Austin, Texas’ alternative duo Missio is gearing up to release their new album, Can You Feel the Sun, on October 23rd via 2B Recordings/BMG, and it’s a record that everyone should check out at least once.
Recorded at Austin’s Matchbox Studios, the 10-song album was produced by the band alongside longtime collaborator and studio owner Dwight A. Baker (Brandi Carlile, Bea Miller, Bob Schneider), and features guest appearances from hip-hop icons Paul Wall and Esoteric of Czarface.
What makes Can You Feel The Sun such a must-listen record isn’t just the music, though if we are going off sound alone, it’s a really fun and unique alternative/pop-type album. But the real beauty in the album lies in the lyrical content, as Missio tackles subjects like mental health, addiction recovery, and simply just the state of the world right now.
The band isn’t afraid to sing about these topics, and they do it masterfully — crafting a record that is as fun as it is comforting. Substream recently got the chance to speak to Missio about the record and the authenticity behind their work, below you will find our interview and head here to pre-save Can You Feel The Sun.
Substream: How has the pandemic been treating you? Not just from a mental standpoint, but creatively as well?
Matt: It’s definitely weird. When all of this started we were on tour and when we got home, we went from working 24/7 to just doing nothing. I was just kind of tired and anxious, and not inspired to listen to a whole lot of music. I mostly just listened to podcasts. I got into doing more photography and videography because I wasn’t so good at that stuff before. We didn’t feel as much pressure to write because we’d just put the new record out, so we took time for ourselves. I would describe it as “anxious resting.”
Substream: Tell me about what writing an album in 21 days was like.
David: It was something we realized in post. We booked a month, and we took off some days for the weekend here and there, but we were writing ahead of when we would have absolutely had to start writing. We were just flowing in on the same level while we were writing, and after we wrote the last song, “Don’t Forget to Open Your Eyes,” we realized it was a record. We weren’t even sure if we were going to stop, but at that point, we realized we had a whole record, so we stopped.
Substream: Was the process of writing Can You Feel the Sun more enjoyable or easier for you because you didn’t feel so much pressure to write?
Matt: Yes. It was more enjoyable to write, because, you know, record #1 is what you kind of spend your whole life working on and working toward, and then all of a sudden you think, “I can’t believe this is happening and I can’t believe we’re touring.” And then record #2 is making sure you can follow up the momentum of the first record. We’ve learned so much from being in the music industry, and we got kind of tired of playing the game, so when we got to record #3 we felt like we could finally say what we wanted to say and make the kind of music that we would want to listen to over and over ourselves.
Substream: There’s a line in “Hoodie Up” that goes: “Doesn’t always feel like I deserve the good life.” Do you still feel like you have a little bit of Imposter Syndrome even after all the success you’ve had the past couple of years?
Matt: I definitely feel like that. It’s weird to tour in different countries and have people there look at you like you’re a celebrity and then come back home and do normal people stuff like hanging out with the chickens.
David: Along with that comes this sense of gratitude because it’s like, I can’t believe my job is music and this is what we get to do every day. It’s hard to have a belief in authenticity because the music industry is one that’s all about self-promotion. It’s hard to feel like our lack of self-promotion doesn’t hurt us. You have to sort of understand what your motivation is and what your priorities are.
Substream: “Can You Feel the Sun” is probably my favorite track on the album. Is there any particular reason you named the album for this song?
David: When you’re looking for an album title, you want to try and find a phrase that sums up the record in a thought. The first album was Loner, which was about addiction, mental health, stuff like that. The second album, The Darker the Weather // The Better the Man, is about change. The ongoing theme throughout this album is that nature’s role, especially as displayed by “Can You Feel the Sun,” is everywhere. We’re turning to nature to feel real in this crazy time. You get on social media and forget how to be a real person.
Matt: It’s about living in the world and escaping to nature. It’s medicine in a way, a lot of times I’ll go on a hike or something and it’s hard to get myself to leave my phone in the car so that I can be alone with my thoughts. It’s about having the time and mental space to walk through nature and experience the healing that comes with that. I think of sitting under a willow tree and getting all my thoughts out. You have to have the ability to be okay with critical thinking and being alone with your thoughts. You have to be okay with being uncomfortable.
Substream: Is there anything you want fans to know about the album before it comes out?
Matt: If people are listening to it for the first time, I would ask that they listen to it straight through from front to back, because I feel like that’s when it’s the most impactful.
David: I have to double down on that. I want people to take the time to listen and appreciate the art. Not just for this album, but for any album you’re listening to. You have to approach music not with a judgmental spirit, but with an open mind. Listening to the lyrics is important, too. Every lyric on this album was very thought-about.
Substream: My last question for you was “What does the future of touring look like for you?” But I’m not even sure how anyone could possibly predict that.
Matt: Tomorrow we’re going to be announcing that we’ll be doing a live stream on October 24th, the day after the album comes out. We’re going to be performing the record for the first time. We haven’t performed these songs yet, so it’s all about getting the muscle memory down. Other than that, we can’t plan for much. It’s hard to say with everything going on how touring is going to work.
David: The industry itself is changing a lot, and I think we represent things that newer artists stand for instead of counting on record labels and these other huge entities. It’s all about being creative and figuring out how to make things work in uncertain times.