Words by Tom Proctor. Photo by James Lockridge.
Brian Wiechert, Bryan Aubin, Christine Wichert, and D Davis of The Make Mentions joined host Brent Hallenbeck on ‘Rocket Shop‘, Big Heavy World’s local Vermont music radio hour on 105.9FM The Radiator. You can catch up with the band at www.facebook.com/TheMakeMentions Join them on Thursday April 7 at the Shelburne Vineyard for a free concert.
With dark tones and discomforting chords The Make Mentions aren’t for easy listening, but then again they never pretend to be. Founded by Husband and Wife duo, Brian and Christine Wichert and joined by D Davis and Bryan Aubin, together they concoct introspective tracks with haunting vocals and jarring lyrics forcing the listener to take a journey and look within, towards the personal tribulations of life.
In the studio to show off a few of their latest potions and poisons, they discuss the creation of their latest album, their place in the musical world and how to find comfort in release:
Tom Proctor: Your first album, ‘Sour Lemons’ seems to have a southern theme running through each song, was this an intentional influence?
Christine Witchert: I think it may have been a little accidental.
Brian Witchert: We’ve lived in the South West and on the West coast, but as far as listening to the music there’s a definitely a blues influence for sure, but yeah I don’t think it was intentional (laughs.)
CW: Like the name “Cornbread” came about because we couldn’t think of a better name. Our bass player at the time came up with it for want of a better title, ‘cos he was hankering for cornbread so we just went with it. We thought it was funny.
D Davis: The guitar though, it does have a southwestern desert feel to it with the tremolo. Maybe subconsciously that influence came through in the music.
TP: Your last album came out in 2014, what’s new for the future?
BW: We have a few local dates coming up and the next album should be finished in the next couple of months. We just wanna get it out there and see how people react to it.
Bryan Aubin: The first album was just Brian and Christine with most of it created in LA and finished here, but this album we have the addition of myself. The hope would be that we come in slow, get some traction and build something great. We’re trying to find places that we fit into, places we’re comfortable in.
BW: We don’t fit everywhere, that’s for sure.
TP: What places are right for you and where don’t you fit in?
BW: Well we’re definitely not a rock band for a Friday night good time (laughs.)
DD: You never know we may evolve to that, but at the moment we’re less dance more head. Stand-up thinking music.
BA: We’re music you fall into. There’s a feel, a sound, a meaning, it’s music that you tumble with, that takes you on a journey. Not something where you let go and dance, more that you become an actual part of it through listening.
TP: You mention that there’s a lot of introspection on the last album, what personal issues were you focusing on while creating that record?
BW: Well the first track deals with remorse, there’s another track in there called “Sinnin’” there’s a track called “Go To Hell”. So these all deal with personal issues that we may have had.
CW: And a lot of transitional issues we may have had.
BW: Yeah dealing with transition was definitely a theme that runs through the record. At the time a lot of our influence was dark and heavy and we tend to be drawn towards those feelings in our songs.
CW: It translates into the sound of our songs, inputting chords that may not sound pretty but add a certain element to the music. The chords eventually ease up and give you that relief eventually but for a while it may feel a little uncomfortable.
TP: With the new album coming up in the next few months how has the creation process gone for you guys?
CW: Well the recording has pretty much been done.
BW: We’re very much in the minor tweaking stage and we’re now having it mastered. We’ve definitely developed the songs through the process, there’s been a lot of experimentation and trial and error. A lot of the process is throwing in too much and then taking 70% back out. This time, as far as crafting it there are more layers that are simplified.
DD: As we come into the final stage I feel one or two songs that I didn’t think would make the album ended up finding a place on it and three or four that i thought were definites for the final cut ended up getting taken out. So I think we recorded 15 to 16 songs, so we got 4 or 5 lined up for the next album. The songs that have made the final cut have a great cohesion between them, they are very much connected and they flow beautifully. But that process of selection was definitely surprising to me.
TP: Is there any songs left that might make the cut?
BW: No I think it’s settled now, and what’s left will be in the running for our third album.
TP: Have you got a name for the album yet?
CW: Not yet, we’ve thought about album art and names but at the moment we’re just kicking them about, so watch this space.