Interview: Emil Hyde of the Mystechs

posted November 3, 2005

by Corinne

Emil Hyde of the MystechsHow are you?

I just got the shit kicked out of me at a martial arts class, and my body is aching all over. How about you?

Great, thanks. The new album, Warriors & Warlocks, has a distinct D&D-kind of theme, with all sorts of monsters popping up. How do you select the “theme” for each album?

It varies. For this album, the theme was selected by a Ouija board.

“Warriors & Warlocks” introduces your new singer, Christine Ingaldson How did she get involved?

Christine sang backup on our previous album, Jook Een Dah, and performed live at the release party. It was such a crazy show that we knew we had to kidnap her and bring her along for the tour. Just to be nice, I wrote some songs for her to sing lead on – so she could get up front and help us terrorize the audience, which she did quite admirably. The great thing about Christine is that, while she’s got this platinum voice, she’s not one of those passive Mariah Carey mannequins – she gets out there and bashes heads just as aggressively as the boys.

Since then, Christine has gone back to working with Flutter, which is her "main" band that we've been distracting her from for the past year. But it was a fun party while it lasted.

Tell me about your recording setup on this album, and how will you be handling live sound? I know that you've toured with a laptop computer in the past.

In the studio we had a 14-piece band with a full horn section, full string section, live drummer, and banjo. However, on tour we continue to do the laptop "extreme karaoke" thing with just the core trio of singers. As much as I'd love to bring the full studio band along, rehearsing and travelling with that many people would be a nightmare to organize. Plus, our shows can get really chaotic, and I'd hate to see what would happen to a cello in a mosh pit.

The Mystechs always have really clever lyrics. What’s your songwriting process like?

There’s not much to say, really. I don’t know how or why images of a giant robot Jesus trashing Tokyo or kids getting stoned in the parking lot of a Led Zeppelin laser light show pop into my mind. All I really do is take dictation from the voices in my head.

With Nick Dye now out of the band, what can fans expect on your already-in-progress eighth album?

Whereas Warriors & Warlocks is our most straight-up rock and roll record, the next album, Escape From Planet Love is going to be all r&b, hip-hop, and reggaetón. The music is entirely samples and synthesizers and drum machines, with not a single live instrument to be heard. As for the lyrics, well... it's pop rap, so of course it's all about sex, but at the same time it’s a Mystechs record, so there’s also swamp monsters, monkeys, and robots involved.

As for Nick leaving the band – as great a front man as he is, it honestly doesn’t affect the music all that much. It’s always been me writing the songs and playing the instruments, and I’ve been working with some really talented new singers whose names will remain secret until they’ve played a couple shows and we’re 100% certain they’re right for the band, and vice versa. So it won’t be nearly as big of a transition as some people might think.

Your last DVD, Sleazy Riders, showed some really interesting performances and what a Mystechs tour is like. Is the new DVD, Legend of the Buick Brothers, more of the same?

Legend of the Buick Brothers is more of the same, but done much, much better. On the tour that Sleazy Riders was filmed on, we didn't have a camera person, so most of the segments – except the TV appearances - were just a stationary camera, mounted on a tripod, pointed at the stage, never moving. But for Legend of the Buick Brothers we had a camera person, so they're able to zoom in, pan, and follow us when we jump off the stage and start raising Hell in the audience. So it’s a lot more like being there… you can almost feel the spittle flying out of our mouths, into your face.

You mention on your website that there is a Mystechs full length film in the works. Can you tell me about that?

The film is in the final stages of editing, and from what I’ve seen it’s utterly demented: sometimes in a good way, sometimes in a bad way. Besides the concert footage, it’s got a ridiculous plot about us getting sucked into this fantasy dimension, which basically provides an excuse for tons of super-cheesy special effects like giant floating skulls, fire and lightning jumping out of people’s hands, and elves getting their heads chopped off. By Hollywood standards, the whole production is laughably primitive – but compared to some of the bad Turkish and Indian sci-fi movies I’ve seen, it’s Lord of the Rings, the Matrix, and Star Wars rolled into one. So we’re pretty much counting on the overseas box office to make up for our losses here in the States…

What’s been the most memorable Mystechs show so far?

By that you mean positively memorable? That would have to be our recent two-night stand playing this punk rock festival in Atlanta. We had two dozen people up front going absolutely nuts, singing along to every word. It was great.

How did you get involved in playing music?

My parents signed my sister up for piano lessons and signed me up for little league baseball. However, as it turned out I hated sports and my sister hated piano. As soon as she’d get done with her fifteen minutes of practice or whatever my sister would run outside, and I’d jump on the piano and play for hours. Eventually my parents got the message, let me take the piano lessons, and signed my sister up for tennis.

Name an underrated band you think deserves more attention.

If you’re talking about a big indie band that deserves to be a mainstream band, then I’d have to say Komeda or Bobby Conn. If you’re talking about a totally unknown underground band that deserves more recognition in the indie scene, then I’d say Beeblo or the Zom Zoms.

What have you been listening to recently?

Power 92.5… number one in the streets! It’s the local hip hop station here in Chicago. Otherwise, some bands I’ve been digging online are The Kohl Heart, The Emotron, and Super Fun Yeah Yeah Rocket Ship.

Thanks for your time!

Thanks for your attention!