If you haven’t already heard, WERS is putting on a concert on the night of Friday, June 17th that you won’t want to miss! It’s a part of the station’s fourth annual 617 Day, celebrating all things local music, local business and local radio. Join us at Brighton Music Hall for the live show or listen in as we air it on 88.9.
Mint Green is one of three incredible local artists on the 617 Day Show lineup. Staff writer Kira Weaver recently sat down with Mint Green’s lead vocalist Ronnica just a few weeks shy of the performance. The two chatted about signing with Pure Noise, recording in Nashville, and their soon-to-be-released album All Girls Go to Heaven.
HOW DID YOU FIRST MEET AND DECIDE TO FORM MINT GREEN?
Ronnica: Daniel and I met first. I met him on Craigslist, back in October of 2015. Daniel’s our drummer and the only other original remaining member besides myself. I met Tiffy (Tiffany), our bassist, on Cragslist in November of 2019. And our guitarist, Brandon, I met on Twitter in April of 2020.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THE COLOR MINT GREEN? I NOTICED THAT IT WAS ALSO THE COLOR ON THE ARTWORK FOR YOUR FIRST EP GROWTH, RELEASED IN NOVEMBER 2016. WHAT’S THE SIGNIFICANCE?
R: Mint green is my favorite color. Not too loud, not too soft. I think it’s the perfect balance. And I think that reflects in our music.
YOU SAID YOU AND DANIEL WERE THE ONLY O.G. MEMBERS LEFT. HOW DO YOU THINK YOU TWO SPECIFICALLY HAVE GROWN AS INDIVIDUALS, AND HOW DO YOU THINK THAT’S INFLUENCED YOUR SOUND SINCE 2016?
R: I think we've both grown a lot as musicians. Listening back to the first EP, the songs are definitely similar in terms of structure and instruments. With each album and every show, every writing we just grow and expand as artists.
We’ve been able to put a bunch of new things into this next album, or rather the next EP, and then this upcoming album. Just the more you play and the more you hear. I like to think of myself as a sponge just naturally trying out new things.
I think that’s the biggest difference between then and now, the song structure and instrumentals. The first EP versus the second versus this upcoming album. It’s a little bit more dynamic each time.
BETWEEN THE SECOND EP, HEADSPACE AND THIS UPCOMING ALBUM, ALL GIRLS GO TO HEAVEN, IT LOOKS LIKE YOU HAD A FOUR YEARS GAP.
DURING THAT TIME, YOU OBTAINED A RECORD DEAL WITH PURE NOISE, HOW DO YOU THINK WORKING WITH THE LABEL DIFFERS THAN WHEN YOU WERE DOING IT ALL ON YOUR OWN BEFORE?
R: The biggest difference between working with a label and being completely independent is the financial aspect.
Our first two EPs were self-funded. Every show we played, we would put the money into our band PayPal and use that money for studio time.
But with Pure Noise, last summer we got flown out to Nashville and worked with an amazing producer, Collin Pastore, and stayed there for two weeks at no cost. It was just a completely different experience, being able to walk into a studio and not have to look at the clock.
It allows you to be more relaxed and creative. I would say that’s the biggest difference so far. Definitely just having that resource when it comes to recording.
SO DID YOU HAVE ALL TEN SONGS OFF THE UPCOMING ALBUM WRITTEN WALKING INTO THE STUDIO WHEN YOU WENT TO NASHVILLE?
R: Absolutely not! It was crazy. “Body Language” I actually finished a couple days before we had to record it. Going into the studio we would have never thought that would be the first single. It all just kind of bloomed once we got in there.
When we were originally pitching to labels we had six demos. And out of the six demos four of them are on the album. And out of those four, two are from 2017-2018. So technically we had to write eight new songs starting in February and be ready to record them in June of that same year, 2021.
DO YOU WRITE THE SONGS AS A COLLECTIVE, OR DO YOU AS INDIVIDUALS COME TO THE GROUP?
