Stefanie Blondal Johnson, Jodi Dunlop, Ismaila Alfa (CBC)
The way we worked together was so collaborative and we never fought. It went so well and it translated to our music.
—Jodi Dunlop, drummer with Mise en Scene
Mise en Scene is
Stefanie Blondal Johnson (guitar/vocals) and Jodi Dunlop (drums). The
two met in Gimli one summer and after work they started painting together. A
friendship was born and pretty soon the two started making music
"It helps that we built such a great friendship making paintings together," Dunlop explains. "The way we worked together was so collaborative and we never fought. It went so well and it translated to our music."
Just like with painting, each had a different style, a different approach but according to the ladies, that's why they work so well together. "Stef was always into folk and I was into punk music and then we played together it made this interesting sound," says Dunlop.
The new album Desire's Despair follows their 2010 EP Late Night Triple Feature, and they admit it's been a huge learning process. "I didn't know what the heck was going on," admits Blondal Johnson. "I'd never been in the studio before. I'd never recorded. I'd never done any of that stuff before. I just had these songs and I didn't know what to expect."
These days it's mostly Blondal Johnson and Dunlop working together, writing songs. Though they have benefitted from working with four different producers on their album. "We're now really involved in every aspect of recording - mixing, mastering, things like that," Blondal Johnson says. "Both of our families are extremely supportive and help us anyway that they can...You need that in order to succeed," adds Dunlop.
The band members have stepped back from university and are fully committed to doing music full time now with help from a manager, publicist and advisors of all sorts. "It all helps because it makes touring easier....you aren't doing everything on your own anymore. It is overwhelming...this is about the music but it seems like everything that has to be dealt with is about everything BUT the music," says Blondal Johnson.
As for what's next, Mise en Scene is keen to get back into the studio and lay down more tracks. Blondal Johnson describes it all as "a beautiful battle."
Mise en Scene's Winnipeg CD release show is December 1 at the West End Cultural Centre. Hear their interview with Ismaila Alfa on SCENE On Air. The show airs every Saturday from 5 - 6 p.m. on CBC Radio One, 89.3 FM/990 AM/97.9 FM in Brandon.