Mori Einsidler won A&O Productions’ online contest to open for Cary Brothers at Thursday’s homecoming concert. North by Northwestern sat down with the Communication sophomore from Rye Brook, New York, on the TriDelt porch to talk Michelle Branch and plural last names.
How did you get your start? When did you start playing?
I got my start when I was 10. I decided I wanted to start playing guitar because I was hooked on Michelle Branch and I was like “I want to play guitar.” So I got a black one that was far too large for me because I just rushed into buying it, because she had a black one, so of course I had to have a black guitar. When I was ten, I started playing guitar, [but] I never sang, ever, and then when I was 14 I tried writing songs and by the time I was 15 I’d actually gotten the hang of it and I was kind of like “well, if I’m playing guitar and I’m writing songs, then maybe I should learn how to sing so I can sing the songs. So then I started taking voice lessons when I was like 16 and then when I was like 16 or 17, I started playing gigs and, you know, got some gigs in the city when I was like 17 or 18 I’d say.
Where have you played around Evanston?
I’ve played around campus. I’ve played a couple times at SPACE. Bill’s Blues closed, sadly, last year. I was calling them, and I thought “I’m gonna totally play there” and they were like “yeah, we don’t operate anymore.” Awkward.
You describe your music as “rock with an indie-pop twist.” Elaborate.
I kind of go in two different directions. I listen to a lot of diverse stuff, so I write really diverse stuff. So there’s acoustic, singer songwriter stuff and [then] some of it’s punk rock. My influences are mainly indie rock, like alternative pop stuff. I write mostly rock songs that are catchy, which gives them that pop. And they’re not pop in the sense like [singing] “baby, you’re breaking my heart.” I’m like “hey! hey!” They’re a little weirder; that’s why they’re indie, versus, I don’t know, fucking Lady Gaga.
Any specific influences?
[Stands up, revealing her “Tegan and Sara are my Homegirls” sweatshirt.] I love Tegan and Sara. They’re my fave. I love KT Tunstall. I love Dashboard. I love Death Cab. Regina. Rilo Kiley. Against Me! Brand New. Bright Eyes. So yeah, I’m all over the map.
And you saw Cary Brothers in concert in NY years ago, right?
It was like four years ago or something. I went and saw Brandi Carlile play at the Bowery Ballroom, and I was like chilling in the front row, and this dude comes up, and I was like “Cary Brothers is opening up. I wonder what they’re like.” And he comes out, because his name is Cary Brothers, which must be like the most annoying thing ever in the world. “No, I’m one dude. My last name is Brothers.” And he was for sure good. And he was acoustic and mellow and melodic. So that was a lot of fun. You know, you don’t sit there watching him, and go “you know, I’m gonna open for him one day. So in hindsight, it’s cool.
Are you a fan of Brothers?
To be honest with you, I really only know that one song. But he’s good. He has a nice voice. He’s a good songwriter. So, I’m excited. I was going to go regardless. But now I have to go!
MORI opens for Cary Brothers Thursday, Oct. 21 at 8 p.m. in Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. Tickets are free for students and $20 for alumni.