Q&A: Mississippi Man

16 Jun

In April 2009, Mississippi Man released their debut EP, Snake Oil Salesman, with a show at the much-missed eVocal venue in Costa Mesa. It’s been an eventful sixteen months since—the band’s gone on tour, steadily increased their profile throughout Southern California, seen publicity in places like LA Record and puzzling onlookers with a nomination for Best Blues at this year’s OC Music Awards.

Though they didn’t take home that trophy, there’s still plenty to be excited about for Mississippi Man, including a July Monday night residence at the Echo, and an upcoming full-length album, A-OK. We caught up with guitarist and vocalist David Knight to find out the latest on the band, their favorite Orange County music and if they consider their music to be “blues,” or any other color.

Albert: First, clarify something for me – I know you guys have roots in Orange County, but at least some of you are living in Los Angeles now. Is that something resembling correct?

David: Actually, only a couple of us live up in the LA area currently but we all plan on moving up there this summer. We’re looking at some small houses in the Silver Lake / Echo Park area right now.

Albert: Moving to LA, do you think that’s kind of essential for a band really trying to “make it” or was it simply the right decision for your band?

David: I think it really depends on the people you’re trying to reach. For us, LA seemed like the right crowd for our type of music but at the same time, I think that it’s easier for some bands to make it in areas that aren’t so saturated with good music. Take the Black Keys for example.

Albert: When in Orange County, what are some of your favorite bars and restaurants to hit up?

David: Well Detroit Bar has always been one of our favorites. They’ve consistently booked great bands for years now. Back when Jon was booking the bar especially. You would get bands that would come through on tour that never would have if he hadn’t been so savvy. And then you have Continental Room in Fullerton and now the Commonwealth Lounge is starting to book some great acts thanks to Adrian.

Albert: Turning to music, you’ve got A-OK coming out this summer. What’s the latest on that?

David: Right now we’re in the mixing stages of things. What we learned with our first EP was that you can’t rush things. Some things take time and other things don’t. You just have to kind of sit back and let it play out. We’re hoping to have the album mixed and mastered by the end of June and then we’re hoping for a release date in late July/early August. We have a few labels looking at it so it just depends who is going to put it out.

Albert: You recently played your first festival, the Silver Lake Jubilee. How was that experience? Did you check out any of the many food trucks?

David: It was really cool. We played the night before in San Francisco so we didn’t really make it back in time to check out the food trucks but we got a really good spot in the lineup and the place was packed by the time we went on. Aside from the name though, it felt a lot like any other show to us. We just had fun and did what we do best.

Albert: Mississippi Man was nominated for “best blues” at the OC Music Awards this past year. While I can see that the blues certainly informs your band’s sound, calling your music blues seems to be a bit of a stretch—were you surprised by that nomination?

David: Very surprised. I was hoping we won so that I could go up and play some Skip James or something so people could hear real blues. It was cool to be nominated though. Clearly our music isn’t blues in the traditional sense but as a word, sure, we’ve got some blues in there along with the reds and yellows and greens.

Albert: Your band has had a lot of good things going over the past year or so—lots of touring outside CA, playing that festival, getting loads of good press—what has been the highlight?

David: I think the highlight for all of us has just been being able to play shows to people all over the west coast. Touring can be really tiring but along with that comes some amazing moments. Anytime we can connect with the people we’re playing in front of, that’s the highlight.

Albert: What are some goals for the next year?

David: Well we’re putting out our album later this summer and with that, probably doing a much larger tour. Hopefully something on a more national scale. There’s already been a lot of scandalous activities this year so far so we’ll just have to wait and see. Other than playing a lot though, we’d like to read some more books, catch some more fish, and visit Bakersfield more often.

Albert: What are some artistic influences for your band—other than music? (Movies, art, TV shows, etc.)

David: We all like to read a lot. Santino and myself especially. Luke’s pretty big on movies. Traveling is a big influence on me. Patrick still finds time to skate and surf here and there. Life, as an art form, is very influential to us.

Mississippi Man are scheduled to play Thursday, June 24 at Detroit Bar in Costa Mesa (21+); www.myspace.com/mississippimanmusic.

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