Kansas rockers, Mime Game, are a band to watch in the rock industry. Lacing up a combination of raw lyrical power and a sense of maturity that runs deep for a band that is technically new to the scene, Mime Game’s burst of infectious energy over their new track, “Burn”, is potent. I caught up with all of the guys to discuss their collaboration with Chris Conley from Saves The Day, growing up in Kansas, tattoos, and more.
First and foremost, introduce yourself to our readers. Who is Mime Game?
Dillon: Mime Game is currently myself, Dillon DeVoe, and my band mates and confidantes, Colt Coan, Tj Murphy, and Kevin Mears. This started as a humble side project that was primarily acoustic about ten years ago and has flourished into a real brotherhood between friends. We have the same mission and the same heart for the world, but we’re really just some dudes who are lucky enough to still do what we love.
Tell us about your recent collaboration with Chris from Saves The Day for your new track, “Burn”. How did you forge that relationship?
Dillon: Another collaborator of mine, Joey Brunk, hopped on a perk from a crowdfunding effort they were making years back to fund their record. Apparently, there was no way he could pass that up so he secured the feature before even knowing what it was for. He contacted me and basically said, “Hey Dillon, I’ve got this thing I can now do, let’s write a song and make a place for it. You’re the only one I know who can handle this,” basically, so I sat down with him and wrote “Burn;” a song I felt spanned the space between old Saves The Day I grew up on and the punk side of Mime Game that meshes so well with that. It was a dream come true, in reality, and provided the opportunity to talk to someone I idolized as a kid and write him some lyrics and melodies and get some parts going that just felt right. I’m really proud of how it turned out and that Chris is a nice guy. Working with him was so fun and easy, I was actually able to get him to do a really sick background vocal part for another song that I might put out down the line. Regardless, I won’t act like he’s some super close homie of mine. I’m just a lucky guy who was in the right place, right time, which afforded me the opportunity to work with one of my all time heroes.
Let’s talk tattoos. Do you prefer black and gray pieces or color pieces? Tell us about some of your favorite personal pieces.
Dillon: I love color. So far, anything I have or have planned has been neo-traditional Japanese. I love the color and subjects therewithin. There are so many cool recurring themes; my favorite tattoo is a huge Phoenix across my whole chest and down onto my stomach. Steven Campbell at Exile in Kansas City always takes care of me and he does some insane work in that style. His mandalas are amazing though too so I’m thinking I may break from my plans and get something like that done as well, but when I’m done I’ll probably have most of my body, from my neck down, tattooed.
Kevin: Color for me! I’m currently in the process of doing a Zelda sleeve on my left arm and have started a nautical chest piece which will extend to my neck. My personal favorite is probably my Ganon on my left forearm, James Glenn at infinity 13 studios down in Dallas has been working hard on the sleeve and does amazing work! A piece that is personal to me is my nautical star on the left bicep. A friend of mine had this particular star tattooed and it was always one of his favorites, he passed away a few years ago and I wanted that star to memorialize him.
Tj: Currently the only tattoo I have is on my wrist and it’s Japanese Kanji for laid back/easy going. It is merely just black ink but I plan on eventually wearing my personality on my sleeve.
Colt: I’ve been a major fan of black and gray pieces. My favorite piece is on my forearm, as one of my best friends from Hello Poèt, Jordan Hendricks, designed the piece with me and we both got it the same day. It’s essentially musical notes on torn sheet paper that subliminally spell out “Brothers”. I have a goal for future pieces I want, eventually some sleeve work, but I’ve just been very slow and methodical about it.
Any upcoming tour or festival appearance plans that you can fill us in about?
Dillon: We’re playing the 10th Annual So What Music Festival in Dallas in a few weeks, on Saturday, March 25th. It’s the day after our album “The Upswing” comes out, and so many amazing bands are playing. It’s pretty much a perfect alignment and we’re so glad to be a part of it.
Tell us about your lifestyle growing up in Kansas. What did you guys do for fun and to influence your creativity?
Dillon: Kansas is very boring sometimes, especially before you can drink. There’s an amazing bar and art scene, so many incredible galleries and tattoo artists, etc. The suburbs are a sleepy reprieve from anything interesting and fun, so oftentimes we’d mostly just plug in and play in our basements.
A lot of my friends got into drinking their asses off early on but I’d never say substance really became a problem for too many; just a bunch of alternative kids stuck out in the country looking for shit to blow up or a house show to play. We were on this awkward cusp between affluent suburbs and farmland. A ten-minute drive into the country would give you all the necessary privacy to smoke and explore the wilderness to your heart’s content, but the same drive in the other direction finds you on the approach to downtown Kansas City.
