14 April 2023
THE MYSTERY PLAN is a 5-piece groovy-moody pop band from
Charlotte, North Carolina conducted by Jason Herring and fronted
by sensual voice Amy Herring.
They started working together back in 2010 and now, 13 years later they already
released their 7th album named Haunted Organic Machines. A breezy, trippy, and
synth-scintillating record of relaxing pop vibes and candlelight musings. Subtly orchestrated and an ideal companion for reflective moments.
Thanks to main man Jason Herring we can learn more about
the band, their music, and their pretty cool collaborations.
Thank you for taking
time for this chat,
How/when was THE MYSTERY PLAN conceived?
“The Mystery Plan came about back in 2010. I had some songs
written but needed help with a good arrangement and recording.
So, I went to long time co-writer/producer Paul Jensen (the Interstellars,
Fetchin’ Bones) at his place, Satellite Recording Studios.
There we put together our first album, The Future Isn’t What It Used To Be.”
Is there a mysterious story behind the band’s name?
“The name of the band comes from a late-night murder show I was watching.
The narrator of the show said something like,”…and the two set out on their
mystery plan…”. I thought that was great, so I used it.”
You may pick three tracks to introduce the band to music
fans who have never heard of you. Which ones would it be?
Is every member involved in the songwriting process?
“The songwriting process in our group starts with me coming up with a song idea,
playing it for Amy so she can start with the lyrics, Otis coming up with his bass lines,
then Jeff throws a beat on it, and Patty puts the finishing touches on it with backing
vocals or sometimes flute.
A song or two on every record is just me in the studio, and the band
figures out together how we are going to perform that song live.”
The new – 7th – album is named HAUNTED ORGANIC MACHINES.
What did you want to say/express with it?
“We started writing Haunted Organic Machine‘ during the Covid lockdown, so there are songs on it expressing sadness and frustration. Then, toward the end, and everyone was starting to loosen up a bit, we decided to write something a little more happy, “what a day” came from that.”
Is the album’s artwork related to its title?
What did you want to visualize with it?
“The album art is from a very dear friend and collaborator, Anthony Smith (That Guy Smitty/Muchacho). He did a series of polaroids last year that were pretty amazing.
He let me use a couple of my favorites: HOM cover, and the cover for ‘What A Day EP‘.
Side note, Smitty also made the beats for “What a day (disco).”
The single WHAT A DAY (disco) attracted me to the band. It feels like a bird is flying high in the sky on a Spring morning (actually the whole album feels that way). Did you think of a sort of ‘perfect’ Lou Reed ‘day’ when the song was written?
“What a day” started as something fun a danceable. When I sat down to write the lyrics, I just thought about things I could be happy about. I looked around the studio, out the window, inward, and those lyrics came out.”
The other single BIG BLISS isn’t a happy song and the video doesn’t
look blissful either. What was the idea behind the song and the video?
“Big bliss” is sort of the opposite of “What a day”. Amy was having a hard time with the lockdown, and all of the heartbreaking things she was seeing on the news. But you can
still hear her trying to focus on the things that made her happy, even through all the darkness.”
Suppose the album was the soundtrack
of a movie which one would it be and why?
“Hmmmm…if ‘Haunted Organic Machines’ were a film soundtrack…
that’s a tough one…Blade Runner maybe?…or Breathless(1960 Godard)?
I don’t know.”
Name 2 artists THE MYSTERY PLAN would love to tour with or work with?
“One of the really cool things about the Mystery Plan is that we’ve been able to work with some of our heroes. John Fryer (4AD/This Mortal Coil/ Cocteau Twins/ Love & Rockets/ NIN/ Depeche Mode…), Peter Anderson (the Ocean Blue), Steve Cobby(Fila Brazillia), Ian Masters(Pale Saints/ Isolated Gate), Neil Conte(Prefab Sprout), Micah Gaugh(the Veldt), Jah Freedom, Simon Mills(Bent). But I would really love to work with Robin Guthrie (Cocteau Twins), and Kruder and Dorfmeister. ”
Does the band play live? If so what’s a MP gig like?
“We play live a lot. Our sets are dreamy, moody, and sometimes a little groovy.”
To me TRUMP (and his party and their fanatic followers) divided the country dangerously. How do you perceive the present chaos following his indictment?
“Fuck Trump. He needs to held accountable for the damage he has done to our country.”
I suppose, as THE MYSTERY PLAN being so prolific for several years,
future musical plans are already on the table. Right?
“We already have a new EP in the works, and many tour dates.”
Thank you Jason for this interview.
May the road rise with The Mystery Plan.
Stream/buy the album here.
Band photos by (photo: Daniel Coston)