Mr. Gnome, the genre-bending, totally freaking great duo out of Cleveland are coming back to St. Louis this Saturday. They take the stage at Firebird, along with Sleepy Kitty, Middle Class Fashion, and CaveofswordS. If you didn’t noticed how incredibly stacked this line-up is, please recognize.

Poster design and print by Sleep Kitty Arts.

I spoke with Gnome’s Nicole Barille (her and the band’s other half is Sam Meister) about their hometown, food on the road, and how they define success.

When was the first time you felt successful as Mr. Gnome?

The first time we sold out a room, that made us feel like we were doing something right.  And our first backstage orgy made us feel pretty cool.  But honestly, I think a lot of artists struggle with always wanting to be better and evolve beyond what they’ve already done…it can be a good thing in the sense that it forces you to always push the envelope and strive for something beyond what you’ve already created.  So I’m not sure if we’ve ever felt fully successful yet…i think we still have a lot to do.

What(Who?) does Cleveland have that nowhere else has?

Cleveland has The Softball/Polka Hall of Fame (that’s right…they’re both in the same building!) The Christmas Story House, a river that catches on fire, but most importantly, some of the most genuine people around.  Definitely some great folks in this town.  Oh!  Plus we have LeBron James and The Black Keys…oh wait…they both left.

From where do you draw inspiration for your music, amazing album designs, etc. aside from other music or musicians?

We are inspired by absolutely everything – life, death, war, love, nature, people, the road, the high times, the low times.  Sam and I have always been huge art dorks as well so we definitely geek out on certain artists: Henry Darger, Alphonse Mucha, Frida Kahlo, Julie Taymor, Frank Frazetta, Gustav Klimt, H.R. Giger….all of these influences seem to seep into what we do.

How are you two able to travel almost constantly and put on full throttle live shows while still maintaining your hotness?

The road is an intense beast filled w/so many adventures and surprises.  We found early on in our career that constant touring and playing shows night after night made us grow into better musicians, exposed us to so many new ideas and really helped us develop a grassroots, loyal fanbase.  Some days you feel like you’re gonna fall over or can’t understand how your body is running on 3 hours of sleep, 8-10 hour drives…but getting to play music every day is definitely rewarding.  Plus when we get home we have an excuse to do excessive blackout drinking.

Along that vein, what’s your favorite food or drink(s) to try and find in various cities on tour?

Tacos and burritos remain a constant favorite…especially in the Southwest. As far as drinks – we are huge tequila fans. There’s this tequila called Hussong’s that’s our new favorite but we can only find it in the Pacific Northwest.

What are today’s music fans doing right?

It’s so awesome to see the vinyl resurgence over the last few years. We started pressing our music on vinyl about 4 years ago and the vinyl and cd sales used to be about the same.  But recently vinyl has really taken over. There are nights where people only buy vinyl so it’s nice to see folks actually paying for music and wanting that physical product while appreciating the artwork as well.

What are we doing wrong?

Stealing…no really…stealing stuff directly from our merchandise table. Literally walking behind the table, going into our drawers, grabbing whatever they want and running out the door. What is wrong with you??? You know who you are!

What’s the best thing (that’s share-able) that happened to you in 2012?

This past year has been quite amazing and intense.  Quite a whirlwind.  I think we’re just blown away by the enthusiasm and support of our fans across the country. NPR premiering our new video on their site was very flattering. Just feel lucky to be able to continue to do what we do…

Details for Tonight:

Doors at the Firebird tonight – 8:30p
Hosted by – Euclid Records
Cost – $10/+$3 -21
Bonus for the first 50 folks to visit Middle Class Fashion’s merch table – A free, brand new xmas EP!!! 


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