Mouthful of Bees not as deadly as they sound

Actually, the local six-piece’s sound is more sophisticated than ever

PHOTO COURTESY MOUTHFUL OF BEES

Ashley Goetz

PHOTO COURTESY MOUTHFUL OF BEES

âÄúI wanted to place a quotation from the philosopher Heraclitus on the album credits but they thought it was too pretentious. They were right,âÄù says Patrick Swanson, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist of local band Mouthful of Bees as he discusses the making of their self-titled sophomore album. The six-piece groupâÄôs first album, âÄúThe End,âÄù received hype from the likes of City Pages and The Star Tribune , and with the addition of two new members and a recently attained status as legal drinkers, the bandâÄôs career has matured with them. âÄúMouthful of BeesâÄù is a lush, regal and wholly sophisticated indie rock album that finds a vertex somewhere between Andrew Bird and Akron/Family. A&E chatted with Mouthful of Bees and managed to glean even more priceless quotations. Which local bands are you guys most inspired by? Which ones do you like performing with? Chris Farstad (lead vocals, guitar): Not to name check too much, but we like watching Gay Witch Abortion , Knife World, Moonstone , Skoal Kodia k, Slapping Purses , that kind of stuff. Katelyn Farstad (Drums, Vocal): Tender Meat and Voyager (RIP) and I really like Plibt . We like performing with bands that are different from our own sound and that donâÄôt suck. Do you have any rituals before or while playing music? Katelyn: [Making music] is a ritual in itself. Patrick: Does tuning up count? Chris: Actually, yes! We make sure to have a guy in the same room playing World of Warcraft the entire time. HeâÄôs a female Dark Elf Death Knight. How has Mouthful of Bees changed with the addition of Simon Larson and Patrick Swanson? Chris: As disappointed listeners such as those at the Star Tribune have discovered, the addition has totally altered the sound. With Simon and Patrick, the songs tend to be more complex, layered and lush. It was a conscious choice to change the sound and to make the album more than just a collection of songs, but somewhat of a coherent whole. On the track âÄúRory is Off-Limits,âÄù there appear to be sounds sampled off of a soap-opera. Can you explain the story behind that? Simon Larson (vocals, keys, guitars, drums): I wrote the song a few years ago as a joke. It was going to be a small production on a cheap keyboard in my dadâÄôs attic where the lyrics would be loosely based off some soap opera clips I taped off TV. A while later I mentioned the idea to Chris and we decided we liked the song enough to record it together and spend more time on it than I had planned. Chris: We literally spent probably three months recording and re-recording that song. ItâÄôs postmodern, yet sincere. Those of us in the business call that âÄúpost-postmodernist with a sprinkle of Baudrillard for tanginess.âÄù On your MySpace blog, you detail the crazy people that you meet on the road. Who wins the crazy award, and what did they do? Chris: We donâÄôt like making fun of crazy people. ItâÄôs unethical and rather demeaning. Patrick: Chris is so PC. Hypothetical: âÄúMickyâÄôs BedâÄù piques the interest of âÄúGossip GirlâÄù producers. Do you sell it or not? Patrick: While my bandmates may disagree with me, I would sell these songs to anybody. I have not made one penny off âÄúMouthful of BeesâÄù and that is something that makes me very bitter. While some may value the experience of creating music together, I value money and only money. That is why my main contribution to the album was the subliminal advertisements I put on each track. Know that it was no accident that you visited burgerking.com , purchased a new iPhone and ordered Papa JohnâÄôs after you listened to âÄúThomas Aquinas,âÄú particularly the part with backwards vocals. I figure that all those wonderful companies will trace their increased sales revenue back to us. Larson : Yes, we would sell it immediately, and for any price. Actually, weâÄôd probably pay a small amount of money to have the song on âÄúGilmore Girls.âÄù Is there any philosophical significance in writing a song about Thomas Aquinas? Patrick: Hmm, not really. I wrote the song on an acoustic guitar in a strange tuning. It’s a love song, and I honestly don’t remember what a lot of the words mean. At the time they seemed super meaningful and awesome. Now they just seem like a stream of meaningless, pretty phrases, which I’m okay with. We were always more interested in the music. I could have been singing a toaster manual and it would have been fine with me. So, to conclude, has Woody Allen ruined his own reputation, or did American Apparel do it for him? Patrick: I hate American Apparel and love Woody Allen so I would hope the money he gets from them will do great damage to their company, causing a worldwide, overpriced-tight-hipster-bullshit-clothes famine. Chris: While both suck in myriad ways, did American Apparel direct and star in a film featuring a giant runaway breast? The answer is âÄúawww shit.âÄù Correction: this article originally incorrectly attributed the response to the question about “Rory is Off-Limits” to Patrick Swanson. It now correctly attributes the quote to Simon Larson.