GREEN BAY (WCWF) -- Ahead of the 2019 Mile of Music Festival taking place in Appleton, we wanted to meet some of the artists set to perform.
Mutts is a Chicago-based American rock band, consisting of Mike Maimone on keys and vocals, Bob Buckstaff on bass and guitar, and Ian Tsan on drums.
Each band member originally worked as session players for other bands. They draw from a lot of influences and musical backgrounds. Ian says he's a punk-rock guy, indie-rock, early emo band (Sunny Day Real Estate, Promise Ring), Bob also came from a similar musical background. Meanwhile, Time Out Magazine describes Mutts as "Like Tom Waits fronting a garage band."
Mike says "Most of the stuff comes from like a catchy sort of point of view, at least melodically and musically and from there I try to make it interesting you know, make it art and kinda craft it. And I think Bob and Ian do a great job of helping me make things sound cooler than they originally did in my brain."
Their song-writing influences root from life experiences. For Mike, he describes his travel through life to becoming himself.
"I think all these conflicting life experiences sort of like roll together into trying to write songs that see both sides of the coin, and trying to come out with a silver lining in some really negative situations."
This August the band returns to Mile of Music, after playing there for the first five years.
"It's just a really cool community, it feels cool to run into the same bands every year, and there's just this level of camaraderie that feels like what you heard about South by Southwest being like in the early 90's." Ian says.
Mike says "Some of the best shows we've ever had as a band have been at Mile of Music. When you ask why come back, that's exactly it. Because the experience is just amazing. Everybody's there to see music and experience all these different bands... so the audience is really engaging, and that makes playing that much better."
Ian adds, saying "It's not just like playing in front of a full room, it's playing in front of a full room that is captive and listening and participating in all that. So, it's just a really cool experience to have that many people that engaged."
But of course, it's not just concert goers in the crowd. Mike says, "Since so many of our peers and fellow independent bands are there, we get to see them play and then see them in the audience. And it's always great to play for other musicians that you respect and like their music. And when you see them watching you- you want to impress them."
"You know that you're playing in front of music fans, but you know that a certain percentage of the audience are real musicians, that just amps up your own personal expectations of how you play." says Ian.
But what can you expect from their show if you've never seen them before? Mike suggests if you don't like a song to stick around, because the next one will be pretty different.
"You can just expect to see a lot of different sounds, we're going to take you on a little ride. It'll be ups and downs and we'll feel all the feelings."
For a first-time listen ahead of the Mile festival, Mike says "Done it Again" off their Album, "Pray for Rain" is a must-hear.
"I think that song really shows the all the different sides of our band. It has some sort of frenetic rock and kinda heavy stuff, but it also slows down and has a kinda heavy section.... It's sort of about a conflicting relationship, so it sorta gets the joy and the angst all in one song as well."
Mutts has a brand new album coming out in mid-October, called "Stuck Together", and they plan to debut some of those brand new songs during their Mile of Music performance.
And that's not all, new songs have already been written for albums yet to come. "We're always like an album or two ahead of ourselves, so we're pretty much constantly writing."
FOX 11 and CW14 are proud to be official media partners of Mile of Music. For a full lineup of artists, head to the Mile of Music website.