Q&A: mewithoutYou grew, faced turmoil, and made their best album in years
In the roughly 18 years that they’ve been making music, mewithoutYou have almost never stopped pushing forward. On their 2002 debut album [A→B] Life, they were a post-hardcore band who used to get compared to At the Drive In and Fugazi. For their next two albums, 2004’s Catch For Us The Foxes and 2006’s Brother, Sister, they perfected a mix of art rock and post-hardcore that to this day sounds like no other band. They switched gears for 2009’s folky, Neutral Milk Hotel-inspired It’s All Crazy! It’s All False! It’s All a Dream! It’s Alright and 2012’s Ten Stories continued on a similar whimsical, softer path but brought back a little of the earlier mewithoutYou sound. Then 2015’s Pale Horses — their first for Run For Cover Records and first with producer Will Yip — was sort of a return to form to the Catch For Us The Foxes/Brother, Sister era, as well as a culmination of everything mewithoutYou had done up to that point. Three years later, and again working with Will Yip and Run For Cover, mewithoutYou have significantly changed it up once again with their new [Untitled] album, which comes out this Friday (10/5). It has some elements that recall earlier mewithoutYou albums, but for the most part, it sounds like nothing they’ve ever done before. It’s their most drastic shift in sound since the transition from Brother, Sister to It’s All Crazy, and probably their most consistently strong release since Brother, Sister as well.
The new LP was announced alongside the surprise release of an accompanying [untitled] e.p., which is mostly on mewithoutYou’s softer and more experimental side, but the LP is home to mewithoutYou’s heaviest music yet. [A→B] Life was heavy, but [Untitled] is heavy in a much different way. There are parts of album opener “9:27a.m., 7/29″ and “Another Head for Hydra” and “New Wine, New Skins” that instrumentally recall the noisy post-hardcore of The Jesus Lizard or the metallic heft of Quicksand, but in a way that sounds forward-thinking rather than revivalist. “Wendy & Betsy” sounds tense and chaotic and warped, like Unwound heard through a lens of swirling psychedelia. Lead single (and my personal favorite song) “Julia (or, ‘Holy to the LORD’ on the Bells of Horses)” sees mewithoutYou putting their own distinctive spin on Hum-style sludgy shoegaze, and taking melodic twists and turns that are both unexpected and highly satisfying. Throughout all of those songs and a few others, frontman Aaron Weiss brings his voice to a more piercing scream than he ever has before — not so much his trademark, spoken word-inspired shout, but something much more guttural and throat-shredding. “I can speculate and say that from my perspective there was a fair amount of turmoil within and surrounding the band this time around,” Aaron tells us of the more aggressive direction.
Still, pigeonholing this as a “heavy album” doesn’t do it justice either. As much as Aaron’s scream is a focal point, his singing is also stronger than ever. The album is full of rich vocal harmonies from Aaron and his bandmates. Their melodies are expertly executed and genuinely gorgeous. This is evident on the calming, folky “Winter Solstice” (an acoustic version of which appears on the EP), which rivals the best moments of the It’s All Crazy/Ten Stories era and has one of the album’s catchiest refrains. It’s evident during the repeated hook that closes “[dormouse sighs],” a psychedelic art rock song that sounds like a distant, older cousin of the Catch For Us The Foxes/Brother, Sister era, while also not sounding like much of anything mewithoutYou have ever done. Similarly gentle moments come in the introductions of “New Wine, New Skins” and “Michael, Row Your Boat Ashore,” which find mewithoutYou more firmly planted in ambient post-rock territory than they ever have been. Those moments also come in the form of interlude-type songs like “2,459 Miles” and “Break on Through (to the Other Side) [pt. Two],” which recall the “Spider” songs from Brother, Sister, but without the recurring lyrical and melodic themes. Where an album like Brother, Sister was an album that you can tell was designed with a very deliberate structure in mind, [Untitled] came together in a much different way.
