Alex Mussawir's post-Future Nuns band will issue four-song digital release 'The Mob' on Friday and a full-length later this year
Early on in the life of the band, Kneeling in Piss went on a cross-country tour for about 30 days. But rather than explore the ins and outs of each new city, which required money the bandmates didn’t have, the local act instead decided to focus on recording.
“Halfway through the tour, I felt so focused. And the band was tight. … So when we had downtime in New Orleans, we went there and recorded instead of going to a museum or a bar,” singer/guitarist Alex Mussawir said recently by phone. “Our recording setup was bad. We just bought stuff at a Guitar Center, and it has a two-week return policy, so we just returned it to a different Guitar Center. I think we bought it at the Guitar Center in New Orleans and then returned it in Seattle.”
Recording sessions in New Orleans, Oakland, Salt Lake City and Santa Fe yielded songs for The Mob (Anyway), a digital collection of four excellent new tracks that, when released on Friday, April 3, will serve as the first offering in a serialized album that Kneeling in Piss plans to release in full at the end of the year.
Whereas Mussawir viewed last year’s Tour de Force like a novel, he’s approaching The Mob and the rest of the forthcoming tracks like short stories. In the title track, the main character’s situation feels eerily familiar to the present day. “I was feeling sentimental in the living room alone/I did not get up from my chair,” Mussawir speak-sings over gritty electric guitars, evoking a scene familiar to anyone during Ohio's current “stay at home” order.
“I obviously didn't expect that I'd be in a literal quarantine,” Mussawir said. “But I think it would be fair to interpret any of that as sort of an allegory for feeling alienated or lonely.”
Eight different musicians contributed to The Mob. In fact, in New Orleans, Mussawir enlisted the help of drummer/singer Danielle Gagliano, his former collaborator in Band to Watch Future Nuns. “‘Song about Dating’ is actually a song that we played with Future Nuns, and I’d always wanted to record it,” Mussawir said. “[Kneeling in Piss] is a little bit of a revolving door. When I started it, there wasn't a full band. It was just whoever I could get to play with me. And I think that sort of carried over. … If somebody played with us before or recorded with me, they can just come any time they want.”
As usual, Mussawir is as quick to poke fun at himself as others, especially on The Mob track “Stop Practicing Your Instruments,” which includes this self-referential stanza: “I’m looking for a better way to occupy my time/Rock bands aren’t interesting, somebody change my mind/They sound so similar, don’t you think?”
“It's pretty easy for me to feel uninterested — maybe about art in general, but rock bands especially. But I do also love it at the same time,” he said. “In terms of motivating factors, one of the biggest ones is to try as hard as I can to make [the music] interesting and engaging. And I put that at a priority over craft or musicianship. The albums that I've enjoyed the most or felt the closest with had a similar set of priorities, as well. That's why I've always played a $100 guitar without effects pedals. That's always been the kind of stuff that appealed to me.”