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Mindy and Dustin Gledhill of Hive Riot

“This has been a really great exercise in letting go.”

By Davis Blount

Mindy and Dustin Gledhill have been working on a semi-clandestine project throughout this past year. Between flights from New York City to Salt Lake City and studio sessions at Pleasant Pictures in Provo, Utah, Mindy and Dustin have created an 80s synth-pop duo that will leave you with an irresistible urge to find some pleather and throw on a hot pink boa. In fact, that is what we are wearing as we transcribe this article.

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Hive Riot has a Pledge Music campaign going through October 28th. Five percent of proceeds will go to benefit Cyndi Lauper’s True Colors Fund, which is dedicated to help homeless LGBT youth to obtain shelter and resources for a better quality of life. (Update: While the Pledge Music campaign has officially ended, Hive Riot did reach 105% of their goal!)

Mindy and Dustin were kind enough to sit down and talk all things Hive Riot with Analog Provo.

AP: So, riddle me this… how did a piano virtuoso and an internationally acclaimed singer-songwriter make the decision to come together to make electro synth-pop?

DG: [Laughs] It’s because we’re seesters.

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MG: Well, I married Dustin’s brother, Ryan. I’ve known Dustin since high school. My family moved down the street from him when I was 17. We’ve known each other for a long time and I have always admired his career, but I know two sides to Dustin. He has this incredibly refined side as a classical virtuoso. He’s very refined and intelligent. He also has an incredibly fun side where he breaks all the rules and it is always a crazy party. I thought it would be great if I could tap into that crazy side a little more while we made music to see what making this synth-pop group could do. For a few months, he thought I was joking…

DG: Yeah, I had no idea that she was being serious. She texted me sometime last fall or winter and said “Let’s be in a band, Dustin!” I thought she was kidding, so I just went on my way. I teach and travel a lot for various classical competitions, but in my spare time I also write. I have loved 80s music since I was a kid and Cyndi Lauper, so I always had these secret dreams of coming out on stage in spandex and a keytar

MG: [Laughs]

DG: When she sent me a message saying that she had a producer (Eric Robertson) locked down, I thought, “Oh, she was serious about this. Awesome.” For the past few months, I have been flying down to Utah and it has been awesome. This past year has been a really good growing experience for me and also a really true experience because I love what we are doing. It enables me to let go and just be all of my alter-ego selves at once.

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AP: What are some details as to your plans for the future? I hear that you have a Pledge Music Campaign up and running. Is that correct?

MG: Yeah, so we have a cool deal running right now with the Pledge Music Campaign. For those who pledge until the 28th, they will get the digital files of the album once it is funded. For those who don’t pledge, they won’t be able to get the music until early next year in January. There are additional incentives for people who pledge when they participate in our campaign. For example, people can pledge for private songwriting lessons with me and private piano lessons with Dustin, just to name a couple. Once the album officially releases in January, we will be looking to do a release show in Provo and another one in New York.

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AP: The Provo Music Scene might not be as familiar with Dustin’s body of work, but both of you are well-established in your respective musical spheres. Has it been difficult to “break the mold” and branch out into this new genre of music?

MG: I don’t think so. As of yet, I haven’t experienced any difficulty. It might be that I don’t look at it that way, because I don’t think to myself, “Oh, this is going to be hard to bring fans over, etc.” The reason I am doing this is because it is something that makes me happy and feels genuine. That’s all I can really do. If there are people who don’t like that, I try not to pay attention… those aren’t the people that will matter in our fanbase with this project. I’m not trying to re-brand myself or say goodbye to my Mindy Gledhill stuff, this is just a different project.

AP: There seems to be some running joke about Care Bears… what is that all about?

DG: We both loved Care Bears growing up. One night when we were in the studio, Mindy was like “Dustin, what if you did like Pet Shop Boys and had a spoken word cameo?” So, I just got in the vocal booth and starting saying some of the things that came into my mind. For one reason or another, Care Bear stuff just came out. One of the Rooftop coordinators happened to also be a follower of ours and gave us two vintage Care Bears, so the joke was kind of solidified there.

AP: Has it been difficult for you two to collaborate and make Hive Riot a reality, given that you all live on opposite sides of the country?

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MG: It’s been expensive, that’s for sure [laughs]. That being said, technology is amazing and we have been able to do a lot of it remotely. There are definite challenges and we are more effective when we are together, but we’ve been able to make it work.

AP: So far you have released two singles, what more can listeners anticipate from the rest of the album tracks?

DG: I think it ranges from sending you to a place where you can dance without anyone caring how you dance to really introspective and emotional. For example, one of the songs is called “Her Elegy” is a song about my grandmother and her voice from 1984 will be heard on the song. There are, as I mentioned, plenty of songs that you can just cut loose to and go wild as well.

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MG: Yeah, it’s definitely 80s dance-pop music with a whole lot of synth. In fact, I think there is only one “real” instrument in the whole album. A field horn. It is pretty pure electronic music.

AP: Have there been any unexpected speed bumps along the way while you all create Hive Riot?

MG: There has been a kind of sharp learning curve for me. Not so much working with Dustin, but just working with anyone in general. Largely for the past eight years, I have been an independent artist and have been able to make my own decisions. Basically, I’m the boss [laughs]. Through this, I have been able to learn what works for me musically and what doesn’t. Dustin and I do a lot of things differently, and I knew that going in. I’m sure that there have been many occasions where I frustrated him as we created this album

DG: Never, Mindy. You’re perfect and there has never been a point in time during the creation of this album in which you annoyed me… [rolls eyes]. Actually, it has been tough for me because I am accustomed to practicing for hours and hours every day and then performing. When I am in studio, sometimes it is hard for me to let go of all that preparation and take backseat to the creative process.

MG: That is one thing that Dustin brings to the table is his preparedness, because that is just how he has been trained. For me, I feel like oftentimes I am flying by the seat of my pants and have become very good at improvising, which is good, too, in some ways. We have learned to compliment each other nicely. Dustin has everything laid out in spreadsheets and documents and it has made the creative process so much easier to have someone like that on the team.

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AP: Is there anything else that you would like to let fans and listeners know about Hive Riot?

MG: I think for me this has been a really great exercise in letting go. For parts of my life, I have worried that people’s expectations of me have controlled what I do. With the creation of Hive Riot, I feel like we are totally in control and doing what we love. Whatever it is you feel you have to hide, whatever it is you feel you have to fear, just let all of that out and come dance with us.

Dustin Gledhill listens to a mastered track in studio.
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DG: We want people do be able to emote with our music. Whether it is crying though the elegiac song or dancing along to some of our more upbeat music. We want people to love what we are doing as much as we do.

APChance Lewis from House of Lewis asked: “What have been some of your favorite local releases of 2015?”

DG: Personally, I love the things that New Shack is doing. Shadow Girl was an awesome album released this year and I can’t wait to see what Cat Leavy and Eric Robertson have up their sleeve for the future.

MG: I’m also a big fan of what New Shack is doing. I think Cat is a genius writer. Everything that she does musically is just amazing. I also thought that RKDN’s latest release, “Stone Cold,” was really good and I think that they are going places for sure. Lastly, Mideau out of Salt Lake is making great music. The amount of music coming out of this valley is unheard of and it is getting harder and harder to keep up with it all.

AP: What question would you like to donate to the next artist?

HR: Okay, one for Eric… “Eric, if you could be a Disney Princess, which one would you be?” Secondly, we will ask “If New Shack had to wear a costume for their next show, would they go for pleather or feathers?”

Like Hive Riot on Facebook and listen to their single, “Sherlock,” below!

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