“In what was really a first for us, we just tried to write as much music as we could without thinking about it as a specific release, and just hoping that at the end of the process when we had whatever we ended up with, that it would all come together in a way that was relatively coherent,” Aaron says. It did indeed come together in a coherent way — the flow of [Untitled] feels very natural — but you do also get the sense from listening that the album-making process was a little more freeform this time around, and it works to mewithoutYou’s benefit. “It always feels good to do something fresh,” Aaron adds. Though he says “it wasn’t our intention to reinvent ourselves or do anything fundamentally different,” it’s also clear that he wouldn’t have been content to make music that rehashed sounds mewithoutYou made years earlier. “Why recycle the same content over and over again?” he asks rhetorically. “If anything felt too stale, it didn’t make the cut.” Nothing at all on [Untitled] feels stale and nothing sounds recycled. The album feels fresh and alive and sounds like it could be a new beginning in mewithoutYou’s career. They may have a long, rich history, but [Untitled] is looking towards the future.
mewithoutYou’s tour begins Wednesday (10/3) at Elsewhere in Brooklyn (tickets). This first leg is with Joan of Arc (another long-running, shapeshifting band with a new album) and Hurry. The second leg is with Foxing offshoot Smidley (who made one of our favorite albums of 2017) and Davey and the Chains.
Support for the third and final leg is still TBA. UPDATE: The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die and Hold Down The Ocean are opening leg three. All dates are listed below.
I recently spoke to Aaron Weiss about the making of the new album and EP, mewithoutYou’s strong personal and professional relationship with producer Will Yip, how his approach to his public persona has matured over the years, how fatherhood and family life has affected touring, the importance of connecting with younger listeners as a veteran band, and more. Read on for our conversation, along with tour dates and the album/EP streams…
A lot of songs on the new album are heavier than mewithoutYou have been in a while — or ever. Your scream is more abrasive than I’ve ever heard it. What inspired the songwriting to go in that direction?
It’s tough for me to address that because I didn’t have a whole lot to do with the music itself, with only a few exceptions. Most of the time the songs are written instrumentally before I get my hands on them. In the case of some of the heavier songs, the instrumentation was already complete and then the song comes to me and I just try to come up with something that feels appropriate for the music, and sometimes that’s a scream. I can speculate and say that from my perspective there was a fair amount of turmoil within and surrounding the band this time around, so it’s not really a surprise to me that some of the music came out a little more aggressive than we have been recently. But to give a totally accurate answer, you’d have to ask the guys who wrote the music where they were coming from on that.
Your last two albums also had accompanying EPs, but they came after the album. Why the decision to introduce the world to the EP first this time?
You know, I’m not sure. There was some discussion — we had this total of 19 tracks and a few more that didn’t get recorded, and so at some point it started to feel like there were two albums worth of material, but it just started to feel like too much to take on at once so we settled for one proper album and an EP. We didn’t really know what the best way to release them was — to pair them together as one big release, or release them as different things at different times — and I think we just wanted to do something different than what we had done. The EP seemed like something we could just kind of put out there without any hype or lead-in or expectation. I think we released the EP, at least digitally, the day we announced the album. It also had been a while, a few years since our last release, and so it just felt like good timing to put out the EP first and hopefully whet the appetite of anyone who might care. But as to why we release what music when, that’s kind of a decision that feels a little bit out of my hands. Our manager and our record label kind of have a better sense of what makes the most sense in terms of that aspect of it. I kind of trust them with that for the most part — sometimes I’ll have input on those things but not that often.
How did you decide which songs you wanted to be on the EP and which you wanted on the album?
