The jetlag from Australia to Austin worked out perfectly for Melbourne-based band Totally Mild at SXSW. They might have been sleepy during the day, but we’re wide-awake and ready for debauchery at night.
I caught two of the members before the start of their ten-show run at SXSW. We chatted on the front porch of a DIY unofficial showcase held in someone’s backyard. Guitarist Zach Schneider and guitarist/vocalist Liz Mitchell were nursing a hangover with Yerba Mate teas when they arrived, while I was nursing my fourth Lone Star.
Fortunately, we were able to have a productive chat about the world of music, their new album Her and their “moody pastel” vibes.
These two founding members met in high school, became sweethearts and started writing music together. Though their puppy love ended, their music collaboration only grew.
“[We] met in high school, so like ten years ago or more,” Mitchells tells BTRtoday laughing. “We sang in a choir together, then we dated, we were like high school sweethearts—we’re not anymore, we’re best friends.”
Mitchell’s love for pop music and Schneider’s eclectic musical taste created the foundation for Totally Mild. The two eventually met their bass player Lehmann Smith via MySpace and their newest member, drummer Dylan Young, through other music projects—becoming the four-piece you see today.
“I think [we’re] something ‘peachy’ or some kind of moody pastel thing,” Schneider describes the band’s vibe. “It’s kind of all over the place actually … I think the four of us together are a bit of a weird library.”
Schneider says he and Young are the two in the band with the widest-rang of musical interests, though Young tends to branch off to jazz more often than him. Mitchell, however, is a pop music purist and Smith refuses to listen to anything after the ‘80s.
You’d think with so many conflicting tastes there would be a mess in the songwriting department. But with Totally Mild it actually adds to the unique sound.
Their most recent album, Her was released last month via Chapter Music. It’s a colorful album, with angelic and sultry vocals from Mitchell that drips over the music like sap on a tree and sticks to your heart for hours.
Mitchell admits that most of this record was written during recording.
“[Writing while recording] is not something we did with the one before,” she says. “This one there were a bunch of songs that hadn’t been arranged before we recorded them, so we were writing new bits to them as they were coming together—which was really cool.”
Listen to Her in its entirety and the rest of the interview live and uncut from SXSW on this week’s The Music Meetup. There’s a lot of sarcasm, laughing and a drunk guy trying to walk through us—it’s great.