BeatCrave brings you band, The Mood, as part of our Know Your NYC Bands series. Who says pop music is ruined? The Mood envelopes good sunshine (and some glockenspiel) in their retro-kissed sound as they also fuse it with familiarity for fans of The Kinks, OK Go, and Elvis Costello. Marco Argrio (vox/guitar), Corrine Callen (vox/glockenspiel/keys), Kenton Langstroth (guitar), Chris Bunatta (drums), and Brian Karp (bass) are all giving pop a better name as they embrace undeniably catchy melodies on top of rock and roll.
After releasing their latest EP, Synaesthesia, on their own label, Outright Rock Records, and touring the UK, The Mood continues to brings the sound of summer all year round. So if the dreary winter has already gotten you down, I suggest you catch their show tonight at The Studio at Webster Hall (10:00 pm). It’ll be one big party for two reasons: It’s Marco’s birthday celebration, and they play with The Asteroids Galaxy Tour!
Until then, check out our exclusive interview with The Mood below to learn who’s shed blood right before an encore and who’s really into continental breakfasts.
Why did you choose the NYC music scene over others when some of your originally moved from Florida?
Marco Argiro: I spent the first half of my music career playing in bands in the Ft. Lauderdale and Tallahassee Florida area. After becoming the big fish in a small pond, I knew it was only a matter of time before I needed to try my luck in the big city. I always knew I was going to end up in either LA or NYC, but after trying out both, the obvious place for me to be was in New York. It also didn’t hurt that I had family and friends living in and around the area too.
Corinne Callen: My family roots were in New York, so it was more of an obvious transition for me. New York is one of the best cities in the world. Everyday life experiences are a challenge–you are constantly pushing past comfort levels. When you get used to living with a New York perspective, it’s hard to imagine thinking any other way. My parent’s lived in NYC before Florida. I always knew I would live here at some point in my life, and now seems like the perfect time.
You recently toured in the UK. How was the scene there compared to the NYC scene?
MA: London was pretty close to Manhattan, but when you get to places like Brighton, & Manchester the kids dance and really rock out at the shows. We loved being in England and can’t wait to go back for another round of shows and pints!
CC: Well, every city in England had a different feel of course…London had a similar feel to NYC in terms of crowd interaction. We had a good response from every city, but our audience in Brighton was dancing! We liked that!
Kenton Langstroth: Bands and fans alike over there don’t seem to have their guard up like they do here in the city. Everyone was very friendly and relaxed.
Chris Bunatta: UK kids get freaky and throw down at the shows. NYC seems to perpetually need to be impressed and spanked in the ass a little bit.
How did you choose The Mood for a band name?
CB: We were originally going to be The Doom until our promo materials came back from the printers backwards.
Most people give write pop off because of the mainstream connotation, yet pop elements are almost inescapable in most music. Did you have any concerns when you wanted to start a pop rock band?
CC: It’s difficult to look past the current “pop” genre reputation, but if you look at “pop” artists from the 50s and 60s you can see that the genre is much more dynamic than one might originally think nowadays. Sometimes “pop” is used to describe melodic music, and I definitely think that The Mood’s songs are heavy with melody… So, using the term in the context of melodic, powerpop, rock n’ roll, I think it’s fitting. Of course, it’s always difficult to pinpoint genre titles when you are coming from a full range of influences. I think pop is just one aspect to our sound.
CB: I don’t think there’s anything necessarily wrong with the mainstream. It’s what currently passes for QUALITY in the mainstream that has deteriorated exponentially in recent years. Don’t fear the pop — especially when it’s “just-retro-enough power pop” you can shake your ass to!
How is working with family in the band?
MA: It’s very cool. However, If someone would have told me 10 years ago that I’d be playing in a rock n roll band with my cousin. I probably would have laughed and said no way. Corinne rocks though, and we really do have a great understanding of each other when it comes to our music and everyday life. Plus, having a girl in the band makes us appear less threatening to fans putting The Mood up for the night.
CC: It’s actually nice. Marco and I had been living in the same town(s) for the past 8 years and just starting working together about 3 years ago after doing our own thing for a while. I think we have an understanding of each other, and can easily read what the other is thinking which makes for great chemistry in our performances. We’re cousins, not siblings, so I think that makes it a little easier to get along consistently.
CB: I love them dearly… All my wives.
More and more artists are creating their own labels today. What advice would you give to new bands who are thinking of doing this?
MA: Take matters into your own hand, and don’t wait around for someone else to get the job done. Get together with your friends, make music you love, and play shows till you raise enough money to put out a CD or record. I have been self-releasing Vinyl & CDs with various bands I have played for since I was 16 years old. A good DIY work ethic will always pay off for you in the end.
Are you working on a full-length album?
CC: That is always the plan. Of course, we do what we can when we can, and I think that we have tried to make the small collections that we have released so far feel as thorough as possible.
CB: Yes… and currently accepting all donations.
MA: We definitely have enough new material to make a proper full length album. We’re just taking our time with the planning. I have always dreamed of having an LP. I have a feeling that in 2009 it will see the light of day!
Can you describe your wildest show to date?
CC: They are always wild.
CB: This past summer I managed to impale a cymbal stand through my hand on the last note of the last song of the night. Marco, of course missed the entire incident and is busy gearing the crowd up for an encore while I’m backstage bleeding bloody murder. Needless to say, said encore t’was a success and not a drop of blood was spilled on me pristine white trousers. That, and this past Halloween when about 30 sexy biscuits joined us onstage for an encore of “Monster Mash!”
Where in NYC would you like to play next?
KL: Bowery ballroom has always been one of my favorite venues, just really love the vibe their and the sound is excellent.
MA: Roseland Ballroom, Irving Plaza (or whatever they’re calling it these days). Perhaps Hammerstein or MSG.
Where would you like to tour next?
MA: Japan for sure, and it would also be nice to play Italy. My father was born there, and perhaps I could get back to my roots! I love pasta!
CC: Japan or Sweden!
KL: I’m a little obsessed with that country, the culture and the people
CB: Amsterdam, Scandinavia, The North Pole.
What’s something you always seem to get in trouble for?
CC: Being late! Although I swear I’m not as late as I used to be, or more late than anyone else I know, once you are identified as a “late-person” it’s hard to shake that identity! Somehow, no one ever remembers when I’m early!
MA: Not following directions.
CB: Sneaking into continental breakfast at the hotel.
What’s the most vivid memory you have from your childhood?
MA: Being left home with the baby sitter while my family headed out to the Jackson Five reunion concert at the Orange Bowl!
CC: I have memories of playing this game with my sister where she would put me on her back and spin me around with a handkerchief on my eyes. Then she would put me down for a second and arrange all our dolls and stuffed animals in a circle on the floor in our room. When she took the handkerchief off I was in this magic tea-party land. I really thought my dolls were real and that I was in a different place.
CB: Watching The Kids Are Alright for the first time and seeing Keith Moon in action.
Which local artists are you currently digging?
CC: Keren Ann is cool, although I am not sure that she was originally from NY.
MA: This is Ivy League, MGMT, and Kovak.
CB: Puddin’ Tang and Kovak of Brighton, UK.
What would your dream dessert be?
MA: Oreo Ice cream cake being served to me by supermodel Kim Smith.
CC: What ever happened to Jello Pudding Pops? Those were amazing.
CB: Cold cantaloupe off a naked, glistening belly.
Tell us one thing about yourself we probably don’t already know.
MA: I am a robot.
CC: That I am the top 14th glockenspiel player in the world!
CB: I really am quite shy…
Photography courtesy of Shelby Duncan