean to you

It is very important to us that we get to collaborate with like-minded artists. We will always be grateful to Ian and Pierce because their contributions helped elevate the songs and album to the place we felt like it needed to be.

Throughout Post-American, you examine systems and the world through a very realistic and honest lens, but never lose a consistent hopeful view of the future.  What is important to you about maintaining that hopeful mindset in the world now?

Personally I feel like it is easy to be negative, but you have to really dig deep within yourself to emit positivity. People seem to gravitate towards positive people because that energy is contagious, and we all want a positive outlook, even when there is seemingly nothing positive to pull from. For me I just wanted to say exactly what was on my mind with the lyrics for this band, and it’s about being honest and emotional because that is the scariest shit you can do; nobody wants the emotional smoke.

What does the name Post-American mean to you, and what do you hope listeners take from the album?

Post-American means not being defined by artistic traditions and not ignoring what is happening in our country, but critiquing it. You do not have to be a political scholar to understand that being American does not fill people with the pride maybe it once did. The same goes for our art, the album is simply the acknowledgement that American art is changing, and that we do not have to adhere to artistic standards to express ourselves, but that by challenging ourselves we exercise real artistic freedom.

Thank you so much to DeeDee and MSPAINT for this wonderful interview. Check out their most recent single and music video for their song “Titan of Hope” below. You can also preorder their album, Post-American, out via Convulse Records on March 10, here.

Featured photo by Libby Zanders

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