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Their pop sensibilities may strike a chord with music followers raised on Strokes and White Stripes records, but Space MTN's appealing sound isn't the result of a carefully planned market scheme. It isn't the result of a record label's manufactured ploy to lure aging indie listeners back into the record buying fold. Instead, the LA based band's music is the unexpected byproduct of chance meetings, rocky relationships and mid-twenties malaise.
Onstage the group projects little-to-no rock band swagger or herky-jerky pseudo-intensity. There are no fancy haircuts, make-up or fashionably ripped jeans. Facing off against the audience is an unassuming Dina Waxman on bass, a mild mannered looking Chris Jacks on guitar and a pleasant drummer named Andrew Platts. Instead, the band's magic and chemistry emerge when they're all playing their music: Waxman sings the words, Jacks lays down stunning sounding guitar licks and Platts bangs on the drums for all he's worth. The sound, not the look, draws you in.
The most attractive feature of the band is their honesty. Waxman, who spent years working in LA's film industry, spoke to Famous over the phone about how that affected her take on the pop pre-fab image.
"I've done film stuff and filmmaking and so much time is spent talking and begging and convincing and hyping and in pre-production of some development. Very little time is spent creating things that exist and it can be very frustrating," explained Waxman.
Her frustrations with the film industry led her to investigate music as an outlet for her creativity. She met guitarist and friend Chris Jacks while working on a Gap commercial in 2002. The two had an instant creative bond and they spent the ensuing months writing, working, singing and playing music. With a PowerBook and ProTools, the two created the tracks for a 5-song EP called "Swimming the Great Fake Lakes".
"With music you can pick it up and play and there is a sense of immediacy and actuality," said Waxman.
Those early experiments and that chance meeting with Jacks resulted in the formation of Space MTN. And while the band has changed a bit since then -- drummers have come and gone, they now have a record label and management, they probably record in studios instead of on laptops -- the music still feels warm and homemade. Like it was recorded at home on the weekends between bouts of Netflix and microwaved popcorn.
Last month the group released their first full length record "A Drawing of a Memory of a Photograph of You. More polished than their previous work, it sounds like a bit of throwback, like it could be a contemporary of 90's era releases by the Breeders or Belly.
"I tend to write songs about love, about frustrated relationships and what I do to sort of persevere," commented Waxman.
The songs come across like honest meditations on relationships, infused with a heavy dose of confusion, and a sprinkle of optimism. Are these songs autobiographical? Are these stormy lyrics dredged up from Waxman's own dating life?
The short answer: yes.
"It is a little silly," admitted Waxman. "I provide many entertaining stories for my friends about relationship debacles."
Straightforward love songs with smart lyrics? It is easy to see why pop aficionados would be drawn to Space MTN and why even the most jaded hipster would clandestinely keep a copy in the glove box of their hybrid Honda.
Space MTN will be performing at Tokyo Garden in Fresno, CA on Thursday, October 6th.