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Band Crush: Mean Creek

June 8, 2010

Mean Creek (l-r: Erik Wormwood, Chris Keene, Aurore Ounjian, Mikey Holland) are destined to be the next big name artist to come out of Boston. They have earned glowing reviews and rewards since their inception, and this year is gearing up to be bigger and better than those prior. As the band gets ready to release their 7″ this Saturday, June 12 at Great Scott, they plan on taking their hard-hitting, emotional brand of rock on the road. Even after having just finished this two song effort (which can be heard after the interview below), Mean Creek has plans of recording a full length record in the months to come. Keep your eyes and ears open – this quartet is a must see. Chris explains the past, present, and near future for the band:

BBC: First off, it’s almost been a year since the release of The Sky (Or The Underground), congratulations on the upcoming 7″ / digital release. You recorded these songs with John Agnello (Dinosaur Jr., Sonic Youth, Hold Steady, Buffalo Tom) at Headgear Recording Studio in Brooklyn, NY. How did you nab such a great engineer and how how is this work different from your prior release?

Chris: Thank you so much! We actually met John Agnello when we were on tour w/ Destry in February, and one of the dates was @ Maxwell’s in Hoboken, New Jersey. At the same time, our good friends, Dead Confederate, happened to be recording their new album with John at a studio in Hoboken. After our show at Maxwell’s, we went to hang out at the studio and met John and sort of hit it off from there. Growing up I spent hours upon hours in my room listening to the Dinosaur Jr. albums he recorded. I remember going to my friends house and we’d just lay on her bed listening to records, and “Without A Sound” & “Where You Been” were always in heavy rotation. I always loved how they sounded. They sounded magical then, and they still do now. I was very excited to get to record with him, as was the rest of the band.

To answer the second part of your question, I think this work is different from our prior release in a lot of ways. Our new songs have a totally different vibe than our last album. We wanted this 7 inch to capture more of a live feeling on recording. Our last album was more produced sounding, which we liked for that album, but these new songs are more raw, and rocking, so we wanted a raw, live sounding recording to push that feeling forward. John was really good at getting great live performances out of us, capturing how we sound on stage, but also getting it to sound great on recording.

BBC: You are signed to Old Flame Records which focuses primarily on limited edition and digital-only releases. How did your relationship with them come to fruition and what made you decide to work with them rather than another label/distributor?

Chris: We met Rob, the owner of Old Flame, while we were on tour with Dead Confederate. We played a show @ Mercury Lounge in NYC with them and Rob was there. He loved the show and we’ve been working with Old Flame ever since. They put out our second album “The Sky (Or The Underground)” in October ’09.

We decided to work with Rob because he was really enthusiastic about the band and seemed to really want to work together on it as a team. The whole thing sounded really appealing. Old Flame helps us out with a lot of things, yet we still have creative control, and we all work together at trying to get things done. We’re very, very grateful for everything they’ve done for us. We’re also grateful for Dead Confederate having us on that tour! None of this would have happened if it weren’t for those guys.

BBC: You’ve already had quite a run over the past year as a band; Extensive touring with other great bands, a nomination as “Boston’s Best Act” in The Boston Phoenix 2010 Best Music Poll (results to be announced on June 11 – good luck), named 2009’s “Best Emerging Artist” by the Deli Magazine, winner of “New Act of the Year” at the 2009 Boston Music Awards – the list goes on and on. What do you see this year having in store for you after the 7″ release?

Chris: We have 2 main goals before the end of the year. One is to record our next full length album, and the other is to get out of Boston on tour as much as possible.

We’re very excited about our next album, we’ve been writing a lot of new stuff that we love. We want to be super happy about every song that ends up on the next album. We’d like to release a great collection of songs that work together well, and that have something to say.

We wanted this 7 Inch to be a bridge between our last album and our next one. It’d be great to get people excited and interested in hearing our next album before it is released, which is why we wanted to release this 7 Inch, and get on the road in support of it. Playing live consistently and touring always makes us a much better band.

BBC: Your sound is heavy hitting, emotional, and drenched with reverb-soaked guitars and powerful harmonies. What inspires you in your song-writing process and how are those inspirations realized as a band?

Chris: Lots of things inspire us in our songwriting process. Life in general is a huge inspiration. What i love about our band is that we all approach a song from our own place and our own influences, but somehow we all arrive in the same place on the same page. We all love a lot of the same bands, but we also have a lot of divergent musical tastes, and i think it makes us better. In the end, all of us have the same goal when writing, which is to write great songs, and play them to our full potential.

We all care deeply about writing meaningful music that has something to say. Lots of different art outside of music inspires our music. Books, movies, poetry, comedians, comic books, etc. Some of our songs wouldn’t exist if we hadn’t felt inspiration from authors like Alan Moore, or comedians like Bill Hicks.

BBC: What Boston bands are you currently crushing on?

Chris: Too many to mention. Sodafrog, Buffalo Tom, Doomstar!, Juliana Hatfield, The Cold Beat, Destry, You Can Be A Wesley, Magic Magic, Ketman, Movers & Shakers, St. Claire, Dan Webb & The Spiders, Everyday Visuals, Painted Lights, Township, and a million others! There’s TONS of good bands around here, of all different styles of music.

The two new songs featured on the bands 7″:

http://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer.swf/album=705503811/size=venti/bgcol=FFFFFF/linkcol=4285BB/

http://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer.swf/track=2999514220/size=venti/bgcol=FFFFFF/linkcol=4285BB/

Discography:

Aurore rocking the solo on the Comedian:

And don’t miss their 7” release show:

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