Don't let the name fool you. Matt Kollar and the Angry Mob are far from angry. Hailing from Huntington Beach, Kollar leads the mob with a guitar as opposed to pitchfork and songs that are steeped in fun rather than terror. Their debut album, Farewell Adventure! has attracted both local and international critical acclaim. Moreover, with 37 online videos including the promotional “Where's Elizabeth?” posted on YouTube, this particular mob is comprised of not only musical talent but comedic and theatrical performances, including Messick's own father. I recently sat down with band Kollar and band mate Elizabeth Messick [vocals] to discuss the story behind their name, Saturday's performance at the Haiti benefit show in Santa Ana, and a new EP She Changes Faces, among other things.
OC Weekly [Kathrin Tan]: Why the angry mob?
Elizabeth Messick: It's a very ironic name because we're very nice.
Matt Kollar: Originally it started with just me doing all the instruments and whatnot on the first record, and I would have friends come in who would sing and play accordions or drums or whatnot. I needed something that had my name and having something that could change. The “angry mob” was supposed to be a collection of different people coming in and out. But it evolved over the last couple years to our set group, so we're not always angry and not always changing.
How long have you been writing music?
Kollar: As a band, we have been together for about two years. Elizabeth's been playing music since she was really young and I've been writing songs with a friend of ours, Ryan Macleod, when we used to live in Paris. He played accordion and I'd play piano in our orphanage. They wouldn't be complete songs, but they would be little songs.
Do you feel growing up in Orange County has had any effect on your music?
Kollar: It's hard to relate to a lot of things in Orange County. The music is great but if you are into different things, you are kinda rejected maybe from everyone else. I guess that inspires us to be weird.
She Changes Face Trailer
Matt Kollar And The Angry Mob | MySpace Music Videos
Do you think it helps being in Orange County, since if you were based in somewhere like LA, it would be harder to differentiate yourself from the crowd?
Kollar: Yeah, I think that that is a possibility. There is so much competition in Orange County and LA and it's very hard in both places. We played in Canada over the summer and it was amazing. There were so many people and they all loved it. It is very hard to differentiate yourself in Orange County or Los Angeles but it's helped. We are weird, and we just like to have fun. We are probably the weirdest band in Orange County.
What can fans expect from this new EP compared to the debut album?
Kollar: There is a lot different. It's basically an experiment of all the sounds that we have to offer. We have enough material that we could've made a full album, but it's just a sample of things to come. It's a lot louder, but it's broken up into the soft and pretty piano numbers and the acoustic numbers and the loud, thrashy blues stuff. It's just a mix of what else we can do.
How are the songs written?
Kollar: I usually write the songs. Recently, we've been working on songs together for future albums. The first one [a[album]s all me, on this one [E[EP]e are more of a band.
Messick: I used to like System of a Down, but one day I heard a song by Regina Spektor. I think it was on a bus, and I thought “Who is this? It sounds just like me.” I thought it was my voice and it was the weirdest thing. I also am influenced by Weird Al and Julie Andrews.
Do you consider the theatrical aspect of the band, including the “She Changes Faces” and “Where's Elizabeth?” promotional video, an integral part of the band and music?
Messick: It's just us being weird.
How did the benefit show come about?
Messick: I have this friend from choir who is in this group that is going to Haiti and they are trying to raise money because there are 30 or more going. It's at a place called “Mile 2” in Cypress. She just wanted us to play since she really liked us.
For the finale, describe your music in one word.
Messick: Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. It's such a big word and has so much character in it.