When my friend Skylar first introduced me to Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s, I instantly fell in love with their “guitar-y folkish” sound (my friend’s words, not mine). One of my favorite things about the band is the lead singer Richard Edwards rich coffee and cream voice and his stinging lyrics. So when I got a message back from the band on Facebook, saying that yes, Edwards himself would love to be interviewed I was ecstatic.
During a quick email interview, Edwards and I talked about his musical influences and his favorite albums as a teen (some of which include musical soundtracks). It was really interesting to hear about his perspectives on making music, and how he prefers to look forward at certain situations rather than backwards. Though it saddened me to know that Edwards didn’t remember the reason behind the bands name, which happens to be one of my favorites, I easily forgave him.
THE GARAGE: Name, instrument?
MNSS: Richard. Guitar, voice.
THE GARAGE: How would you describe your sound in three words?
MNSS: 1. I’m 2. not 3. sure
THE GARAGE: I’ve seen you guys described as chamber pop, but on your Facebook you describe yourselves as punk. What’s your reasoning behind that?
MNSS: I have never spent a moment thinking about something like genre, unfortunately. Chamber pop seems to describe pop music made with orchestral instruments, which hasn’t fit us for quite some time. I think pop is a fair description.
THE GARAGE: Who are some of your influences, and why?
MNSS: I don’t really have influences anymore. Pretty stuck inside my own head for better and mostly worse. I’m influenced by situations, movies I see, people I meet, etc. But, as far as bands that I listen to in order to glean something for my own stuff, that doesn’t really happen anymore. I do like Big Star a lot. Abner Jay. I like a lot of female singers. The Mcgarrigle sisters. Melanie Safka. Emmylou. I listen to a great deal of modern country radio in the car. I recently liked a song called “Same old trailer, different park” recently. Modern country does a great job with focused story telling. Humbling!
THE GARAGE: You have two different releases of the same album, Animal and Not Animal. One’s the version your label wanted to release, while the other is the version you guys felt best represented your music. What was the reason behind your decision? How did the record label react?
MNSS: Well, they didn’t like our record and I suppose I understand why. Sadly, I’ve gone over it so many times I don’t have much more to say about it. I’m glad it ended up coming out. Other than that, I moved on a long time ago. I don’t like thinking about old records much, I try to keep myself making new ones.
THE GARAGE: Recently, Richard Edwards, your lead singer sold his guitar to fund a film project about the band. What’s the best memory you’ve had with that guitar?
MNSS: I don’t really feel sentimental about gear! I like to think about future guitars.
THE GARAGE: Since we are a youth-run music blog, I would like to know, who was your biggest musical influence as a teen? Why?
MNSS: I liked Weezer a bunch. I loved, and still love, Graceland by Paul Simon. A record my dad played a lot. The Chitty Chitty Bang Bang soundtrack. Fiddler on the roof soundtrack. A band called Joe Christmas. A band called That Dog. An old Christian cassette tape called “Go to the ant”. Probably got into Elliott Smith around then. Also a lot of really lame pop music that I still like.
THE GARAGE: And finally, I’ve been dying to ask you guys this. What’s the story behind your name?
MNSS: I can’t remember! I’m sorry!
Thank you Richard for the great interview. It’s great knowing that a fantastic musician like you still listens to lame pop music like I do.
This record was recorded when Richard Edwards was 17, and Margot & the Nuclear So and So’s was not yet in existence.