Music Interview: Minus The Bear abandon monkey knife fights for maturity

By Janice Tran

Camping is a lot safer when Minus the Bear is around. Cheesy grizzly bear jokes aside, Seattle’s Minus the Bear is more than just a silly name. With the release of their latest album, Menos El Oso, the five piece indie-pop group has shown they’ve musically matured, shying away from the funny song lyrics and titles they have been known for in the past. Bassist Cory Murchy, credits the maturity on the album to the years the members have spent together as a band.

“We’ve been able to play with each other for the last four or five years constantly,” says Murchy. “I think we’ve defiantly learned how to play together better, be able to listen to each other’s ideas. There’s a maturity in that.”

The band’s more serious attitudes on Menos El Oso are reflected through ambiguous lyrics related to youth, happiness and many other deeply symbolic emotions.

“Jake [Snider] writes all the lyrics and they’re just kind of little snippets, little stories, not necessarily real life situations that people can get into,” Murchy explains of the band’s often bizarre lyrics.

In addition to their more mature approach, Minus the Bear has an advantage when it comes to location. The group is based out of Seattle, a well known music hub, breeding such talented musicians as Jimi Hendrix, Alice in Chains, Nirvana and more recently, Death Cab For Cutie and Pretty Girls Make Graves. Living in a place so musically rich has had an influence on Minus the Bear’s music.

“It’s inspiring to be around so many musicians doing so many great things,” comments Murchy. “For the most part everyone is friends and has played with each other at some point or played shows. It’s pretty tight knit.”

Like everything in life, with the good comes the bad. Performing in a city constantly producing high calibre musicians can prove to be challenging for a band to get noticed.

“It’s not necessarily a rivalry but there’s a competitiveness as far as we all want to do good stuff,” says Murchy. “But we’re still inspired by fellow musicians.”

In addition to their music, the Minus the Bear’s generous hearts help distinguish them from other musicians. The band will begin touring across North America in late April with New Jersey’s, Thursday on the Shirts For a Cure Tour. The money earned from each show will be put towards raising awareness and providing financial assistance to under privileged women suffering from Breast Cancer.

“In the states, we don’t have any sort of real health-care,” explains Murchy. “We’re hopefully going to be raising some money, raising some awareness because this is definitely something important.”

By being involved in this charitable escapade, Minus the Bear shows even rock bands with cute names are doing their part to solve the problems the world faces today, now that’s mature.


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