Mob Rich: 'Why No Why', evolving as a duo, & open-mindedness while creating music

Ezzah Rafique | June 2, 2021


Maxwell Joseph and Connor Pledger masterfully blend bold, pop melodies with synth and optimistic hooks as Mob Rich. The alt-pop duo's new album 'Why No Why' includes a sonic spectrum of beats that calls out to free-spirited souls, the perfect album to listen to with the windows down in summer. Maxwell and Connor sit down with Ezzah Rafique from HAZZE MEDIA to talk about the creation of 'Why No Why', evolving as a duo, and open-mindedness in creating music.


MOB RICH: Maxwell Joseph (left) and Connor Pledger (right) | Photo by: Jack Dytrych

E: How has the release [of ‘Why No Why’] been for you guys?

M: It's been good, I think I think any artist that released an album in the past year has felt the effects obviously of the pandemic and not being able to, like, immediately tour your album and kind of just, you know, obviously the effects of what's going on in the world. And so for us, it's exciting that we're releasing our album as it seems to be loosening up as this pandemic seems to be really kind of getting out of control. And we have like dates on the horizon. And we know, like, we’ll be able to play these songs live. But I think for us, we just really wanted to take time and celebrate the fact that we released an album like I texted Connor because we're terrible about planning stuff, and I texted him like I want to say, like three days before the album come out, I was like, dude, we have to, like, do something for the album, like celebrate with our friends. Like, just get some people together because otherwise, like, we're going to regret it, you know, like next year when everything's regular, we're going to be like, ‘man, I wish we took some time and just celebrated the fact that we released an album and it's out in the world. So but all in all, at least for me, it's been really nice. And I'm so glad that people have the songs in their lives now and be able to listen to them.

C: Agreed

M: I second that

C: We went out and celebrated at a bar, and so if there's one thing I've noticed during that pandemic that using Uber and Lyft is awful right now, I don't know why. But like I was telling Maxwell I didn't go home until like 2 AM because, like, a) I stayed there until the bar closed. But that's beside the point. But I got go to get a Uber and they took like almost an hour two to show up, which is crazy. I'm like, what's going on? I was like, I guess it's just like either I guess people aren't going to drive or I don't blame them like I'm vaccinated so like I'm not like super stressed about it or as much as I was getting in an Uber. But like if I was a driver and especially if I wasn't vaccinated, I definitely would not want to be like driving around strangers during all this.

M: I think that context, too, is that like in L.A. before the pandemic, because we're just such a dense city like it never took more than two minutes to get an Uber. Like there is always someone right around the corner to pick you up. And now it's like it's switched.

E: Has Covid affected your process in the album or like in any way, shape or form the album itself? And Uber fits that.

C: [laughs] Getting to and from the studio.

M: Yeah, for sure. I mean just from the simple fact that, you know, like not being able to tour a record is not necessarily the most normal thing. Like usually when you release a record, you have dates lined up right away and you're like going to promote the record and you're hitting radio stations and all sorts of stuff. So not being able to do that is definitely been different. So much of like creating the actual record. I think the only thing that was maybe impacted was like our awareness that like, you know, you have to be careful and like, you know, not see too many people because we're going to see each other in the studio and like and just kind of keep our, I guess, our covid bubble small. But I mean that I mean, Connor you can talk about too but the creation of the record, I guess, in a lot of ways was the same as it's been for us creating all of our songs. We get demos together and then we take them to our boy, Nicky Adamson, who produced the record, and he helps us finish them and clean everything up. So but it definitely saved our mental [health] a little bit, I would say, because we finished the record during if you want to say like June and July during some pretty hectic, stressful times, so like being able to like go to the studio and like spend our days and like create music or finish music was definitely helpful because otherwise, we'd just been sitting in our apartments going stir crazy. Yeah. But I don't know if other than that, I can't tell if there are other major impacts. I mean, maybe in the sense of like maybe we would have done more things around the release, like in person, I don't know. Maybe we also have never released a record as a band. So we have nothing to contextualize it against.