R: For the most part, I write the lyrics. And for instrumentals it can really go either way — it’s collaborative. No one comes with everything fully written. Usually it’s a partial riff and we’ll mold it.
“Body Language,” for example, kind of started as an accident. Most of the songs we’ve written with Brandon have started as accidents. While we are setting up he’ll be playing something random and I’ll ask ‘Is that yours?’
If he says ‘yeah,’ I’ll take out my phone and record it for later. But that song, “Body Language,” was hard. It was just so hard to get through. We kept picking away at it. Go home from rehearsal, think about it, and come back next week. For the most part though, the songs are written part by part in the moment.
I REMEMBER WHEN I LISTENED TO “BODY LANGUAGE” FOR THE FIRST TIME, I FELT WHILE LISTENING IT WAS ABLE TO CAPTURE AN EMOTION THAT I KNEW EXISTED BUT NEVER THOUGHT TO DEFINE. THE LYRICS FELT VERY NARRATIVE.
R: It definitely has a narrative feel to it, which is what I wanted. Well I didn’t know what I wanted, but yeah.
I was really scared to release a lot of the stuff on the album. For the longest time I thought we had to be cut and dry. Even just having the vocoder, the harmonies in the beginning, there was this thought of ‘I hope people don’t find this weird’ — You know how it starts with all the voices?
WHEN I WAS LISTENING THE VOICES AND HARMONIES IN THE BEGINNING ALLOWED FOR A DIFFERENT TONE COLOR TO BE PRESENT IN THE SONG.
R: Yeah, and that’s one of the things that we decoded in the studio. It came because we recorded more towards the middle to end of the two weeks and my voice was tired. That’s just another studio decision I'm grateful for.
WHAT WAS YOUR LYRICAL INSPIRATION BEHIND “WHAT I’M FEELING?”
R: It’s essentially about when you meet someone for the first time and you already have your entire lives planned out. Like ‘I wanna know where you had your first kiss,’ ‘I wanna go to your childhood home.’ And that can either be really toxic or beautiful.
The person singing is so blind. They just want to be fully immersed into that person’s world and be taken away from what they are going through. Very much ‘I want to go into your world and build this new life, and you should know how I’m feeling.’
I would say it’s one of the more optimistic tracks out of the ten. There’s still moments when it's darker though, like in the second verse. The person speaking just wants to know what it’s like to be missed and what it’s like to be left in the first place. They don’t even really care who gives them that experience. They just want to feel it.
“TRYING” WAS THE SECOND SONG RELEASED OFF OF ALL GIRLS GO TO HEAVEN. I REMEMBER LISTENING AND THERE WAS THIS ABRUPT CHANGE RIGHT AROUND THE 1:50 MARK. IT REMINDS ME NOW OF HOW YOU WERE SAYING EARLIER HOW YOUR SOUND HAS DEVELOPED INTO MORE EXPERIMENTAL SONG STRUCTURES.
R: “Trying” is one of those songs that’s older. We started writing that in November 2019. At the time it was the hardest–The bridge part you are talking about where it goes into the polyrhythms. That was the hardest thing to get down.
IT THREW ME FOR A LOOP WHEN I FIRST LISTENED. I WAS CONSTANTLY WONDERING IF YOU WERE GOING TO RETURN TO THE ORIGINAL IDEA. THEN YOU JUST FADED AWAY AND I WAS JUST LEFT THERE.
R: There was this joke at the time of ‘Let’s just write a simple song,’ which is why it starts out the way it does. We’re jammin, everythings fine. And then of course we are like ‘Let’s really get complicated at the end and add some…
R: Polyrhythms and stupidness.
And arpeggios that are just so hard to play on the guitar, and bass harmonics. It's crazy though because as complicated as that section instrumentally, vocally it’s straight forward. The juxtaposition is just wild.
I think that song, out of all them, leans the most into the All Girls Go To Heaven vibe.
DO YOU FEEL LIKE THE CHOICE IN THE SONG STRUCTURE PARALLELS THE MEANING BEHIND THE SONG?
