Of Mice and Musicians
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Of Mice and Musicians

Royal Oak, Michigan, United States | INDIE

Royal Oak, Michigan, United States | INDIE
Band Hip Hop Hip Hop




"Of Mice and Musicians "...any day above ground is a good day...""

This Detroit-based sextet galvanizes alternative rap's capabilities to wring in much more than the archetypal hip/hop ingredients: tight, swaggering beats and samples under circuitous scrawls of swiftly spat rhymes; a live drum-kits hollow pounded punch provides more oomph and a bit of a primal intimacy; their are the usual samples, from swirling flutes to tightly drawn trumpet whines but instead of coming off ostentatious or tired like some of the mainstream radio stuff, it leans more towards the nuanced, surreal ambiences of found in the sediments of the underground, from the indie-space-funk functionality of Mos Def (the wavy bass and rock beat of "Rent$"), to the darker, guitar and synth laden scrawls of an Aesop Rock ("Soul Like A Mole/Getaway") or a more vitriolic El-P ("Angel") or the spaghetti-western feeling intro into some noir-ish shadowed alley strut of "Sorry My Mom Called" with it's bouyant lyrics over sparse percussion through verses while it builds, the drums fill in more and the turntable scratches slide along dynamically.

Vocals fluctuate from fast and biting, to slower harmony-focused choruses that show a sensibility for syllable stretching; the beats are tight, the live guitars bring plenty of funk and the bass is soulful. While hip/hop at it's core, it blends enough genres to be accessible to a wide arc, from rock to R&B.

Find 'em on Sonicbids or Facebook - Deep Cutz

"The Upbeat: Of Mice and Musicians"

Special to The Oakland Press

Formed: January 2009 in Royal Oak

Sound: “What we’re going for is energetic, forward-thinking hip-hop,” said Nick Swanson. He said their music is often described as a cross between The Roots and 311.

Members: Ben Sobczak — lead MC (Royal Oak); Tony Bentley — MC and beats (Jackson); Mike Lomerson — percussion, lead guitar and keyboard (Royal Oak); Zach Guy — bass (Grand Rapids); Nick Swanson — drums (Royal Oak); and Charles Scavelini aka DJ Scav D — turntables (Clarkston). Billy Perkins of Clarkson replaced Guy after the band finished its first EP.

Day Jobs: Sobczak is a lawyer; Bentley is a troubled youth counselor; Lomerson works at a coffee shop; Guy works at a studio in Grand Rapids; Swanson is a business manager of a medical office; and Scavelini is a waiter.

Influences: Radiohead, Tool, The Fall of Troy, Black Milk, FINALE, Brother Ali, J-Live, Atmosphere

Creation: The band formed when Lay of the Cid (Swanson, Lomerson and Guy) merged with Basement Addicts (Sobczak and Bentley) and DJ Scav D in the summer of 2009. “The MC and DJ thing can get boring sometimes and we wanted to bring something more live to connect better with the crowd. That’s why we merged (together),” Swanson said.

What’s In A Name: “(Of Mice and Musicians) was taken from a verse that Ben had wrote for a previous track on a Basement Addicts song ... We pulled it out of there and thought it was decent, so we rolled with it,” Swanson said.

Beyond The Lyrics: According to Swanson, the songs the group picked for its EP are mostly about everyday occurrences of their day-to-day lives and some are along the lines of being socially constructive.

Down The Road: “We’d like to get some label support, tour a bit and put out a full length record in the next year or year and a half,” Swanson said. “We don’t have many set expectations. It’s a matter of we’re going to do the best with what we have.”

See ’em: Of Mice and Musicians will be holding a CD release party, Friday, July 16, for its debut self-titled EP at The Crofoot, 1 S. Saginaw, in Pontiac. Doors open at 8 p.m. and admission is $8 for ages younger than 21 and $6 for 21 and older.

Hear ’em: The self-titled EP, which contains eight songs, can be purchased at their live shows, on iTunes or online at Amazon.com and CDbaby.com.

- The Oakland Press


EP "Self Titled" - 2010
LP "Bottles and Bone" - 2012



Of Mice and Musicians began as the offspring of Lay of the Cid (post-prog rock trio) & Basement Addicts (hip-hop duo), merging the spirit of hip hop with the captivating nature of live instrumentation. What started as free form jam sessions in a basement laced with absinthe, Capone’s (and more djs than the Grateful Dead had organists); the band soon found itself opening shows for some of Detroit’s finest MCs.

The band’s first project was an eight song EP, released in 2010, which the group self recorded in their basement studio. While the concepts and foundation were there, the production lacked clarity. Still . . . jobs, girlfriends and other musical endeavors fell to the wayside as the weekends, beer bottles, and props piled up. The more serious things got, the more Of Mice and Musicians realized they have a live show people woke up thinking about the next day.

In 2011, the band signed with Indie label “Dark City.” In April of 2012 they released "Bottles and Bones," a full length LP that gained wide acceptance as a "musician's" album. Most blogs and other critics to review the album remark that it is unclassifiable as far as genre. Of Mice and Musicians is hip hop, but it is much more than that as well. The band is representative of a generation who grew up with multiple musical influences induced by the rise of the information age. Currently working on their second full-length and getting ramped up for summer gigs, Of Mice and Musicians is executing the best laid plans.