All in all, I’d say music and art saved a lot of us. There is a squeaky clean midwestern vibe that borders on Pleasantville and finds so many terribly complicit. For those of us who saw the cracks and the holes in it all, music and painting and art and photography became a welcome escape and a reminder that we bleed.
What are your thoughts behind the benefit of tattoos as a form of artistic expression within society?
Dillon: We love tattoos. I don’t think there’s enough good I can say about them to really get it across. From people honoring loved ones to showing off their goofy side with hilarious and creative pieces that forgo sentiment for shock or hilarity, tattoos do so much to express a person’s individuality and personality. They say, if you want to know what’s important to someone, watch what they take pictures of. Well, we feel the same could be said about tattoos. It’s a full-on commitment to an expression; a piece of art that resonates so much you allowed it to manifest on your body through the hand and help of another. It’s a really cool concept and people have been using tattoos to signify so many things about themselves throughout history. In researching Japanese tattooing and coming across the irezumi of the yakuza, for example, these guys were identifiable by these full body suits of these amazing tattoos and I really loved that. Tattoos can also be really good at saying, “don’t fuck with us,” so you don’t have to say it yourself. Something that spans the spectrum from incredibly sentimental and touching and important, like when someone honors a family member they’ve lost with an incredible portrait, or the way they make you stand out and can oft times even be intimidating, tattoos are truly powerful artwork.
What do fans of Mime Game have to look forward to over the remainder of 2017?
Dillon: Mime Game is about to be playing more outside of KC. We’ve been holed up, writing our record and recording. It’s been an amazing time; I’ve gotten to reconnect with my family. Spent a lot of time with my kids and just being a dad between studio sessions and local shows, but the road has been calling. We’ll drop the record March 24th and we’ve actually already started on LP #2 so we’ll be steady tracking songs for that as well. We’re currently shopping stuff around but in no real hurry to sign a contract. It’s gotta be better than we can do for ourselves and we’re all very independent people. That being said, growing our team, this mime gang, is a big part of our mission going into 2017. We have some really great people working hard behind the scenes and we’ve spent a lot of time and energy in planning and writing so I think the way we have it laid out right now is going to make for some interesting happenings in the coming years.
If you could tour the world with any two musicians/bands either dead or alive, who would you choose and why?
Dillon: This is an impossible question. I can’t answer it without someone thinking I’m a total plebe or a loser, but who gives a shit? I grew up listening to a lot of So-Cal, pop/punk like Blink and one of my current favorite bands is the 1975 so I’d have to let one of those bands take a spot then I’d have to say Nirvana, which I know is trite but the untimely death of someone who made such a massive impact on his world in such a short time is something that’s not easy to sit with. Whether you like their music or not, sitting down to talk with Kurt would be insanity. I’m sure he’s someone who had a ton of good insight and thoughts worth sharing and we all would’ve been lucky to have him around and being a part of the conversation on music and the world that’s ever burgeoning right now.
Kevin: The guys know New Found Glory is definitely one of mine. The band has been an inspiration to me since middle school and helped fuel my love for music, Ian Grushka is the guy who inspired me to pick up bass in the first place. I’d have to say 30 Seconds to Mars would be the second, as Jared Leto is an absolute animal. His live performance is mesmerizing and their songs always create this level immersion where you are only in that song in that moment.
Tj: It would be phenomenal to tour with The Wonder Years or Modest Mouse. I have had the opportunity to see both groups perform live and love the sound and presence they bring to the stage. Both groups have amazing music that you can really groove to.
Colt: As Dillon said, this is an impossible question. I’d have to pick The 1975 as well, as I’m constantly listening to their discography on repeat. Another artist that I think would be a lot of fun to tour with would be Goo Goo Dolls. They’re a band that has climbed the mountain and has been around for decades now. Their fanbase would be able to transition into what we’re doing I think, and it would be an unforgettable experience.
Last but certainly not least, any closing messages for your fans?!
We are just so grateful to have any. Honestly, none of this happens without the support of people who love your work. Whether it be writing, painting, music, or tattoos, let your heart be your art. Do what you love and never be afraid to speak up. Make friends and spread love wherever you can, but don’t take bullshit; don’t allow your kindness to become a fault. We’re all struggling through every day with something that eats at us. Soften up with each other and make some friends. Come out to a show and say what’s up. Hopefully, we’ll become homies and we can sit down in a diner at 4 a.m. and talk about life. If not our band, you should be doing that with somebody. The best conversations happen when you let the bullshit fall to the wayside and grab some coffee with like minds and get talking. And, as always, stay inked, my friends.