Making a scene at the Rose & Crown
Stefanie Johnson and Jodi Dunlop – who make up the rock duo Mise en Scene – roll into the Rose & Crown, Sunday and Monday (Sept. 30 and Oct. 1).
The Winnipeg-based pair had their first big break at this time last year, when they partook in an indie band residency program at The Banff Centre. Since then, they’ve been busily working to write, record and release their first album, playing festivals and getting ready to tour.
“It’s been really busy. After the indie program, we came back and finished recording our album, and spent the next few months mixing and mastering,” said Johnson. “Since then it’s been festivals, festivals, festivals and now we’re getting ready to release the album. It’s been busy, a lot of work and a lot of playing, but it’s been really good.”
This summer Mise en Scene played at the North By Northeast and Canadian Music Week festivals, as well as many others.
“We’re totally committed to this right now, we’re really keen to see what will happen with the album,” said Johnson. “We’ve been getting some really good responses already, we’ve been on some charts and it’s charting nationally, which is great.
“We’re going to do this western tour, come back and maybe tour east for a bit, and then officially release the album at the beginning of December. Then we’re looking at Europe.
“We had to seize the moment for when we were available to tour, and were able to before the release, but with that in mind we wanted to be able to sell the album at the shows, and want people to have access to it, so we made available that way.”
As for the album, Johnson is in love with the final product.
“Jodi and I love it, we really broke free at the indie band residency – it was just wonderful working with everyone there,” she said. “With this album we were able to focus in on the band that we’ve become, whereas with our previous album we were working with a lot of people and had a lot of opinions coming our way and we were learning a lot still about our own sound.
“After all that was gone, we were able to focus in on each other and what we want and the music we’re writing, which is we’re a lot harder rock sound. Howard Billerman at the Banff Centre was fantastic, he is all about drums and all about guitar and he really captured our sound very well.”
The overall sound of the record is rock music, said Johnson.
“The whole experience of this album has been me and Jodi being a duo and trying to focus on that in the recording of the songs and keeping it true to our sound and our vision of our band,” she said. “I think it’s been very successful in achieving that.
“I’m already on the other track and looking forward to making the next album. But we have to be patient and deal with this one first.”
The two shows in Banff mark the second stop on the tour itinerary, a stop they had to make.
“Banff’s amazing, we have a history in Banff and the band we’re touring with also loves Banff and playing there,” said Johnson.
“I’d love to see all the indie band kids and Banff Centre people again. It’s a beautiful place, of course we want to play there.”
Her most memorable experience from the residency was the making of a music video.
“When we were doing our video, we were working with Brock Mitchell,” said Johnson. “Oh my God, we were working with this amazing artist, Susan Clarahan, and she makes wearable art pieces, and so we were storyboarding for our music video and did this huge crazy video with fireworks and teased hair and fir, with climbing a mountain for six hours of shooting.
“By the end our clothes were falling off, our tights were ripped, our hair was falling flat and out makeup was everywhere.”
That video, for the song “Hey Velvet,” can be viewed at vimeo.com/41331909
Playing with Mise en Scene at the Rose & Crown are the Noble Thieves.
“They’re a fun band and will get you on your feet and moving,” said Johnson. “They’re reggae and ska and really upbeat dance soul rock music – they’re fantastic and high energy.
“So are we, but the boys are visually different – they’re out there in white shirts and ties and suspenders, and they charm the ladies big time.”
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