Mhos & Ohms

Madison Drum & Bass Duo interview with Tony Leskinen & Jeramaya Wunderlin
by Mike Huberty
March 2020

Mhos & Ohms

Mhos & Ohms

Forming from the foundation of punk/metal outfit SIR! NO SIR!, hard rock duo, MHOS AND OHMS are a drum and bass aural assault. Drummer and vocalist Tony Leskinen lays down the foundations for Jeramaya Wunderline’s fat and gnarly six-string bass riffage. Their new EP is called Tale of Despair and the vocals are reminiscent of HELMET with an aggressive low-end attack so melodic that you don’t miss the traditional electric guitar. They’ll be rocking Bos Meadery on March 21st with Order of the Jackal and All Meridians. We talked with Tony and Jeramaya about the new release and the upcoming show.

MI: Two piece rock band with just bass and drums, what inspired the non-traditional arrangement?
Jeramaya Wunderlin: There are so many duos today it’s almost fashionable. It was a necessity to me, however, in the early 90s when finding likeminded musicians wasn’t easy. Cut to a few years ago, I felt I had to open my writing style farther with a six string bass. MHOS & OHMS was the root of experiment. Once I wrapped my brain around what in the hell I purchased and started writing, we had difficulty coming to conclusions about additions. Names and instruments got tossed around, but I think we realized we had what we wanted. Then the real work began.

Tony Leskinen: Two piece bands have really come into their own with acts like The White Stripes and the Black Keys, but seeing other local duos like Twitchard, Dosmales, and the Central made our decision a no brainer. We knew we both have to do more work, and practice those work loads, but we would also make fewer musical compromises, and have more control of writing, lyrics and overall sound.

MI: What would you recommend as the song to listen to for people who are listening to you for the first time?
TL: The song “Tale of Despair” is a great first listen. It showcases our individual playing, song writing and whats possible with just 2 musicians. It’s a sophomore type song where we’re becoming more comfortable writing songs together, but still have unique parts and ideas that don’t feel forced. It was lyrically inspired by The Old Man And The Sea. It’s also about people never realizing that sometimes we all have exactly what we need, and looking for more or greener grass is destructive to our chances at true happiness.

MI: Is there any theme that runs through the new EP?
JW: I can’t speak about the lyrics, but the music was written kind of about the feeling you get walking at night and feeling the creep etching in towards you.

MI: What can people expect from your live show?
TL: Live, people should expect to hear live what they’ve heard on our recordings. We haven’t recorded anything we cant play live. The difficult nature of what we’re doing musically doesn’t lend itself to a lot of running around and showmanship. If people focus on watching the work it takes to execute the music they’ll be entertained.

JW: We want to transfer energy and ideas to people who are hopefully receptive. In that process a lot can go wrong because we’re not shielded by a wall of guitars or a svelte ukulele player. I think, though, that with economy of sound you can concentrate on what we’re doing and hopefully realize we’re putting ourselves out there and looking to connect, feel alive, and think with them. It might be imperfect, but there’s no artifice and we try to give something that’s not found on every street corner. 

MI: What’s your bass gear? Sounds great on the recording, so what set up do you use?
JW: I appreciate that! For this recording, I used a 2013 Ibanez Prestige sixer, a glorious piece of hardware, run into a pedalboard with mostly overdrives and delay on the recording. Probably my favorite piece is the Caroline Kilobyte delay pedal. Both in studio and live I’m using a dual amp setup—mostly a bass guitar amp (Marshall 3530) split to two cabs, but there’s a small guitar amp for color.

MI: Anything else?
TL: MHOS AND OHMS are a completely unique low end drum and bass duo that will stretch your conception of whats possible with just two Instruments and good writing. It’s typically called a musicians band, but the everyday music lover can watch 2 guys try and stay sane while trying to make it through a brutal set list.

JW: I know a ton of clubs and bands are asking for one’s time on a given night. So, I appreciate when someone comes out and takes the time to talk with one of us at shows. A few words honestly make it worth the hundreds of hours any band spends putting in the work.

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