I think we had so many songs, and there was some nervousness that that would be a pretty contentious process. Some guys might want songs that they primarily wrote to end up on the album and not get sorta sidelined on the EP, or whatever other disagreements might come up. But actually it didn’t happen that way. For the most part, we all agreed on what should go where. There were different ways we thought about doing it, like should we put all the heavy stuff on one and the softer stuff on the other? Or try to group songs together in terms of lyrical themes? At the end of the day, I’d say we prioritized the LP, there’s no real question about that. We did want the EP to stand alone as being interesting and exciting in some way, in its own regard, but we definitely made the LP the priority. We put the songs that we really wanted to showcase on the LP, and we wanted to make the flow and the overall movement of the album as precise and dialed-in and exciting and wide-reaching as possible — and as coherent as possible. So there were a couple songs that just kind of stylistically were outliers, or songs that had a lot of downtime or weren’t necessarily as exciting or didn’t have as much momentum, and they would maybe bog down a 40-minute LP. Whereas on the 25-minute EP, if there’s a song that has — for example, one song has two minutes of instrumental kind of quiet, almost meditative noise. It’s structured in a way, but there’s a chance you might tune out, or have the song fall into the background maybe. And that’s just something we’ve never done with an LP, never done it in a song at all. A song like that might’ve slowed down the momentum of the LP and made it drag, whereas on the EP it felt more appropriate.
In what was really a first for us, we just tried to write as much music as we could without thinking as a specific release, and just hoping that at the end of the process when we had whatever we ended up with, that it would all come together in a way that was relatively coherent. I think when we ended up with 19 tracks, which was more than we ever had for a given release, we really got to take a lot more care in selecting an order and a flow through the LP. And if the EP has any coherence, that’s just good luck. We didn’t think we were writing an EP, it really was just songs that didn’t fit. But in at least one or two cases, there are songs that I really like even more than some of the LP songs that made it into the EP simply because they didn’t serve a distinct purpose on the LP. Or maybe there was a song already on the LP that kinda sounded similar, or played a similar role, so it felt redundant or stylistically wasn’t a good fit, but in and of itself it was still — at least in my opinion — an interesting song.
Given the mindset you and the rest of the band had while writing this album, would you say that the lyrics on this album are less thematically connected than on previous mewithoutYou albums?
You know, at this point I’ve kinda got it to down to a bit of system, where I’ve kind of found a style of songwriting that works for me. That didn’t change too much this time around, and that in a nutshell is brainstorming about the themes that are interesting to me at a given time, organizing those themes… I use a computer to write most of the lyrics, and what I end up with is this big mass of words that in many cases are very hard to sort through. I end up with dozens or sometimes hundreds of pages of word ideas, and with 19 tracks instrumentally, it’s pretty difficult for me to know what words are gonna fit where. So I’ve come up with this way of organizing lyrics according to certain themes — and there may be like a dozen themes or so that I see emerging in the words — and then listening to the music and trying to get a sense of which themes will fit with the instrumental music, and then pairing up the themes in different ways. So a given song might have two or three of themes incorporated, and another song might have two or three other ones, and then another song might have one theme from that song and another theme from a different song. But there’s rarely ever a song that has a specific thing that it’s about. A lot of times people ask me, you know “what’s track six about?”, and there’s not necessarily a single answer I can give. It’s often times a combination of different stories or different themes. So to answer your question a little more directly, the process actually didn’t change all that much with me this time around. I still approached in the same basic way, which is just that I’m trying to do my job of completing these songs that the guys give to me by using this method that has worked for me in the past. There were some things that were pretty different this time around personally, but the process itself felt pretty familiar.
To me, this album really feels like the start of a new chapter for mewithoutYou. I thought Pale Horses sounded like a culmination of a lot of the sounds you had made over the years. And this one sounds like a real step forward — I can’t really think of a previous mewithoutYou album that it sounds like. Was that at all intentional to set out to do something you hadn’t done before?
With maybe one exception, whatever experimentation that’s in our songs has always kind of just been a relatively natural thing. Again, with maybe one exception — that being the It’s All Crazy! It’s All False! It’s All a Dream! It’s Alright album, where I just personally wanted to put out something that felt more acoustic-based and folky and melodic — with the exception of that album, which really did have an intentional direction to it, we always just write music together.
