Social Order supergroup interview Metro Station New Politics The Mowgli's 2020

The world may be falling apart, but music continues to pull us together. Taking on a whole new level of “Quarantunes” in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mason Musso of Metro Station, Louis Vecchio of New Politics, Anthony Improgo of Parade Of Lights and Matthew Di Panni of The Mowgli’s have introduced a new collaboration under the name of Social Order. The kicker? They’ve never (collectively) been in the same room.

Inspired by the “end of the world” feeling brought about by the onset of the quarantine in April, the pop act materialized with the intention of rousing hope in light of widespread uncertainty. Their debut single, “Going Out Dancing,” and its accompanying music video play upon this theme, featuring shots of the band members and their families singing and dancing along in their respective homes. It’s nothing short of the fun you’d expect from four musicians with over 40 years of combined pop experience behind them.

Alternative Press spoke with Social Order about their remarkable feat of forming a band and producing a song and (impressively congruous) music video from miles apart. Fans of the finished product, rest assured, it won’t stop here. With their “creative juices” flowing and coordination dialed in, these guys are prepared to keep you dancing even after the world resumes again.

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People talk about quarantine projects like painting the house or reorganizing the pantry, and you put together a band. What inspired this undertaking?

MASON MUSSO: For me, exactly what you said. The whole quarantine has definitely got me wanting to write more, try new projects and experiment with different stuff that I wouldn’t normally do. I think Lou was the first person I was connected with through our manager, and we really hit it off. Then Matt and Anthony got involved, and we were like, “Let’s do this.” It just sounded like something really fun. Obviously, it’s a serious thing that’s happening right now. But I also think it’s a time for creating something new out of all the chaos that’s going on. 

LOUIS VECCHIO: I think it’s the same thing. We all have other working projects, and this was just such a good opportunity to take in what I felt in the moment, [like I was] at a standstill creatively. Mason was just like, “Yo, let’s do this.” And we just started it, and it felt so natural and good. It was a really good way to channel this built-up energy that I’m sure everyone in the world is feeling now being inside or whatever [else] is going on around you. It was such a great way to release all that and really focus on something else that could be potentially awesome. It’s very exciting, and I’m really excited to be a part of it.

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ANTHONY IMPROGO: I think, if anything, it happened really naturally. It wasn’t like, “Oh, let’s get this quarantine video up.” In fact, it all started from a lyric video. We had this idea, and we got on Zoom like, “Oh, why don’t we do this? Why don’t we do that?” And then everyone sent me some snips and stuff, and I put it together in Final Cut Pro, and when we looked at it, we were like, “Wow, this is cool. Why don’t we get our friends involved because everyone’s home, everyone can’t go out?” So it happened organically, which is cool.

It’s a timeless song. It works so well for quarantine, but it’s going to be applicable beyond that. Was that something you did intentionally when you were writing it?

MUSSO: For me, [at the beginning], it definitely felt like the world was ending. So it definitely has that vibe. But it wasn’t specifically about quarantine. I think it was more about, if everything’s falling apart around you, you can either just be totally depressed and living in doom and fear and gloom or you can go out dancing.

So, writing and recording as separate entities away from each other is challenging in itself, never mind the fact that you are stuck at home and not in these professional studios. What challenges did you meet doing that? Do you feel like they had any influence on the way that the song turned out? 

VECCHIO: The funniest, most interesting thing about that for me was the way we shot the video because, when it was first proposed, I was like, “Wait.” Because my only experience with doing music videos [includes] cameras and a real setup with lighting and stuff. I was like, “How are we going to do this with cellphones?” I live in New York [and have] crappy lighting in my bedroom apartment. But it worked out so well, and Anthony was so good at editing it. My wife was filming me, and she turned into James Cameron all of a sudden, filming me and jumping around. It was such a really funny, different experience. And it was something that I never thought I would ever [do]. I don’t think any of us would do something like that unless we were stuck indoors with this pandemic situation. So it really was a crazy, really great thing that happened [during] such a terrible time, which I think is awesome.

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MUSSO: There’s something that Anthony’s mom said after she watched the video, too. She said, “There’s hope in the video. It makes you hopeful about everything.”

IMPROGO: I think lyrically, it’s [Mason’s] take on what’s happening now. A lot of the lyrics came from [him], and it’s tongue in cheek, but there’s a serious aspect to it, too. [He] keeps it light. We have to get creative. Everyone’s doing jam sessions online and stuff. I live in Vegas, Matt and Mason live in L.A. and Lou is in New York. We do a lot of the Dropbox thing. I have to give it up to their wives and girlfriends. When I got the clips of their footage, it was really well shot. It was like a professional doing it on a phone, mind you.

