MS MR Dish Talk Debut Album, Beyonce And More

Starting a career behind ambiguity and secrecy, synthpop duo MS MR have now become the four letters on everybody’s lips when mentioning the latest obsession in EDM. With a sound described as “dramatic, cinematic, warped, alternative pop” they have risen in the alternative ranks, opening for electronic songstress Jessie Ware and selling out their own show at NYC’s iconic Bowery Ballroom this Wednesday (May 15).

As MR MS trek across the U.S. for their headlining tour and prepare for the launch of their debut album, Secondhand Rapture (May 14 via Columbia Records), vocalist Lizzy Plapinger and producer Max Hershenow, talk to VIBE about their growing success, style inspiration, and musical influence Beyonce.

VIBE: You guys met in college, but didn’t really start making music together till after graduation. When you both decided to start up MS MR, what was the initial intention/goal? How did you both want to be perceived as a duo?
MS MR: Our initial goal was simply to make music that we enjoyed – we didn’t really plan on being a band or really have any concrete ideas of what we would do with what we were writing. This is still the core ethos of the band – we always want to be able to stand by whatever we’re creating and be proud of it regardless of how other people feel about it.

From the website to your album cover art, it seems that everything you guys touch possesses a stunning and unique visual quality. Who comes up with these works of art?
While every element of the project comes directly from us, one of our initial goals for MS MR was to create a community around the project, and we’ve had the incredible opportunity to work with up-and-coming directors and photographers like Tyler Kohlhoff, who shot the covers of the EP and the album. These artists have helped us refine our aesthetic (and their own) and continue to contribute as we incorporate new visual ideas.

What about the imagery behind the music video for ‘Hurricane’?
Everything you see or hear comes from us, which is something we're incredibly proud of. The first DIY video for Hurricane came from a file of images we had painstakingly curated over the first year of MS MR. We then collaborated with an editor to bring the video to life.

As we've more fully developed the music, we were able to also develop and evolve the visuals. So we jumped at the chance to make a new video with original content for “Hurricane”. We were really moved and excited by the work of director Luke Gilford and it was a wonderful opportunity for us to invite someone else into our creative process. Ultimately the video is the result of both of our visions.

Will these visuals play a factor in your upcoming U.S. tour? Can you give some examples of what readers can expect if they come to one of your shows?
The live show has actually been a chance for us bring it all back to the music – during this first year of touring we’ve had the opportunity to put a face on the project and show our musicianship, so we have kept it all very minimal. We’re also a new band and can't afford to yet fully realize our elaborate schemes for set design...but we're always thinking about it and are excited to start incorporating things bit by bit.

And on the topic of visuals and presentation, what are some of your fashion/style influences? Any favorite designers/retail stores?
Just like the music and visuals, we love to mix and combine as many different styles and time periods as possible. We mostly wear a lot of vintage and then mix in staples from high street stores like Topshop, H&M, and American Apparel. We welcome different patterns and seemingly mismatched pieces – we’ve dubbed it “power clashing.”

For Lizzy, it appears that your hair color changes in each photo I see of you and Max - is it like a mood ring?
I definitely like to change it up a lot! I guess it is sort of like a mood ring in that I just sort of get obsessed with a new combination of colors and then feel like I need to embrace that change. It's also a fun way for me to continue to reimagine my wardrobe.

Tell to us about your new album Secondhand Rapture. Does the title speak for the album itself?
This album isn’t a concept album – it’s not about a single breakup, relationship or specific idea – so we didn’t really think about cohesive themes that run throughout until we started thinking about what we would call it.

The two ideas that emerged were our relationship to media and to the environment. “Secondhand” refers to the way we interact with the world around us - we’re fascinated by the idea that technology gives us access to a vast new universe that feels incredibly intimate despite being once removed – while “rapture” touches on the fact that we wrote the album during 2011 and 2012, years where the implications of climate change came to feel very concrete. We’re not really activist types, but we find we’re moved to write in moments of environmental threat – our best songs are always written when there’s an impending storm.

For musical influences, Max has said that he has a soft spot for Beyonce. What are your thoughts on Queen Bey’s current reign?
We both have a lot of love for Queen Bey and were actually lucky enough to see her play at the 02 Arena in London! She's spent her whole life working for her title and as far as we're concerned she's earned it.

If you could collaborate with any current artist and/or producer, who would it be and why?
There are so many people we would love to collaborate with. Max loves Robyn and Lizzy would love to work with Dev Hynes.

Check out MS MR during one of their live shows as they tour across North America - dates and locations here.

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Rolling Loud Founder Says Cardi B's Management Was Aware Of Offset's Stunt

Cardi B's headlining set at the Rolling Loud Festival in Los Angeles came to a shocking conclusion on Dec. 15, after her ex Offset crashed her performance to deliver yet another public apology for his infidelity. Twitter instantly erupted with some debating whether the stunt was appropriate and others pointing the finger at festival organizers for allowing Offset to steal Cardi's shine. Despite fan assumptions, Rolling Loud co-founder, Tariq Cherif stated that they were in no way involved in the surprise appearance.

