Premiere: MISC. Unveil Their Self-Titled Debut Single
Dynamic and distinct, the four-piece rock band known as MISC. have quickly made a strong impression on the Richmond scene since forming in the Summer of 2022. After a slew of buzz-worthy live shows in and around town, the band is finally ready to unveil their self-titled debut single, which The Auricular is proud to premiere today, along with a brief Q&A below.
“MISC.” serves as a literal introduction to the quartet’s cagey musical ideology, one that stretches wide enough to fit jazz fusion and nu metal. Jump into their car on the way to their recording space in Northern Virginia and you’ll be welcome to the sounds of classic hip-hop by the Pharcyde, avant-garde jazz from Nate Smith & Vernon Reid, progressive metal by Tool, and modern hip-hop from BROCKHAMPTON and the Dreamville collective. The band name itself describes this miscellaneous collection of styles, though the band also lucked out with the name containing each of their initials: Matthew Koon (singer), Isaac Miao (drummer), Sterling DeMascio (bassist), and Connor Loftis (guitarist).
Despite this extensive range, MISC. comes across clear and deliberate in their music, which their debut single showcases excellently. “MISC.” opens up with sharp notes that punch out in unison before moving into a whirring breakdown. Before long, Koon’s brazen verse rolls in, recalling the early era of rap-rock, where bold instrumentation set the course in each song. After lyrics that set the band’s ambition on sold-out shows in famous venues, a chanting chorus from all four band members rolls out to broadcast the band’s sweeping ethos. (“Welcome to the show / Let the feeling take your control / Now the hits kicked in / We won’t stop till the roof caves in”)
From there, Koon continues with his introduction of the band before the song closes out on a searing guitar solo that focuses as much on tempered melody as it does flashy skill. As the solo winds down and the band locks step behind the punchy notes that opened the song, you can feel the diligent talent behind their lively spirit that drives the sound of MISC.
Currently, MISC. is finalizing their debut EP entitled Hard Reset, which the band has been capturing in a short series of v-logs on their YouTube page entitled “MISC. In Action.” The EP is tentatively scheduled for a spring release, and fans in town will have plenty of opportunity to hear the material on that record before its release, starting with their show at Richmond Music Hall this Saturday alongside Halfcast. Ahead of this show, we caught up with guitarist Connor Loftis to find out about the genesis behind their debut single as well as what 2023 has in store for the impressive band.
How did “MISC.” the song come about?
“MISC.” was actually the first song we had ever written and fully composed/arranged. When we first began getting together trying to figure out what our sound would be, my mind snapped to this bassline I had come up with many months ago. This eventually became the bass part for the chorus, an idea that I thought had potential to turn into something that would be well-suited for this project. Eventually, while I’m at work one day, the vocal melody hits me out of nowhere, and I soon after record a rudimentary guitar/bass demo. I quickly concocted the intro and verse on the spot, sent it to the guys, and they all seemed to like it!
Once we have a loose idea down and play it together, more often than not the rest of the song will unfold organically through either edits and suggestions that any four of us will make along the way, or merely going off of what feels right in the moment. That was certainly the case for “MISC.”
Did you always intend for your debut single to have a literal lyrical introduction to the band?
So far, our general principle when writing has been to prioritize instrumentals that we feel sound interesting and are able to stand out on their own before eventually incorporating the lyrics, which help fill in the gaps and reflect the general mood of the track. A very big part of MISC. from the start has been showing who we are both as individual people and a collective band. Having an introductory track to commemorate our first song was something that felt natural to do when we started playing around with lyrical concepts and the general direction we wanted to take the song.
What was the recording process like for this song?
A very good friend of mine based out of Northern Virginia has an unbelievably beautiful and complex private studio, which is really more of a “temple to sound” as he likes to put it. There’s an entire section with lab equipment that allows him to spectrally analyze studio gear — in addition to creating his own equipment — so needless to say his passionate attention to detail made me believe there was no other individual who I’d want to work with for MISC.
The original plan was to go up for six days in December to track everything for the EP, but when five perfectionists are working together with a guitarist who has very ambitious ideas for the production, six days quickly turned into over a month of back-and-forth between Richmond and NOVA to finalize recording. Regardless, we had a phenomenal time throughout the entire process and are very happy with how the record is coming along!
You’ve created a buzz for your live shows. Was there anything specific you tried to do to carry over that live feeling to the studio recording?
We utilized studio gear and recording techniques that are considered a little more vintage than what most bands and producers would go with when tracking a modern rock record. On our first studio visit, we tracked drums, bass, and guitar all together in the same room over headphones, and that really allowed us to capture the essence that we were putting on a live show with the active musical interactions we were having. All the drum tracks we used came from that recording session. At some points on the EP, it led to some truly magical moments with Isaac that I doubt would have occurred had we multi tracked every instrument individually from the start.
How have you found navigating the local music scene over the past few months?
As a relatively new act in the scene, it’s been a phenomenal experience! Whatever genre you could possibly conceive of, it will totally be welcomed and accepted in Richmond. It seems like what we do is no exception. We’ve been privileged to have had really excellent crowd turnout at all of our shows thus far, and also quite astonished and grateful that reception between younger and older generations alike has been overwhelmingly positive!
We try to foster that community essence ourselves too, especially starting ahead of our first show at The Camel when we began sending personalized digital invitations to other bands and artists in the city. It wasn’t something we really saw anyone do around here and we figured, “why not go the extra mile?”
What’s next for MISC?
We have a huge show at Richmond Music Hall coming up this Saturday, February 4th! Halfcast is opening and they’re a phenomenal band, one which truly deserves more recognition for what they do. It’s gonna be an excellent night and we hope to see you there!
For tickets and show information to MISC’s upcoming show with Halfcast at Richmond Music Hall, click here.
And make sure to follow MISC. on Instagram and their Linktree for more information on new music, shows, videos, and other happenings!