Giulia Marsico of Tallahassee’s No Diavolo, a duo including Marsico and Zachary Sewell, approached me in September about expanding the music section of LCK. We spoke about ideas she had, then Giulia followed with an email shortly after confirming an interview with Lizzy Plapinger of the New York-based band MS MR (pronounced Miss Mister). Naturally, I was stoked! I fell in love with MS MR‘s sounds after hearing ‘Bones‘ for the first time last year. The duo, consisting of vocalist Plapinger and producer Max Hershenow, released their latest album, ‘Secondhand Rapture‘ in May. Giulia covers questions about the studio album, Lizzy‘s style, her ever-changing hair, Beyoncé and more. Read the full interview below.
Giulia: MS MR is clearly androgynous. How did you guys come up with the name of your band?
Lizzy: We had a working list of a few names but it was one of those things that as soon as MS MR was brought into the mix it just immediately felt right. We like that it sort of alludes to the fact we are a boy-girl duo but that those roles are wholly interchangeable. We also like that it’s both slightly formal but completely mundane at the same time. And ultimately, aesthetically it leaves a lot of room to be played with.
Giulia: You’re debut album ‘Secondhand Rapture‘ has just taken off into the stratosphere (cue rocket sound). What are some humbling moments during the creative process of this album?
Lizzy: Haha thank you! I wouldn’t necessarily use the word “humbling” to describe the creative process. Since this was both of our first time making music there was no ego involved, the whole process was pretty relaxed and was really just about experimentation.
Giulia: They call you the “Otherworldly Pop Prism Empress”. Do you transport yourself to Saturn before laying down tracks? What do you do to get into the mind-set of recording?
Lizzy: DO THEY ACTUALLY CALL ME THAT?! Oh God, I hope so. I don’t really have a routine before writing or heading into the studio. I usually write while I’m walking around in New York on the street. I’ll start humming a melody and then words will fall into place and it’s not long before I’m ducking into an alleyway to make a voice note. Then I’ll come home and record it and send it to Max ASAP. We like to share the earliest, smallest and roughest ideas that we have so that our writing process is really wholly intertwined.
When it comes to recording the song itself, getting in the mindset depends on what the song itself is about. For a song like ‘Dark Doo Wop‘ I need to be lost in a sort of delicate love lost dream like state, but when recording a song like ‘Head Is Not My Home‘ I need to become the most sultry sassy cheeky version of myself.
Lizzy: We LOVE Queen B! We genuinely can’t go a day without bringing her up at least once, it’s pretty laughable. I think we just admire her pure raw talent, but also how she continues to push herself artistically and not rest on her laurels. And the class and grace with which she presents herself… I mean, I could go on forever haha! But when it comes to my performance on stage I feel like I’m still trying to define myself individually as a unique front woman, but I feel a closer affinity to woman like Debbie Harry, Karen O, Gwen Stefani, and Shirley Manson than someone like B. I hope in time I will have the grace the B displays, but in the meantime I’m more a rock mess than that, haha!
Giulia: You’ve been spotted wearing bold rainbow locks before the pastel color wave hit mainstream. What are some of your go-to color products that give you that daydream look?
Lizzy: I change my hair color all the time. I find inspiration everywhere, but even before I was dying my hair I’ve always sort of lumped certain color combinations together and had them act as the cornerstone of my taste for that time in my life, now I just get to do that with my hair. I really love Manic Panic, it’s the original ya know? But I also enjoy Bleach’s products out of the UK.
Giulia: Currently, MS MR is teleporting through North America right now. What are your daily beauty routines and go to products that keep you looking and feeling fresh?
Lizzy: I’m sort of a terrible excuse for a woman when it comes to beauty, haha! I just try to keep my skin as clear and clean as possible. I don’t like to wear very much makeup, which helps. I usually “freshen up” with chapstick, some black eyeliner and long lashes, and recently I’ve been darkening my eyebrows a little. It’s something Marina showed me how to do and it’s awesome how something so seemingly little makes a big difference.
In the future I would definitely like to experiment more with eye makeup though… just maybe not while my hair is so nuts…
Giulia: If you had to pick one clothing line to fill your closet with, who would it be and why?
Lizzy: TOPSHOP! I was born and raised in London so it’s always been a staple in my closet, but what I like about high street brands like Topshop, H&M and Forever 21 is that you can get really trendy pieces that are also affordable and ALSO even though they’re accessible brands, the stores and selection are so huge there’s still a lot of room to pick and find things that are unique to your style and taste. Honestly, I usually get stopped and asked where I’ve found what I’m wearing whenever I’m sporting Topshop and H&M, and people just can’t believe that’s where it’s really from. I FIRMLY believe in street-style but I also look forward to having more of an opportunity to pull things from the fashion world where I can experiment with high-end designers in a way that’s unique to my style.
Contributed by Giulia Marsico
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