Comprised of The Black Angels‘ Alex Mass (vocals, samples, loops), The Horrors‘ Tom Furse (keys, programming), Elephant Stone‘s Rishi Dhir (bass, sitar, keys) and The Earlies‘ John-Mark Lapham (keys, samples, programming), the indie All-Star supergroup and side project MIEN can trace its origins to roughly 2004, when Rishi Dhir, who was playing sitar and bass with a previous band on a SXSW bill with The Brian Jonestown Massacre had a chance encounter with The Black Angels’ Alex Mass. Dihr also had a chance encounter with The Earlies, who he would similarly collaborate and share a stage with. Interestingly, Mass, Dihr and Lapham bonded over a mutual love and appreciation of The Association‘s “Wantin’ Ain’t Gettin;” in fact, upon learning that Lapham had a deep desire to cover it, they all began the slow process of putting together the version they’d always dreamt of. Unfortunately, while that never came to fruition, it created the collaborative and creative sparks that would become MIEN.
In 2012, Dihr was playing bass with The Black Angels, and at the time they were sharing bills with The Horrors, whose Skying was on heavy rotation for him. Dihr made the acquaintance of Tom Furse, and they made a pact to work together on something in the future. Now, as a quartet, they made another pass at covering The Association but coincidentally, there was a Lapham demo, originally based around a Beastie Boys sample that eventually became “Black Habit,” the latest single off the band’s forthcoming self-titled debut. Interestingly, MIEN’s sound as you’ll hear on “Black Habit” manages to be a seamless synthesis of the sounds and work of each of the individual members long-term, major projects, the song finds them exploring ambient sounds paired with motorik-like grooves; but underneath is a feverish and hallucinatory vibe that manages to evoke the unsettling paranoia of our Fake News/everything is going to hell in a hand basket world.
Naturally, the accompanying visuals are equally trippy — drawing from 60s psychedelia but with the same paranoia at its core.