Last fall, when the entertainment industry was in limbo and even gigs in Montana were still nonexistent, local musicians Halladay Quist, Erica von Kleist and Sarina Hart started jamming together as a fun way to kill time, knowing the pandemic wouldn’t allow them to seriously start a project or play shows in the near future.
But by the spring, they had a set list dialed in, a band name, a glammed look and an empowering energy. They played their debut show at Whitefish’s Great Northern Bar in May adorned with sequins and cat ears.
“We had a really fun night and we just started realizing the potential of what we had and the energy from the crowd was super energetic and excited,” Quist said. “They got what we were trying to do.”
With von Kleist on the bass guitar, Quist on the electric guitar and Hart playing the drums, all while collaborating in a three-part harmony, the trio formed a glam rock band. Exuding powerful female energy with a playful stage presence, they perform original songs with names like “Sexy Ginger” and “Go (expletive) Yourself” along with covers from artists such as John Legend, Johnny Cash and a punk version of Britney Spears’ “Toxic,” where they meow like cats.
On Sept. 24, Mynxx will release its first EP, which they recorded in a single day this past spring with seven songs, including three originals, while playing an EP release show at the Remington in Whitefish that same day.
Von Kleist attributes the band’s quick turnaround to their experience in the music industry. As a classically trained jazz musician, von Kleist has dabbled in a wide range of projects throughout her career and spends much of her time performing in New York City. Quist is a multi-instrumentalist singer-songwriter, playing gigs regularly in the Flathead Valley, and Hart has a background in theater and acting, most recently playing drums for the band, Sapphire Shakedown.
“Half of having a project like this is all of the backend stuff,” von Kleist said. “It’s rehearsing, marketing, calling venues, it’s making (stuff) happen. That’s why we’ve been able to be so successful so quickly. It’s because we know how to light the fire under our butts.”
After playing in the music capitals of the country, Quist recalls some negative experiences and was ready to play with more like-minded musicians.
“I’ve always dreamed about an all-girl band,” Quist said. “There’s a lot of experiences I’ve had going to L.A. and Nashville where I ran up against some old world toxic masculinity. I was just so ready to have an environment that was so much more open, and working with these ladies has been amazing.”
Hart describes their music and stage presence as playful and animated, entertaining the crowd with meows and silly lyrics, including a song called “Hairball,” which was written by fourth-graders whom Quist taught at Deer Park Elementary School.
“It’s infused with a lot of playfulness,” Hart said. “We take the music very seriously, but we pass cat ears out to people at shows and there’s such a rad, playful vibe to it as well that people are embracing.”
In addition to an album and live shows, Mynxx also collaborated with local tattoo and body art shop Knawdy and released a music video for John Legend’s “Who Did That To You?” They also filmed their last show at Glacier Lanes and plan to use the footage for more music videos.
While Quist, von Kleist and Hart are all veteran musicians, Mynxx is a project unlike anything they’ve done before. Von Kleist just picked up the bass guitar for the first time when they started jamming together, Hart hasn’t had the opportunity to work on harmonies in past projects and in Quist’s lifetime of playing music, she says it’s the most fun she’s ever had on stage.
“We’re not a female rock band,” von Kleist said. “We’re a rock band.”
Mynxx will play their EP launch party at the Remington on Sept. 24 at 9:30 p.m. in Whitefish.
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