This time around more than ever we had different members contributing and bringing songs of their own. There are songs that totally originated from [guitarist] Brandon [Beaver], and there are songs where [drummer] Ricky [Mazzotta] wrote the guitar parts and drums and had a whole basic song structure in mind. Dominic [Angelella], who was playing bass for us for a few years while Greg [Jehanian] was on leave, brought a couple of songs in where he really had the skeleton of it and the band fleshed it out from there. There’s one song on there that I brought in and kind of built from the ground up. So some of the diversity might have to do with the fact that — at least to some extent — there were different guys writing the songs so it’s only natural that they would sound different. My brother [guitarist Michael Weiss] has written so much of the music in the past, and this time around he was really committed to pushing himself to try to write in different ways and get different sounds and not rely on some of the same old tropes that he had relied on in the past. I’m glad to hear that you think it sounds different, but no it wasn’t our intention to reinvent ourselves or do anything fundamentally different. We just wanted to keep on moving — we all get older, we have new experiences, and we encounter new music that we listen to and have new influences that give us new ideas. And it always feels good to do something fresh, you know? Why recycle the same content over and over again? And to us it did feel fresh, but maybe some people will listen, and on the contrary, say “you know this song just sounds like a rehash of some older thing,” but to us, if anything felt too stale, it didn’t make the cut. There were certain songs we tried to revive from years ago that never clicked and we tried to rewrite those songs, and it didn’t really work. So, you know, it has to feel exciting for us, otherwise why do it? If we wanted to just get a paycheck, there are a lot of easier ways to do that than putting out music.
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How does your mindset as the singer of mewithoutYou compare now to when the band was starting out, or to when you first started to experience fame?
The first thing that comes to mind is my family. I’m married now, my wife and I just had our second child. I haven’t done any touring since our second baby came, but touring even after we had our first child became much much more difficult when my wife and our daughter didn’t come along. They came on a little of our touring here and there, but as the baby got older it became harder for them to travel with us, so I’d be away from my family for weeks at a time and that didn’t feel good. It didn’t feel healthy. And now with the second baby, I think that would be even more difficult. So, we’re gonna try to make it work with my family coming on as much of the tour as they can, but with two kids it’s not gonna be easy. So that’s the first thing, being on the road used to feel like home. I’d have my bunk, and I had a job to do, and I had my friends around me, I had a schedule — it was pretty simple. And there was also this sense of possibility, this future, this excitement. 17 years later, there’s not that same bright future — there’s a long past to look back on. There’s still a future to some extent, but obviously we’re all getting older, so we all start wondering “what’s next?” or “how long can this last?” And as even more of us get married and have kids, it becomes more difficult for us to be on the road. So that gets complicated — it has gotten complicated. That’s the biggest thing.
And for me I think the second thing that comes to mind that has shifted for me has to be the sense that I used to feel like I had something to say, a message or a mission in a sense. Even though I wasn’t always even clear on what that was, and it certainly changed over time, I had a very passionate, urgent drive to get the word out — the word being whatever I happened to believe at a given time — and this feeling that it was important for people to hear that. I had this platform — however modest it may have been — but some people were listening, and that gave me a sense of responsibility that I oughta say something worthwhile and not just put out filler, background music that would have people shut their brains down. I wanted to engage people’s brains and stir up some kind of feeling or provoke some kind of thought or reconsideration of people’s beliefs or practices. So there’s still a part of me that thinks “if I have any platform at all, I may as well use it for something good,” but as the years have passed, I’ve also developed a pretty profound sense of questioning or doubting whether or not I’m the man for the job. I still do believe there’s a lot of meaning and a lot of great messages worth getting out there, and it really does matter what we say and what we do, but I started to sense there was a real arrogance in me and in the way I would position myself as a teacher of whatever kind, or somebody who has knowledge or a message or understanding that other people should consider. And for example looking back at videos of myself talking on stage or reading old interviews of myself, I don’t like what I see, I feel embarrassed. I sense a real lack of humility. That arrogance is pretty embarrassing actually, looking back. So I’m not sure if I can say I’ve gotten any humbler — that might be sort of a self-defeating statement — but my heart has been broken over and over again, I’ve gotten beaten down, I’ve gotten humiliated and humbled, and had to examine myself and recognize my own ignorance and foolishness and hypocrisy, and the ridiculous nature of my attempts to teach anybody anything of value. But I also don’t want the pendulum to swing so far in the other direction to the point where I would never be open to communicating anything of meaning, so that’s the tightrope I walk — trying to allow there to be substance in our lyrics and in whatever I say on stage or in an interview or whenever I open my mouth, to try to have something substantial come out without ever presuming that anybody should ever listen to it or that anybody should need to accept it or presume myself to be a teacher of any kind. Sometimes it just feels like I’m — at this point — just trying to remind myself of the things that matter most to me, and I don’t care nearly as much if anybody believes anything I do or pursues the same paths spiritually as I do. I’m completely content with our listeners completely rejecting whatever I believe, but it still feels important for me to sing about what’s dear to my heart. Does that make sense?