R: Yeah definitely! It’s crazy because it sounds happy, but I was so sad. I wrote that after the worst breakup of my life, or at least one of them. It’s just about me trying to get over— no, not even trying to get over them, just trying to still make it work while the other person’s kind of gone.
Like, “I’m dreaming about them, they’re still on my mind.” When that change happens in the music, it’s almost acceptance or at least realizing that there can be life after them.
“I’m so sober, I’m so free,” — those lyrics are a double entendre because I was sober with them. I also like the way it ends open on the bass lick.
THE ENDING, IT FELT VERY CONCLUSIVE FOR ME. THE WAY IT FADES TO NOTHING. I REMEMBER LOOKING AT THE TRACK LIST AFTER AND REALIZING IT WAS ONLY NUMBER 5. WHAT WAS THE REASONING BEHIND THAT?
R: It’s a turning point in the album for sure.
The song that follows it, “Ready,” which isn’t out yet, was written at the same time about the same person. That’s one of the time’s the songs fade into each other. Even live, we would do them back to back, before the album was ever a thought. Those two are both old old.
“Ready” is so dark. It’s all “Tell me what you want me to be” and then the chorus is like “I don’t want to wait for you to be ready.” It’s kind of the same vibes as “Trying,” where you don’t want them to be ready to leave. You don’t want them to make their decision.
It’s the turning point of the album. On the vinyl it’s the first song you flip over to. The guys were really adamant about that, Daniel especially.
WILL THIS BE YOUR FIRST RELEASE ON VINYL?
R: Yeah, It’s wild.
THE UPCOMING ALBUM IS TILED ALL GIRLS GO TO HEAVEN — IS THERE A MEANING BEHIND THE NAME?
R: Not intentionally, I think it’s more just a collection of a bunch of experiences from the past four years. I think it’s really reflective of Daniel and I’s journey, my personal journey, you know? The world and how it’s changed. Relationships, friendships, family… all of that stuff.
Each song has its own vibe, for better or for worse. At first I was scared it wouldn’t be cohesive because of that, but I think it works and there’s something on there for everyone.
HOW DID YOU DECIDE ON THE NAME THEN?
R: It was actually decided after the recording process. I had the idea first in Nashville. We were sitting around a bonfire with our managers spitballing and my partner came up with one and I said the reverse as a joke. Then, once we were all back in Boston, after a while “All Girls Go To Heaven” sort of took shape as an iteration of the joke, more digestible though.
When you saw that, what did you think it meant?
“ALL GIRLS GO TO HEAVEN?”
R: What does it mean to you?
LISTENING TO THE FIRST FEW SONGS OUT FELT LIKE YOU WERE TALKING ABOUT A RELATIONSHIP, NOT SPECIFICALLY ROMANTIC, WHERE YOU HAD BEEN WEATHERED, AND NOW YOU ARE EXITING THAT. THE IDEA OF NEEDING TO FREE YOURSELF OF THESE METAPHORICAL WEIGHTS.
R: Yeah I remember in this one interview I was asked if I purposefully leave out pronouns. I hadn’t thought of it. I think, at first, it was done subconsciously but also kind of on purpose. Because I wasn’t out about my queerdom and so even though all the songs are about chicks it was never outwardly ‘She broke my heart.’
I’m just so used to writing like that, it's just what it is. It would almost be less natural to use them when I write now.
It’s funny though, not every song is about a romantic relationship anyway. Not everything has a gender.
The later tracks like “Whatever Happens,” which is going to be the focus track, that one is probably the most explicit in terms of lyrics I’ve written. That one I think encapsulates All Girls Goes to Heaven the most.
All Girls Go To Heaven to me is no matter who you are you can make your own paradise. Whatever makes you happy and whatever your version of heaven is, you can get there.
Mint Green’s upcoming record All Girls Go To Heaven is set to be released on June 3rd. You can see Mint Green perform songs from the soon-to-be-released album and others at WERS’ 617 Day Show at Brighton Music Hall on June 17th. Find out more information here.