In a statement to Complex, Cherif said the festival has no control over who takes the stage during the scheduled artist's set. "Headliners and their teams have full control of the stage and who is allowed on it during their set at Rolling Loud," he said. "The festival does not interfere with or influence a headliner’s set list. We have never and will never do anything to change a headliner's set."

Cherif also stated that they were aware that Cardi would have a surprise in store for her performance, but were unaware of the details. "We were tipped off that something was going to happen, but had nothing to do with the organization or execution of it," he continued. "Rolling Loud is proud to provide the platform for a queen like Cardi B to absolutely slay her performance. Despite the stunt, she performed hit after hit and electrified the crowd with her talent, energy, choreography, and set design."

While Cherif noted that the festival wasn't responsible for the mishap, he said in a statement to the Los Angeles Times that Cardi B's team was aware of the surprise. Organizers also reportedly sent a direct message to the Bronx rapper on Instagram shortly after the incident to apologize.

In addition to being accused of facilitating Offset's appearance at the time, many critics also accused Rolling Loud of hyping up the situation on Twitter. Fans cited various tweets from the festival's page – in which they seemed to be applauding Offset – as evidence that they were involved. Cherif attributed the tweets to "bad intel."

"We were tipped off that Cardi was going to have multiple surprise guests, corroborated by what she said in her IG Live. One of specific guests we were told about didn’t end up showing up so we deleted the tweet, which is standard for us when things change as the night goes on," he told Complex.  "Deleting old tweets with bad intel isn’t usually alarming but once we realized that we were getting dragged for the surprise interruption, we panicked and deleted the tweet bc we knew it was going to make things look worse. In hindsight, deleting those tweets actually made us look worse. We recognize that it was a poor decision."

Cardi B and Offset have both spoken out about the situation.  Cardi asked that people respect her ex, while Offset explained that his public apology was a result of his infidelities being publicly revealed. No matter what parties were involved in the stunt, it's unfortunate Cardi's Rolling Loud set couldn't just be about her.

They also deleted this.

— blah (@fushigiqueen) December 16, 2018

READ MORE: Offset Crashed Cardi B's Rolling Loud Festival Set

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Dr. King's Childhood Home Sold For $1.9 Million To The National Park Service

The two-story Atlanta home that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr spent his formidable years has been sold. According to the Atlanta-Journal Constitution, the yellow and brown house on Auburn Avenue in Atlanta was sold for $1.9 million to the National Park Service.

Will Shafroth, CEO of the National Park Foundation said it was hard to place a dollar amount on the location where a lot of Dr. King's character was molded.

"It is difficult to value something this significant in our nation’s history. It is a priceless asset. It is one of the most important places to tell the story of America,” Shafroth said.

Bernice King, daughter of late the civil rights leader, said the King Center for Nonviolent Social Change had been considering selling the home since the passing of their mother Coretta Scott, in 2006. King said the center will focus on nonviolent educational and training programs.

“We are working on creating more robust, nonviolence training,” King said. “Our society is desperately in need of Dr. King’s nonviolent teachings right now in order to create a just, humane and peaceful world. That is what we are trying to put our energy in.”

The home was reportedly built by a white firefighter in 1895 and then purchased by Dr. King's maternal grandfather, Rev. Adam Daniel Williams, who was pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church for $3,500. When King's mother and father wed in 1927, they moved. All of King's siblings including himself were born in the home.

Elizabeth Paradis Stern, spokeswoman for the National Park Service said the preservation of the home will not falter now that it's out of the family's possession.

“The most important thing about this is that this property will be protected and preserved permanently as one of our most important properties,” Stern said. “It is part of the American fabric.”

READ MORE: New Book Details Dr. King's Teenage Years And His Alleged White Girlfriend

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Donnie McClurkin Sent To Hospital Following Car Accident

Gospel legend Donnie McClurkin couldn't be more grateful after surviving a car accident this past Wednesday (Dec. 12).

The "We Fall Down" singer was driving on the road in the earlier part of the day when he passed out and began weaving into traffic. He reportedly struck the middle concrete island.

Following the incident, he posted a selfie of him on the hospital bed in scrubs on Facebook. Along with the photo, he explained that he woke up from the accident with stitches on his left thumb, on top of having a sprained wrist, and hurt knee. His car was also completely totaled.

"I AM ALIVE!!!! Somewhat mangled, stitches on left thumb, sprained wrist, hurt knee, but I’m still here! God and two angels saved my life!," the Grammy-winning artist wrote.

He also mentioned that two "angels" pulled him out the car to safety and medical attention. "I owe them...I am still here by the grace of God! Thank you, Lord...thank you!" he added.

On Friday (Dec. 14), McClurkin posted to his Facebook page again, sharing several photos of his destroyed car. "This is the totaled car that two angels rescued me from ....after passing out while driving I don’t remember most of what happened a day and a half ago...but God," he wrote. "I overrode doctors and sisters advice and flew to KENYA today for ministry Saturday @ TWO RIVERS. and home on this Sunday to celebrate life."

In happier news, McClurkin also took time to plug in his new Christmas single titled "My Favorite Things." Check out McClurkin's posts on social media and stream his new song below.

READ MORE: Big K.R.I.T. Drops Surprise Gospel-Influenced 'Thrice X' EP

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