Mise en Scene

Gimli, Manitoba

Mise en Scene will own you. They’re the Pied Pipers – they lead, you follow. Live, they are raw, concentrated energy. In your ears they’re in your face. So sultry, so smart. So powerful. Sure, maybe you can hear traces of Neko Case or Jenny Lewis, maybe some 60s girl-group pop or “My Guy”-era Supremes, but Mise en Scene is far from a rehash; they are pure, sweat-drenched passion. You’ll want them. You’ll worship them. You’ll wish you were them – but you’re not.

Get on your knees and bow down to your new rock Goddesses.

Stefanie Blondal Johnson (vocals, guitar) and Jodi Dunlop (drums), side-by-side, commanding the stage in equal parts. Fifty-fifty. Half-and-half. Blondal has never known the meaning of stage fright – no, not even the first time she performed one of her own songs at an open mic in Montréal. Dunlop broke her first American 5A when she was eight years old. Jazz, punk (as a former member of The Paps), rock & roll – she’s comfortable with any style. Blondal and Dunlop were both Fine Arts students (at McGill University/Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and the University of Mantioba, respectively), they both share an unhealthy obsession with David Bowie, and they both kick copious amounts of ass. These two were meant to be.

So here’s the skinny: in 2010 Mise en Scene recorded and released their first EP, Late Night Triple Feature, with punk-rock pioneer Ron Obvious. Obvious has credits on albums from Loverboy to D.O.A. to Spirit of the West. He’s built custom studios for the likes of Bryan Adams, Jim Vallance, k.d. lang and Bob Rock, just to do a little name dropping. The EP topped college radio charts for nine months straight. Shake the bottle, pop the cork, and watch the fireworks. 2011: tour, NxNE, and a stint at the prestigious Banff Centre Indie Band Residency. Back to the studio, this time working with a powerhouse production team consisting of Howard Redekopp (Tegan & Sara, Mother Mother), Tony Berg (Beck, Jakob Dylan) and Howard Bilerman (Arcade Fire, Coeur de pirate). Oh, and they signed to Winnipeg’s hottest indie, Pipe & Hat. Happy New Year indeed.

So what’s next for the non-stop duo? An upcoming appearance at CMW will pave the way for a year that will see Mise en Scene shine. Expect a full-length that’s far-evolved from their debut EP to drop before the final gun sounds on 2012. Expect to be wowed, shaken, taken to places you’ve never been. Sure, it’s cliché, but expect the unexpected. Resistance is futile, so you may as well just give in to your desire. Don’t despair, Mise en Scene might hypnotize you, but they will never lead you astray.