Yeah of course, I mean, even with anyone, you might — for example — see a Facebook status you made ten years ago and think “I can’t believe I said than in public.” I’m sure it’s even more intense with the platform you have as the singer of an established band.
[Laughs] Yeah, and it kind of exacerbates the matter when I encounter someone who may have heard something I said ten years ago, but who I’ve never met in person, so their conception of me is sort of a snapshot from a different era of my life that they’ve taken and taken a certain meaning from themselves. And then all that time has passed and they’ll approach me as if I’m still the same guy who said that thing a decade ago, and a lot of times that just doesn’t feel like the case. And so there’s this constant revisiting of all those old things, like people bringing up “oh when you said this!” and I’m thinking well that was a long time ago and it might’ve been taken out of context, and it might not mean the same thing to you as it did to me. So there’s a lot of room for miscommunication, and a lot of my energy when it comes to interacting with people on tour seems to be just trying to find common ground or common language where we can take each other for what we are at that moment, rather than interacting with who we used to be.
If you could talk to the Aaron Weiss of 15 years ago, what kind of advice would you give him now?
I don’t think the Aaron Weiss of 15 years ago would’ve listened, so I probably would just save my breath.
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Before, you talked about how early on you were looking towards a big future and now you’re looking back on a big history. mewithoutYou hasn’t been afraid to do the nostalgia thing with anniversary tours for Catch For Us The Foxes and [A→B] Life, but it also seems like you’re always looking forward, especially when it comes to things like you’re signed to Run For Cover and you work with producer Will Yip, who are both usually associated with newer bands. And almost all of the times that I’ve seen mewithoutYou in the past few years, you’ve had at least one great younger band on the bill, like Foxing or Hop Along or Touche Amore. It seems like you’re surrounding yourself with a new generation of music, not just going on nostalgia tours with other bands who made albums in 2002, and maybe that puts you in a place where, say, a 16 year old could discover you for the first time because they listen to those bands but hadn’t heard of mewithoutYou. Is that something that you and the rest of the band think about?
That makes sense, yeah. I don’t know how deliberate that sort of thing is — I’m sure our manager has a much better sense of when we make those decisions, what the impact will be. I remember after our contract was up with Tooth & Nail and we had put out an album ourselves, and then we started looking around at different labels for our sixth album — which was the first one we did with Run For Cover — we had talked to a few labels, including a couple others like Run For Cover that were relatively new and had relatively young bands. And there was at least one label that we were talking to that had a real strong nostalgic factor for me — it was a label that I had really liked when I was younger and they put out a lot of bands that I respected, and I felt like it would’ve been a real accomplishment to be on their roster — but, you know, for whatever reason it just felt like the right move to go with Run For Cover where it really felt like an opportunity to bring this into the future in a way, and be able to connect with younger listeners or younger fans of music who wouldn’t have heard us, rather than tapping into something that, in a sense, was most prominent when we were getting started. Because obviously our fans from back when we released our first couple albums have gotten older, I’m sure many of them have moved on and listen to milder forms of music, or at the very least gotten married and had children or entered into careers and just don’t have time or the ability to go out and see shows anymore. I mean, we don’t go out and play shows and see a crowd full of people in their late 30s or early 40s, which is what we are now. We still see late teens and early 20s — for the most part, there’s plenty of exceptions to that — but when you think about who goes out to hear heavy music, or see indie rock or punk shows, it’s a youthful kind of energy. And on a very simple level, if we weren’t still connecting with the younger generation of music listeners, we wouldn’t have a job. I try not to be too strategic about that, like for example I certainly don’t think of myself as ever writing lyrics or writing songs to try to connect to a younger crowd. I don’t know what younger people like nowadays and it can be kind of caricature-ish if our band tries to stay relevant by changing our style or catering to a certain fanbase or strategizing with respect to the music itself. That’s something we don’t do. But the question of which label we would work with or which bands we would want to tour with — things that are more, to me, on the business side of the coin — that is something that I think is worth considering. I think the question of how to keep us financially viable is an important one, because none of us would be able to really justify leaving our families for weeks at a time if we were coming home with nothing financially to show for it.
