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INTERVIEW: Mleo

RYAN: When and where did the band originate?

We came together in 2012 for a gig at the Malibu Inn performing Audrey’s original music. From there on out, we decided to continue with creating music and eventually created Mleo. Elias joined us later in 2014, and changed our lives forever. Although the development of Mleo took place in Los Angeles, we have strong roots in Sacramento since  Victor, Nick and Audrey went to the same high school together.

RYAN: What is the meaning behind the name?

Some days Mleo means Men Love Exotic Otters, or it means Make Love; Eat Oreos. There have even been times when Mleo means be a good boy/girl or Mom will Lash out her Eggbeater Over you. However, the name itself originates from the symbols of Man, Lion, Eagle, and Ox.

RYAN: What is your role in the band?

Each of us contribute to the band by writing and arranging our own individual parts for the songs depending on how they develop. Sometimes a fully written song is brought in, while other songs are written together as a group. Either way, the parts we play on the recordings are the parts that we each created individually.

RYAN: Do you all have different creative roles in the band? (Writing lyrics, music, production, promoting?)

Everyone individually develops the tone and arrangement of their part in each song while writing. Production and music is usually agreed upon as a band, and Audrey writes the melody/lyrics. Promoting and managing has primarily been on Audrey, but the guys have been progressively contributing to that aspect.

RYAN: You released your first album in 2014, titled, Sunken City. What was the process like in recording this album? Where did you record, and how did you decide which songs would be included and which ones would have to be sacrificed?

Recording this album was a lot of fun and simultaneously challenging, and Track Shack studios did a great job of coping with us as amateurs (shout out to Pete, the homie). We recorded the entire album at different times within the same year, and our process improved a little bit each time we were in the studio. For the most part, we do not further our work on songs that we do not think have potential (which could technically be a bad move on our part because you never know), but usually if we put in the time to finish writing the song, we expect to record it. After we have fully written the song, we try to record a demo which includes every single part that we want to record when we get into the studio. This way, we are not held up in the studio trying to come up with new parts once we are there. This allows us to do more with our time in the studio, while also being smart financially.

RYAN: Do you have a favorite song on the album, and if so, why?

Our favorite full-length songs are Hemlock Smile and Stone. Stone allows us to express the darker side of our music, while Hemlock tends to be a fun and energetic closer to our shows.

RYAN: You titled the album and made a music video for “Sunken City”. What about this song made you want to use it for both?

Sunken City is a unique one for us. It marked a huge turning point for us as a band because we had some members quit, our writing style changed, and it also signaled a new sound for us. We were able to move on from the difficulties to create the rest of the album after this song, and felt that it accurately represented the overall journey of this album.

RYAN: Who came up with the concept for the video, and what was that collaborative process like?

We brought it together with the help of our good friend Ricky Chavez, who is actually currently working on the editing for our next music video (Ridiculous). We wanted to symbolically show our drive to push through the obstacles and struggles of being an independent band.

RYAN: You recently released a single titled “Ridiculous”. What is the story behind this song, and have you seen any specific growth between this song and songs from the past?

The overall story is a look into the difficulties of modern dating, and various aspects that are faced in unhealthy relationships.  Ridiculous marks another point in the development of our sound as it allowed us to explore elements that we haven’t necessarily experimented with in our previous album.

RYAN: Any interesting or particularly memorable memories from live shows?

One of our best gigs of all time was at a wedding in Tahoe actually. For some reason we just had it that night, and everyone was dancing to our own music. The couple’s first dance was to Surrounded In Blue, the last track of our album, which was definitely an honor. But other shows include House of Blues in Hollywood and the Eat See Hear Festival in Brentwood.

RYAN: What do you think sets your band apart from other modern rock/pop bands?

We all have really strong individual musical backgrounds. Mleo is not the first group that we have been in, and we’ve all played different music besides rock which bleeds into our sound a lot. We definitely have that California sound but I think we
distinguish ourselves enough simply due to our range of influences.

RYAN: What do you think is most important for up-and-coming bands to take into consideration with today’s music industry?

Go to shows, don’t pay to play. Seeing your peers is so important in meeting new people and hearing what is going on around you. Try to be as honest and genuine as you can with your music, and don’t be afraid to take time developing a song.

RYAN: What is next for MLEO?

We are currently working on a few new songs and plan to record again soon! On top of that, our music video for “Ridiculous” will be released later this month, we are continuing to play as many shows as we can, and we also hope to branch out around and beyond California.

RYAN: Where can we learn more about MLEO?

Most updates are posted to our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter under @mleoband. Our website is also good for more information at www.mleoband.com.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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