There are perhaps tens of thousands of musical acts worldwide, in many kinds of genres, but every once in a while, you’ll find a musician or band that sounds different, fresh, unique, or whatever other words or phrases can be used to describe anything that’s out of the ordinary.
One of those acts comes straight out of Baltimore, an “anti-all-girl” band [i.e., don’t think of them as just a female band] called Mzery Loves Company, whose uniqueness results from combining elements of rap, classic hard rock and hip-hop, along with some funky soul. The band’s namesake is an awesomely talented rapper named Mzery, and they have become so well-established in Baltimore that they were featured on one of that city’s big FM radio stations, 98 Rock.
Recently, I did an e-mail interview with their off-the-hook yet definitely female rocking guitarist, The Ladie Clair, who happened to be spending some quality time in the Pennsylvania mountains when I sent her these questions:
Steve: What guitarists or other musicians have influenced you?
Clair: Bands like Aerosmith, and Guns n’ Roses inspired me to play guitar. I grew up in the middle of the hair band era, I thought those guys looked so cool. Before long I started to really get into the music. Around age 9 my mum bought me my first electric guitar, my dad bought me an amp and I was sitting in front of my tv playing along to ‘Janie’s Got a Gun’.
Steve: How did you become MLC’s guitarist?
Clair: It was Mzery’s idea to incorporate live music to her already very popular spoken word act. She put the message out in the universe and here we all are. There’s a little more to the dynamic of the current membership but it’s a very long conversation and requires all of us. That’s the summation of it though – a girl with an idea conquers the world.
Steve: What has it been like being part of a band that can be thought of as “genre-busting” and “outside the box”?
Clair: Perfect! I’m proud to be different. Proud to know that our very existence makes us memorable. Then we keep pushing out unique originals and stage concepts that most bands wouldn’t try because they’re stuck in a “genre”. I wouldn’t give up this freedom for any amount of money. I think I’ve been spoiled and now I couldn’t work any other way.
Steve: How do you think the fan reaction to your live shows has been, not just in Baltimore, but also other areas, like New York City, where you played not too long ago?
Clair: I used to be surprised that people understood the ideas we were trying to express because no one else was doing what we were doing and we live in a “top 40’s” world right now, but that doesn’t happen anymore. Without question we have some of the most amazing fans. They support us, they promote us, they give us the strength to bring a powerful stage performance every night. Our live shows are strong in part because of the energy in the audience.
Steve: In this Internet age, do you think being signed to a major label would help or hurt MLC, if not compromise their artistry?
Clair: Labels are only as powerful as you make them. If you sign your life away they will take your livelihood and run. So, no. I am not afraid of record labels, or the dark side of the industry, etc. We know way too much and are too wise not to read the fine print. We know what works for our music and we’ve dedicated too much time to this to compromise.
And I hope The Ladie Clair is right about that last statement. You can find out more about Clair, Mzery, drummer Sasha, backup singer Kari and DJ Ladee Elle, by visiting their website, http://www.mzerylovescompany.com. You can also find them on Facebook, Twitter and Reverbnation.