New York’s renowned electronic punk quartet Mindless Self Indulgence (MSI) are flying after the success of a Kickstarter campaign in which fans paid to stop the band’s new album How I Learned To Stop Giving A Shit And Love Mindless Self Indulgence from being destroyed. Frontman Jimmy Urine spoke to HEAVY about doing just that: overcoming inhibitions without giving a single shit.
“Witness was the first song that I wrote [off the new record]. It was the first song we recorded and learned to play live, and it really set the tone for the whole record,” he says. “Once we wrote that song we were like, ‘That’s how we’re doing it – balls out. Who gives a shit if you like it, if you play it on the radio. F**k you!”
With an explosive, heavily-synthesised atmosphere, and abrasive lyrics that reflect the band’s hedonistic name, Witness evidences the comfortable niche MSI have carved for themselves with a sound that defies classification.
Importantly, Urine – real surname Euringer – feels that the musical world has finally begun to understand the eclectic mix of genres that influence the band’s sound. He says the new release is still a “pure” MSI album but that the popularity of dubstep seems to have helped to condition listeners to the band’s unique formula.
“Everybody has caught up. People understand who we are – we’ve been around for a while now,” Urine says. [Perhaps we’ll just call him Jimmy from now on? –Ed.]
If public support is anything to go by, MSI’s overwhelmingly successful Kickstarter campaign – the second-highest music Kickstarter ever – shows that fans are in love with the band, chipping in a cool $225,000.
“Steve had come up with the really great idea of holding the record hostage [so that] kids won’t rip off our music anymore,” Jimmy explains. “Most bands are like, ‘Oh, we can’t do this [make a record] without the fans’, but we were like ‘F**k you! We want $150,000 or we’ll burn the record!’”
Along with selling mp3s for a single dollar, MSI also offered deluxe and limited editions of the album, including vinyl pressings, signed keys from Jimmy’s old school keyboard and the opportunity to have Jimmy hijack your Twitter account. One eager punter even paid $5000 to have his name in a song title, and was “rewarded” with the hilariously-titled You’re No Fun Anymore Mark Trezona. Kickstarter sits perfectly with MSI’s desire to answer to nobody.
“We’ve always loved cutting out the middle man and DIY-ing on stuff,” Jimmy says. “The interesting thing about Kickstarter is that people think it’s a pledging thing, but it’s actually a pop-up shop – you’re getting stuff; you’re not just giving me money.”
Australia’s first taste of the new album in concert was at Soundwave earlier this year. The group loves festivals because they provide the opportunity to involve audiences in the band’s reckless attitudes and on-stage antics.
“The best thing about a festival for us is because we’re such an anomaly, we can really stand out and just be complete dicks and enjoy ourselves,” Jimmy admits, adding that Soundwave is a band favourite. “I love the [Soundwave] festival; it’s such a class act, and they treat you like kings. I kinda wish there were some more Australian bands though because it’s like, ‘Hey, we’re going to Australia’, but then everyone is from our hometown and I know all these motherf**kers, man. Whatever happened to Midnight Oil and INXS?!”
How I Learned To Stop Giving A Shit And Love Mindless Self Indulgence is due out via 3wise Records in Australia on June 21. Following that, the band pretty much plans to maintain the same brazen attitude upon which they have built their industrial empire.
“Who gives a shit if this next record blows up or doesn’t blow up? We just love being in this band,” Jimmy says. “We have a tonne of freedom and we take advantage of that – I can do whatever the f**k I want because major radio isn’t going to play me. I can make a song called F**k Machine and not have to change it to Love Machine to hope it gets on radio.”
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