For some fresh-faced bands, finding wide acclaim and signing a record deal can be a long, arduous process.
The Minneapolis rock band Mr. Submissive has followed that trajectory. Billy Sheehan, the singer and guitarist, and his band members have been working on their music for three years.
“It's cliché as [expletive],” Sheehan said. “[We] started in the attic bedroom of a house venue in May of 2014.”
Having begun their career with a bedroom, singer-songwriter MacBook recording, the project wasn’t supposed to be a proper band.
“I wanted to make chillwave after getting my hands on [the digital audio workstation] Ableton,” Sheehan said. “After taking a number out of Ducktails’ book, I found that it was a lot more fun using it to make punk songs. And it wasn’t something that I was completely bad at.”
The group later expanded to include bassist Mike Fetting and drummer Mike Graske.
“My first practice was my first time seriously playing bass,” Fetting said. “I had never met [Graske] but things clicked into place pretty quickly.”
Mr. Submissive’s songs are typically composed by Sheehan. They start as a riff or a chord progression and develop from there.
“Graske and I are usually writing most of the melodies,” Sheehan said. “He and I are usually the ones that bring a more matured product to the rest of the band, and that's when the real magic works itself out.”
Hoping to record a five-song EP for a summer release, the group has been playing with their songwriting approach. The sound is decidedly different and more experimental.
“It’s pretty evident that it's turning into something a bit darker,” Sheehan said. “But I love some pop sensibility and don't want to stray from that.”
For now, Mr. Submissive is playing around the Twin Cities and has garnered a large following. After simmering on the backburner for a year, the group has finally come to boil.
“I want to collaborate,” Sheehan said. “Release splits and play with as many people as I can. … We've been under the radar for so long. But music’s a process just like every other medium.”