Mistar Anderson is a band bound together by a positive message.
The Columbus-based group began by covering hip-hop songs. Soon, it evolved and began to create its own sounds after band members heard the beats drummer Andre Walker said he had been working on.
Today, the seven-member group produces jazz- and funk-inspired hip-hop music with uplifting themes, vocalist Eric Rollin said. He said he wants his lyrics to have a healing component to them and hopes Mistar Anderson’s music will help its listeners feel better about their own situations.
“What I like about how he writes is it’s not anything that, after you listen to it, it’s gonna make you feel negative. Those aren’t the bars you hear,” Walker said. “For me, I get a positive side that I can kind of identify with.”
Rollin said he writes lyrics based on his own daily experiences to make the songs relatable to listeners. Giving the audience a kind of ownership over a song creates the best music, Walker said.
“[Our song] ‘Para Mi / Brother B’ was dope because I thought he was talking about me at first, like, ‘Hey man, you talking about me?’ He’s like, ‘No, I wasn’t, but I’m glad you could relate,’” Walker said. “I feel like the best music that I’ve listened to was music that I not only identify with, but something I felt was personally mine. That’s what I would hope people would get from listening to us.”
Keyboardist David Swank said one of the most gratifying parts of their work is having an outlet for creativity. When producing new music, this creative process all begins with Walker and his beats, guitarist Ryan Sullivan said.
“Everything starts with Andre, and then we just kind of interpret it into a live band,” Sullivan said. “He makes the beat sampling records together, and then we interpret it into a live setting.”
The original samples get tweaked by each band member until it reaches the final product, Walker said, allowing each musician to get creative and personalize the song.
“They get it, and then they transpose it into something that makes sense for them,” Walker said. “So you hear the original samples — it sounds a lot like that because that’s where the foundation is — but outside of that, man, they just kind of get creative. I like that they create with it because it makes it their own.”
The final product reflects the musical interests of each band member, which Sullivan said is wide ranging. The members are prolific performers in the Columbus music community, and Sullivan said they each play in other bands that intermingle and perform together. Sullivan plays with Andy Shaw Band, a reggae-infused rock group, while Swank plays with the soulful funk band Topher James and Biscuit Brigade.
Mistar Anderson’s members come from an array of musical backgrounds, bassist Aeneas Reynolds said, which contributes different layers to their music.
“I think the great thing about it is we all come from different areas and different genres, so it makes it kind of cool,” Reynolds said. “We’re all different ages, too — that plays a big part. From a three- to five-year span, we’re all at different time zones with music, so that kind of helps as well.”
Despite their variances, Walker said they are alike in one special way.
“We’re different ages but our souls are all aligned,” Walker said.