I personally wouldn’t lump Will Yip into that, though. Maybe he does fit in that respect, in that maybe working with him was a smart move in terms of introducing us to a new crowd — I don’t know what attaching his name to our record does for us from any kind of business standpoint. What I’m concerned with with Will is his job as a producer, and how that affects the end product — and not only the product but the process — and how amazing he was to work with and how much energy he brought and how much talent he has, and his understanding of what we were going for musically, and his skill in navigating different personalities and helping each of us through some of our interpersonal conflicts. I mean he just did it all, he was so fantastic to work with on every level. I definitely don’t consider him a strategic choice; first and foremost I consider him to be the best personal and professional choice as a producer. If he happens to get us in front of more people or get our album in the hands of more listeners, than all the better, but that wasn’t my motivation for wanting to work with him.
He definitely makes great sounding records — I’m sure there’s a reason that so many great bands want to keep working with him year after year.
And actually, one of the things that always stood out to me about mewithoutYou is that you have always worked with an awesome producer — J Robbins [of Jawbox], then Brad Wood, then Daniel Smith from Danielson, all names that tend to excite fans of indie rock and punk. Having worked with so many of these well-known producers, how does working with Will compare to past experiences?
Will — more than any other producer — felt immediately like one of the guys. And that’s not to say anything disparaging about any of the other producers in the slightest bit. J was great, but, you know, we only worked with J for a week, maybe a week and a half, and there wasn’t a whole lot of time for us to establish much of a rapport. So that was a more, just a kind of professional relationship. With Brad, we got to do a couple albums with him. He was awesome — we definitely did establish more of a personal connection with him and spent more time on those albums — but he was also married and had kids and so basically at the end of the day, we would head back to the hotel and that was the end of it. So we had a great rapport with him, but he had his own world. And Daniel as well — married with kids, and when the day was over we basically went our separate ways. Will, more than any of those guys, just sort of jumped into our crew and became friends with us. He would text about the Phillies game, or about a TV show that he was watching that the guys were also watching, or just staying in touch and being connected on a personal level. It just kind of immediately clicked, so that when the day was over and we had done all the music, we still had a lot to talk about. And I think that’s partly just a product of Will’s personality — he’s just so outgoing and so personable. And he is not married and doesn’t have kids, and just pours everything into what he does. He’ll be working all day at the studio — a 10, 12 hour day — and then go home and mix for four hours until 2 in the morning, wake up at 8 AM and start it all over again. The guy is kind of a machine in that way. And I think it took its toll on him — for years, he would work that way, and he didn’t have a lot of time to devote to other relationships. He spent so much time working on music that he developed a pain in his leg from sitting too much. So I think he’s had to dial that back a little bit in recent months, but the guy is just a workhorse. And he’s also so upbeat and positive and kind and open and friendly and understanding and intuitive. So you had all this stuff together, and you have someone who’s really good to have around on many levels, and is really willing and able to pour everything into our project. That obviously endeared him to us overnight, and made him a really integral part of the process in more respects than anybody we’d ever worked with. And also just the fact that we had been going through more personally this time around than we had in the past, he had to bear the brunt of that and kind of keep the gears running smoothly. There were times where two of the guys wouldn’t look at each other in the room, because there’s all this tension from creative disagreements, and Will’s gotta navigate that as the guy whose job it is to literally produce the album. You know, we had written songs, but he needed to produce the album. Or in this case, the album and the EP. And he did that. He is actually the first producer to ever give me an understanding of that concept, of what it means to literally produce music — to make it come from an idea into a reality, and all that that entails. He really carried a lot of weight, especially this time around.
