MS MR (pronounced like the tiles on an envelope: miss mister) are a New York-based synth-pop duo whose music has been featured on hit TV shows such as Game of Thrones, Grey’s Anatomy and Pretty Little Liars. You may know them as they toured last year with Marina and the Diamonds, and now they are on their way back to Copenhagen to promote their debut album, Secondhand Rapture, which they released back on May 12.
On first inspection, the pair look like grungy 1990s misfits – a look that they themselves describe as “New York City effortlessness”. Then again, the duo only recently graduated. Lizzy Plapinger, a co-founder of Neon Gold – the record label that helped artists such as Adele rise to stardom – and Max Hershenow, who provides the electro-pop backdrop to their music, attended the same college, although they didn’t really know each other back then.
It was only when Hershenow contacted Plapinger at her record label to ask if she knew any singers who might want to work on his new project that MS MR started to take shape. Paplinger took up the offer herself and soon found out that her raspy vocals perfectly complemented what Interview Magazine has described as Hershenow’s “moody electronic soundscapes and synth hooks”.
Their rise to fame began in earnest in 2012 when Tom Ford used Secondhand Rapture’s first single ‘Hurricane’ in a 2012 runway show, and not long after that, the track ‘Bones’ was used to score a Game of Thrones trailer.
As recent media graduates, they were keen to manipulate social media from the outset. The duo used online blogging website Tumblr as a platform to leak their music anonymously – which went viral within weeks. Plapinger told Interview Magazine that this strategy importantly created a “kaleidoscopic multimedia cultural collage” for the duo – one that was not dominated by their personalities, but by the music itself.
Their debut album has been described by critics as an ethereal pop album akin to The XX and Lana Del Rey. According to Plapinger, it was an attempt to create “candy-coloured worlds with a gothic, macabre underbelly”. For us common folk, it could be described as a cross between Florence and the Machine, with the edginess of Ellie Goulding, mixed in with the trip-hop vibes of Massive Attack.
What should you expect from them live? It is understandable to be sceptical about a self-described “synth pop” band, but don’t be perturbed. There onstage performances are far more than Plapinger crooning whilst Hershenow fiddles with his computer. When live, the duo are backed by musicians that do justice to the grandiose music. Forget Neil Young, MS MR can be your new psychedelic-pop pill.
Rust, Guldbergsgade 8, Cph N;