C: And in all honesty, I don't think we're planning on like maybe we would have put a record out at this time, maybe. But like we weren't really planning for it to be now. We were planning to kind of continue the trajectory we had, which was like releasing singles, like doing opening, touring and stuff, and then eventually released record when like we felt we had hit critical mass as far as like what songs we had released. And there was like a moment where, like, alright we gotta put a record together and in the back of my head 'I'm like, we don't have enough songs'. And then we start looking at our songs were like, alright, 'we have too many songs' and we're just like we've so many songs. Like when you're an artist and you're inside your mind essentially, you know, like when you're staying in there, you forget kind of like all the art you created. And it was kind of a wonderful experience, like going back and listening to all these records that you've written since the beginning of the band. And like Maxwell & I talk about this all the time, we'll go back like, dude, I just listened to like I just listened to 'Two sides' the other day. Like, this is pretty much what happened. 'I just listened to two sides of it, such a good song'. I was like, 'is it let me go listen. Oh, wow. That's way good. OK, cool, put it on the record'. Like, that's pretty much what happened. And it was nice and kind of a reassuring moment in our careers, at least for me, I just felt like, yeah, this is what we're supposed to do. This feels right, feels good. And kind of seeing all the art next to each other in one package really helped me see us as a band, as like a body of work all sitting together. I'm like, 'oh, that's their sound'. When you listen to it altogether, it's like, oh, I get it. I see the image now and like whereas before it's like you're putting out singles, you're testing the water, you're trying to figure out what works and you're never quite playing the songs exactly back to back, especially not in the order that is curated in a way that's supposed to, like, feel good the whole time we're listening to it. So. That all being said, it's just really cool getting to put everything together, like make a record.

E: Do you guys have a favorite song off of it, for me, I loved 'Funeral', but for you guys, I think your whole album was like this cool, like a groovy tune, like it has a sound to it. Do you guys have a favorite song off the album?

M: It changes, yeah. But as of recently, I would probably say that at least mine has been kind of, going back and forth between 'Buggin' and 'Dandy Liars' and 'Two Sides' like those three, I think it kind of sways back and forth between those. And they're all different, like 'Dandy Liars'is this just like a slow build that never gets the release, which is why it's a great first record song. It just like getting you primed for what's next. And then 'Buggin' is just like full force anthem all the way. And then 'Two sides' is like a soft slap. But I really like emotional songs and I think like 'Two Sides' is probably at least from like a songwriter's perspective, like one of the best like concepts, and just well put together and all the lyrics for me...all have different meanings to myself personally.

C: I really like... after listening to the record over and over and out, like I think my favorite is probably 'Lips & Mouth', and I think I figured out why. I was listening to it the other day, I was like on the run listening, and I realized that the song reminds me of something there's a nostalgia to it, like there's a synth in it that reminds me of Mannheim Steamroller, very obscure reference. But they have like this Christmas album and it's like [mimics song]...they have this, like, synth sound on this Christmas album. And when you edit this, throw in a Mannheim Steamroller but there's something about it. There's a synth then I was like, 'Oh My God, that is Mannheim'. Like that is like the synth sound that reminds me of Christmas time. So there's like nostalgia in it for me now. And I, I think music, in general, is like I'm very like that's the shit that like drives me is the stuff that brings me into a place like or a point in time, like, like time traveling in a way.


M: I don’t know who Mannheim Steamroller is but yea… Is it like an indie sound? I’ll listen to it.



E: Do you [guys] use music from like other artists [or] that like maybe artists, you even grew up listening to that like you can reflect it in your music, do you see that?

C: One hundred percent. One hundred percent. Yeah, definitely. Depending on the song, I think there's a point of reference in every song whether like whether we knew that we were doing it or not. There's something in there.

M: There's a lot of like I think unintentional like more subconscious references that you end up [with]. I like to think that because me and Connor write most of the songs together it kind of has like this quirky lyrical feel to it a lot of times. And it's very introspective. But like, we really like to try to say things that have been said before, but in our own way. And so I like to think I don't necessarily hear are the lyricism and think of other people. But from a sonic standpoint, from a production standpoint, I definitely hear a lot of references. I mean, we love a lot of 90s bands like Third Eye Blind and Nirvana and a lot of like the chord progressions that we choose, I think. But yeah, I think one thing that I'm proud of us about is that I think that there's a lot of diversity in our songs, at least from the standpoint of like I think we like to try things and a lot of the songs are different than others. Like 'Buggin' for example, like the pre for 'Buggin' is like straight Third Eye Blind. It's especially from a newer version of it. But then like 'Lips & Mouth', for example, like the chord progression, is very unknown mortal orchestra, like it's very interesting and not like a regular chord progression that you would necessarily find in like an alt band.

E: Do you guys have, like, a specific memory from the production of the album or release or something that, like you vividly remember from making the album?

M: I personally remember a lot of the moments of writing the songs. So much of making a record- not to make it sound boring because it isn't and it's very rewarding- but like when you kind of work the way that we do, which is like you write a song, you make a demo yourself, and then you kind of like give those stems to the producer and go like, alright, let's clean this up. Right? So much of the time in the actual studio finishing is me and Connor sitting in the back of the studio on our phones while Nicky, our producer, is doing a bunch of minutia work. And so like so there are hours of the studio where we're just like chilling until he's like ready to, like, actually make some key decisions. And then we're like, 'OK, let's jump into it'