Mystery Loves Company
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Mystery Loves Company

Houston, Texas, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014

Houston, Texas, United States
Established on Jan, 2014
Band Rock Singer/Songwriter




"Single Review: Worlds Collide"

The introduction [to Worlds Collide] features Madeline on her cello and she is throwing down the virtuosity. Paganini has nothing on Madeline... - Musical Chairs Podcast

"17 Houston Acts to Watch Out for This Year [2014]"

This trio employs the unconventional orchestration of guitar, cello and clarinet to create beguiling acoustic pop, not to mention an example that what happens at an open-mike night can sometimes last much longer than a song or two. - Houston Press

"Mystery Loves Company"

This past November/December we took part in a promotion with ReverbNation. First, I have to say that I really didn’t know what to expect; certainly not 3,000 plus submissions! And second, there are some amazingly talented people and although for this promotion we only choose one group we had a stack of runner-ups that would fill a page! So how did we finally decide on Mystery Loves Company? Well, quite honestly it was their uniqueness. I mean really… How often do you go to a club and see a rock/alt/blues band comprised of a guitar, cello, and clarinet?

STEAM From what I understand Mystery Loves Company is your brainchild Carlos, so let’s get some background from each of you – starting with you.

CARLOS My family moved to Houston from Venezuela when I was 12. I got my first guitar when I was 18, so I am a late bloomer in that sense, and I started playing mostly as another outlet for writing. I was very interested in writing stories, articles, and poems. Picking up a guitar was just another outlet for writing poetry and after time it became the only outlet so as I was writing the song I would find that I needed another cord or part and have would teach myself; guitar was just about me learning and providing me an outlet. About 10 years later, I realized that I had taught myself how to play guitar and I was pretty good but I was alone. I decided to go to open mics for the experience and to get over the fear of singing in public and I found that I liked it the more I played. I also found that I had a great number of songs I’d composed, just not written down. After a while I began feeling the need to collaborate and I was thinking very specifically that I needed a cello for some songs I was working on and that’s when I ran into Madeline at an open mic. You never see a cello at an open mic so I gave her a card.

ALAUNA I started music at the age of six and in second grade I picked up the clarinet. I actually didn’t want to play clarinet, I wanted to play drums. For music class I had to pick a second instrument and I said drums, drums, drums and my parents were not thrilled with idea. However, while I was walking through the music store I saw this case that was locked and I said,”Look! It’s a musket!” and my mom said, “No honey, that’s a clarinet.” So that’s how I chose the clarinet – I thought it was a gun.
I started my first band when I was 13 and my first band job was at my bar mitzvah. It was a guitar player, me and a drum machine playing “emo” music to all of my family and friends. I went the whole clarinet classical route throughout school until I became bored with it, so I got into the a group called Nameless Sound, which is an organization helping people get into improv which is based on jazz, but is formless and I really enjoyed that. But after a while I got to where I wanted to get back into that metered music but not back to classical.

MADELINE I am a classically trained cellist as well as vocalist; I went to the Lawrence Conservatory in Appleton, Wisconsin. I am from Illinois and I went to school in Wisconsin. When I was preparing for graduation my orchestra director suggested that Houston might be a great place for me as both a musician and as a musical educator and I took her advice. I’ve been here for four years and I teach kindergarten through fourth grade orchestra. I played in symphonies, orchestras, quartets, ensembles, so I’ve had a great deal of performance experience; however, not as a small group in a club.

STEAM Alauna, do you play drums?

ALAUNA No, not really. I do play guitar, ukulele, some piano, and I’m learning saxophone.

STEAM Okay Carlos, going back to where you said you were looking for a cello. I’ve been around music for a long time and I can tell you that I don’t recall ever hearing of anyone who was looking specifically for a cello. That’s a very specific instrument and sound and, besides, a cello at an open mic is pretty rare to find.

CARLOS My thought was that the cello provided the exact sound I needed for the songs I was working on, none of which made it on this album, and with of my experience of just a few months of performing, I never saw a cello. I was beginning to consider violin as the instrument to collaborate with when in walked Madeline and I told myself that I had to give it a shot and we were fortunate that it worked out. But what will really surprise you is that as Madeline and I collaborated and developed our duet it became increasingly aware that we needed to be a group and we were both pretty convinced that it needed to be a clarinet.

STEAM Umm surprise would be a good term. I have to say again that I have heard
a lot of people say they were looking for certain instruments, but not many, especially a duet, say we need more clarinet.

CARLOS The way we came to this conclusion is that I am an architect and I would communicate with Madeline in these very architectural terms, and she would have to decode what I was trying to say. So I bought a music theory DVD and began learning the proper musical terms and about music. What we decided was that we were looking for a sound that could be the lead instrument to play rock as well as stay soft for the classical sounds we have. Clarinet just seemed right but we both thought finding a clarinet player wanting to be in a band-group and perform live would be very difficult. I said that after going through the experience of thinking cello-finding cello, we should just give it a little time. A few months later I saw Alauna warming up before a show. I told him what we were looking for and gave him a card.

STEAM So what made you want to go to an open mic?

