Editor’s note: Listen Up is a Q&A featuring locals in the arts and culture community.
This week: Matt Hasenmueller, vocalist for the band The Millenium. The band will host a New Year’s bash from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 31, at The Plus, 208 S. Barstow St.
What is the Millenium’s 90s New Year’s Bash?
It’s someting we’ve done for the last three years. Because our band’s name is The Millenium we’ve done a pseudo-1990s theme.
People don’t really dress up, but we put a lot of things around the room that are nostalgic. The entry way is always filled with posters of things from that era. We cover some 1990s songs and our intro to the night is a broadcast from the 1999-2000 ball drop ceremony.
Afterwards we’ve always done a couple-hour mix of 1990s songs, it kind of feels like a middle school dance. It’s always really fun, everyone just hanging out and listening to songs they forgot they knew.
We always have a photo booth too. That’s one of my favorite parts of the night, it’s people making memories. We always bring a couple props, just to make it a little more fun.
Who is all playing?
Rapter Octvius starts the night, then Nick Anderson and the Skinny Lovers, Chamber Noise and then us.
Do you play 1990s-themed songs?
We don’t play a themed set, per se, but we throw in a cover or two.
We’ll play Britney Spear’s “Toxic,” and then if we can work it out we’re going to do Shania Twain’s “That Don’t Impress me Much,” just to add that flair to it.
Why do you continue to be part of this New Year’s tradition?
What I love about New Year’s is it’s this wonderful time capsule of an evening where in that couple hours’ time your next year’s dreams have already come true.
You’re living in the future and the past at the same time.
It’s this wonderful middle ground where anything and everything can happen. Becuse of that there’s quite the buzz on the evening.
It’s generally positive whether you’re looking forward to something in the new year or looking forward to putting something behind you.
As a band, the more we get out and play, the more I appreciate where I came from.
For us, Eau Claire can be kind of a weird market. We play a lot at the university, but those kids don’t necessarily come down.
It’s not as generally accepted the music we play, which is pop alternative, more people-pleaser music, but we have a good draw from surrounding areas.
Because we talk so highly of Eau Claire, our fans want to see the environment where this band was conceived.
Until the people stop coming, I’ll keep showing up.
Is there anything new or different this year?
Essentially it’s a show. We used to mix it with comedy, tried it twice, but it’s a hard thing to mix. The first and second year we did dueling stages with music on one side and when the band was setting up we’d do comedy on the other side.
It’s a really cool concept, but that adrenaline pump from the music and then sitting down and being quiet for the comedy show didn’t really mix.
What will The Millenium be playing?
We released our first full-length record (”but do we ever ask ourselves?”) last March, so we’ll be playing a bunch of songs off that.
It peaked at 29 on the iTunes alternative chart. We haven’t played any of those songs yet in Eau Claire, so study up so you can sing along. It’s going to be a good show.
There’s a lot going on New Year’s Eve. Why should people come to your show?
We are part of Light Up Eau Claire’s general umbrella of the evening.
In general I think this is going to be the best party.
Other events have wonderful meals, wonderful catered beverages, paying a huge amount for dinner and a fancy ballroom, but if you just want to have a great time, I think this is the best place because every performer is also wanting to have a good time.
We just want to forget any stress for four hours, have a great time and just enjoy the holiday for what it is — a wonderful gray period between what last year was and next year’s going to be where anything is possible and you can forget what has happened.
I think that’s powerful and that kind of calculated naivety and ignorance is important in entertainment.
— Katy Macek