|MS MR is the eccentric American duo consisting of vocalist Lizzy Plapinger and producer Max Hershenow. Their music twists genres of alternative, pop and electronic in new and exciting ways.
The early years
In 2010, both Plapinger and Hershenow had recently graduated from Vassar College, located just north of New York City. During Plapinger’s college years, she co-founded a pop and dance label called Neon Gold Records with her childhood friend Derek Davies. The label helped launch music by Marina and the Diamonds, Ellie Goulding and Passion Pit. “We were essentially running the business out of our dorm rooms,” she said in an interview with The New York Times. “We’d wake up early to fulfill orders, package everything, mail them out.”
The label signed a distribution deal with Columbia Records in 2010. Though Hershenow and Plapinger were only acquaintances at the time, they both were looking to start a new musical project. After a spur of emails, they eventually joined forces to form MS MR (pronounced “miz mister”). In 2013, they released their first full album Secondhand Rapture. This album contained haunting pop songs like “Hurricane” and “Think of You.” In addition to the music industry, the fashion industry also took note, as their song “Hurricane” featured in a Tom Ford runway show and a Gucci ad campaign. Later in the year, “Bones” appeared in the Season 3 trailer for the hit television show “Game of Thrones.” “We’re such huge fans of the show, we were geeking out,” she The New York Times. They toured throughout 2013 to support their debut album and fans returned the support. By popular demand, they added extra North American shows in 2014.
The band continued climbing the ladder to fame, playing popular music festivals Lollapalooza and Coachella, which they said was a huge milestone for them. They kicked off their sophomore album by releasing the upbeat single “Painted,” which immediately took off. This gave fans a taste of what was to come: music with upbeat tempos and dark undertones, a MS MR staple. In July 2015, they released How Does It Feel through Columbia Records. The album contained a new but intriguing MS MR, with a more stripped down sound. The band wanted the album to feel a lot more focused without hiding behind layers, both sonically and lyrically. Their second album is much more intimate and raw, like in the closing song “All The Things Lost,” a heavy piano ballad where Palpinger sings, “Everyone keeps asking are we okay / The truth is we’re not but I don’t know what to say.” However, the calmer tunes are juxtaposed with energetic pop jams like the song “Reckless.” The album includes a blend of genres that complement each other.
In August 2015, they played Lollapalooza again, this time on a bigger stage and with a larger audience. In only a few years, the band went from writing music in a dorm room to performing in front of a crowd of 20,000 who all appear to know every lyric.