MADELINE Actually, it was a friend of mine who was visiting from out of town. It was completely her idea; she decided we would learn three songs off the radio, go to an open mic, and see how it goes. She thought it would be a fun thing to do and that people would get a kick out of two girls singing with a cello. She really had to do some prodding and convincing that it would really be fun. I had had the idea that I wanted to play other genres than just classical, but I didn’t know what I was really looking for and I really didn’t know what to expect by going to an open mic.

STEAM I know you are a trio but do you bring in other instruments for shows?

CARLOS We do and it really depends upon the stage that we are playing. For example playing on a rock stage we may bring in a percussionist or an extra bass sound, which could be another cello. We also take set lists very seriously. We don’t just do five of our popular songs and throw in a bunch of other stuff, we actually build the sets toward the venue.

STEAM One of my favorite things is studio time. I just love that creative feeling that immediately resonates when I walk through the door. Tell me about your album, “A Mystery Yet Unknown” and how did you like recording?

CARLOS We recorded at Beebe Gunn Studio in Houston, it’s owned by Paul Beebe, who is an incredible musician and recording engineer. We went it with not a lot of money and two goals. First, we wanted the album to sound like a live performance; not over-processed, but that we were there performing for you. And second, we wanted it to be an experience not just a collection of songs. I’m sure I can say this for all of us... We feel that this album has its own personality and we are very happy with how it turned out!

ALAUNA This was a first for me as I have been a studio musician and
recorded, but never had had the experience of recording an album from the beginning and building up . The recording process for me was very interesting as I never recorded with the clarinet. In fact we were all very inexperienced on recording the clarinet. So what we did was put a U-87 under the bell. I started playing and it sounded really good! Then Paul realized that two other mics had been left on in the room so he turned them off and… it sounded really bad, so Carlos said, “Turn them back on!” We ended up using three microphones on the clarinet for the whole album. I think the album is a match to how the band got together; very organic.

STEAM Tell me about your summer to her plans.

CARLOS Actually in March were going out for about a week or so to get our feet wet and then this summer were doing a much larger tour.

STEAM One last question, how did you come up with the name?

MADELINE Carlos and I were the only members of the group at the time and we were just throwing names around constantly but we just couldn’t agree on one. We would call or text a suggestion, but none really fit. Then one day during the school day I’d come up with Mystery Loves Company. As I was texting him my explanation (a play on another phrase) I was preparing to hear him to say no, so I sent the name and he replied that’s perfect and the search was over. - STEAM Magazine


Still working on that hot first release.



THE LONG VERSION: AKA The Hystory of the Mystery, by Carlos A. Machado

Im a self-taught guitar player and songwriter. While Ive always considered myself a writer, I never thought of myself as a singer or musician. I started hitting the Houston open mic scene in early 2012 after a rough 2011 left me with a desire to try new things and grow in new directions. I had been writing songs as a hobby for more than 10 years with absolutely no intent to pursue a career in music, but after starting to perform them I felt the need to keep doing it

I met Madeline at an open mic at the Mucky Duck in October of 2012. She played and sang a couple of covers with a friend on her cello. Id been looking for a cellist to collaborate with on a couple of songs, so I immediately went up to her and gave her a business card. Coincidentally, she was hoping to collaborate with someone and do something new with her 20+ years of experience and musical education. I sent her a couple of songs (crudely recorded on my phone) and we met the next weekend for a jam session. She showed me a couple of ideas which were not at all what I had in mind, but the result was so unique I knew right away we had something worth pursuing.

By the spring of 2013 we had been performing around town and were looking for a third piece/songwriter. We needed something with enough edge (like a sax or electric guitar) to take the lead when needed, but enough sensibility to blend with the cello on the more classical aspects of our sound. The clarinet came up as an option in a couple of conversations, but we didnt have much hope of finding a clarinet player willing to step out of the classical world and take a chance on the rock scene. In May 2013 we met Alauna at Avant Garden warming up for a gig. Alauna had a long history of classical, jazz, and improvisational performance, with the latter part of his musical career being devoted almost entirely to avant-garde/unstructured improvisation. We invited him for a jam session, and within a short time we knew we had what we were looking for.

We launched a Kickstarter campaign in July of 2013, and by the end of August, we began working on the record, A Mystery Yet Unknown, with a very modest budget and an aggressive self-imposed deadline. Having released a Demo/EP earlier in the year (the Worlds Collide EP), we were looking for a true representation of who we are as a band, as musicians, and as performers.

A Mystery Yet Unknown represents our thoughts about what a record should bea single meaningful experience from beginning to endas well as a good indication of what to expect from us in a live setting. To this end we recorded straight/unedited tracks with multiple instruments simultaneously whenever possible. Rather than compile our 10 favorite songs into a marketable package, we built this record the way we build our performances, with moments and movements instead of tracks, letting the set itself dictate what belonged and what didnt. In my opinion the result is a record with its own voice and personality, and because of this approach we are happy to say there is much more to come

Having spent every penny raised, and some of our own pennies, A Mystery Yet Unknown was released just over a month ago at Mollys Pub Downtown. It is available at Cactus Music (in Houston), our website (, and online retailers (iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, Amazon, etc).

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