Looking back on your career, what’s your favorite mewithoutYou album to listen to now, and what are your favorite songs to revisit live?
I guess I have to exclude our new music [laughs].
No, you don’t!
I mean, the thing is, I think I’ve always said that. If anybody asks me, the new album is my favorite for a while. And that’s really just because it feels the most fresh and exciting, and maybe because it reflects the most accurately where I’m at, at that point of my life. I think, however, in most cases, it holds up. As I look back, the music has been getting better. There are definitely exceptions to that, but this time around I think it’s by far clearer than ever. I listen to this new batch of songs and it’s head and shoulders above… not only is it my favorite thing we’ve ever put out, it’s I think the biggest step forward we’ve ever taken. It’s the biggest margin of improvement that I’ve ever seen in one of our releases — and I’m particularly referring to the LP. Beginning to end, it really is something I’m just so grateful to have been a part of, and so happy with and so proud of, that there’s no second thought that it is by far my favorite thing we’ve done. Of course we’ll see how it ages, but at this point, I’m really excited about it. Other than that, I’d say Pale Horses still holds up, I like Brother, Sister a lot. As for which songs I still like to perform — this is a generalization but it’s almost always the case — the songs I like to play live tend to be the ones where I get to play an instrument. Most of the time that’s an acoustic guitar — sometimes an accordion or a keyboard or an electric guitar — but generally I’m either holding an acoustic guitar or holding a microphone, and there’s something really grounding and stabilizing and safe-feeling about having an acoustic guitar to hold. It kind of anchors me to one place, it gives me something to do with my hands, it kind of keeps me from feeling like I have to move around with my body and probably run out of breath. That might sound like a silly answer, but generally the songs I like to perform are the ones where I’m holding an instrument. Or in general, the quieter songs. I tend to get tired if we do — especially during a headlining set — an hour and 15 minutes plus of a lot of times really loud and aggressive songs where I’m moving a lot or screaming a lot and using up a lot of energy. If I can just take up an acoustic and stand still and sing softly for a while, it really does come as a relief to me.
mewithoutYou — 2018 Tour Dates
Leg 1 with Joan of Arc and Hurry
10-03 Brooklyn, NY @ Elsewhere
10-04 Boston, MA @ The Sinclair
10-05 Pawtucket, RI @ The Met
10-06 Ottawa, ON @ Babylon
10-07 Toronto, ON @ The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern
10-08 Buffalo, NY @ Mohawk Place
10-09 Columbus, OH @ Skully’s
10-10 Pittsburgh, PA @ Mr. Small’s
Leg 2 with Smidley and Davey and the Chains
10-31 Grand Rapids, MI @ The Pyramid Scheme
11-01 St Paul, MN @ Turf Club
11-03 Denver, CO @ Marquis Theater
11-04 Salt Lake City @ Metro Music Hall
11-6 Portland, OR @ Wonder Ballroom
11-7 Seattle, WA @ The Crocodile
11-10 San Francisco, CA @ Rickshaw Shop
11-12 Los Angeles, CA @ Teragram Ballroom
11-13 Phoenix, AZ @ The Crescent Ballroom
11-15 Austin, TX @ Mohawk
11-16 Dallas, TX @ The Curtain Club
11-17 Memphis, TN @ Hi-Tone Cafe
11-19 Nashville, TN @ Mercy Lounge
Leg 3 with TWIABP and Hold Down The Ocean
11-28 Akron, OH @ Musica
11-29 Indianapolis, IN @ The HiFi
11-30 Chicago, IL @ Lincoln Hall
12-1 Lexington, KY @ The Burl
12-2 Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade (Hell)
12-4 Baltimore, MD @ Ottobar
12-5 Philadelphia, PA @ Theatre of the Living Arts