The video is so lighthearted and fun, and it really felt cohesive despite all of you being in different spots. Was there any coordination that went into filming your different parts? Or did you all just surprise each other with what came out of it?

MUSSO: It wasn’t coordinated. One of the first things that Anthony [suggested] was, “Why don’t you just film yourself dancing around the kitchen?” and I was like, “That’s gonna be stupid. No.” But I [tried it]. The first clip I sent was the clip from the video [of me] walking around the house I was at in Palm Springs. The hardest thing was getting all of our friends [involved] because you’re just like, “Hey, will you film yourself dancing around the kitchen?” No one really wants to do it. They’re iffy about it. But everyone did a great job, and we’re happy all of our friends and family members were involved. 

IMPROGO: It’s tough to have that kind of energy when you’re just by yourself or with someone else, but I’ve got to give it up to [Mason]. The second clip I got was with Matt, and when I was editing it, I was like, “This is pretty damn good.” I was laughing the whole time. And then Lou did this lip-sync thing. My only request was, “Do a full pass so that when I edit it in Final Cut, I can just line it up really easily.” So a lot of the ideas were born from them and their significant others. It was cool.

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MATTHEW DI PANNI: I will say that my wife, working in film and TV, directed me perfectly. I was just going to do something a little more simplified, and she was like, “No, we’re going to set up the inflatable pool. We’re going to get the dog involved. There’s going to be a champagne scene.” And I was like, “All right, I’m gonna take direction from you, as I always should, and just listen.” And she shot something beautiful. It was right after Mason sent his pass, and because I’d just moved into this house up in the hills in L.A., I was like, “We need this outdoor backdrop as well. We all are in these enclosed spaces, but it would be nice to also have some more color to the video as well.” So that’s why we did most of my scene outside.

MUSSO: I think that plays in with the hope thing. [Matt’s] coming outside. [Anthony’s] coming outside too in the video. [It gives] this sense of, “We’re getting through this quarantine thing, and summer’s coming up.” I think that [Matt] in the pool especially gave that very fun element to it.

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You all come from general pop backgrounds but with some variances in your leanings. You’ve got rock, synth, indie, folk—it’s a pretty good spread. How did that all come together to establish this overarching style for the band?

MUSSO: I feel like I’ve always been in the pop realm. I think the rest of the guys [have been] too, so I don’t think it’s a far stretch from what we’ve all done in the past.

IMPROGO: There’s a commonality when it comes to the music that we all listen to. There’s definitely an ’80s thread going through this whole thing. I think when Mason sings on [something]—and this is a good thing—it makes it a little poppy. So even if we came up with a jam that’s more the Chain Gang Of 1974 or M83, he puts his voice on it, and it sounds like good pop. 

DI PANNI: Before I was ever in poppy bands, I was always just playing metal [and] hardcore punk music. Then in 2009, when we were doing my band the Mowgli’s, it was just like, “Here we go, we’re writing pop and country and folk songs. Jump in or get out of here.” And I was like, “OK, this is actually fun.” It’s become my life for over a decade. Now I’m really loving that world, and it’s changed how I write songs and how I want to write songs.

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VECCHIO: All of our backgrounds and music are so similar that when we started formulating this idea and then [hearing] the demos, it just made sense. It just fits. I’ll envision myself playing something along to a melody or to a baseline, and this just came really easy. I can absolutely picture us playing it [live]. Whatever situation I’m in when I’m writing something, that’s what I always go to: “How is this going to come across live?” For some reason, that’s just how I think, and, for this, it’s just like a thread. That’s probably because our backgrounds are very similar, and we’ve all had success [coming up] in a similar world.

I suspect anyone who hears this song is going to hope that you continue pursuing this project in the future. You’ve already got plans for an acoustic version of “Going Out Dancing,” but do you have any plans to collaborate as Social Order beyond this song? Is there any chance of you putting out an EP or album and touring as a band?

MUSSO: Absolutely. We’re working on that right now. We have a couple of different things we’re doing. Anthony’s working on a lyric video, and then we’re doing a very stripped down “just me and the piano” version. We’re absolutely gonna start sending each other different song ideas. Obviously, it’s a great time to write and just get all the creative juices flowing.

IMPROGO: I’m actually excited because I’ve seen all the guys perform live on the same stages. So, I’m interested to see how we’re going to [perform together]. I already know everyone’s going to be good live. I think it’s going to be even better because we get along, too. It’s easy. We’ve all been in so many bands, [so we know] how the drama is. It’s refreshing to be nice.