The Hippo


May 25, 2020








Mindset X. Courtesy photo.

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Fans can check out Mindset X music and buy the new single (available
Oct. 21) at

Oceans ahead
Mindset X finishing concept album

By Michael Witthaus

Months after forming in 2004, the original members of Manchester-based Mindset X attempted a concept album called Statecraft. Unfortunately, the brash young band’s ambition wasn’t matched by technology. 

“A home recording, it was just awful,” said guitarist and vocalist Steve Haidaichuk recently. 
The few copies pressed were handed out to curious friends.
The music got much better, and all the records that followed had a thematic thread — one was even titled Thread. For their forthcoming disc, the active rock trio will return to telling a story from beginning to end. Oceans follows a character named Jacob through his ups and downs — “love, alcohol and learning in the end it was about the journey of going through life,” said Haidaichuk.
The band recruited Grammy nominee Jay Frigoletto (Alice In Chains, Shinedown) to produce the new record and spent most of 2014 recording in his secluded mountain studio. The musical approach departs considerably from previous projects. Bass player Paul Davidson, who joined in 2013, also plays keyboards — “we never knew he dabbled in that, and it opened up a lot of avenues,” said Haidaichuk. The three band members wrote Oceans together, another first.
Frigoletto is the most hands-on producer Mindset X has ever worked with. 
“We told Jay when he first signed up that we really wanted him to be the fourth band member, to play with us and make suggestions,” said Haidaichuk, praising the producer for being both a nice guy and stern taskmaster. “He’ll tell you, ‘That take sucks. Do it again until it’s perfect.’ It’s nice to have someone pushing you like that, breathing down your neck. Then at the end of the day, we can share a bourbon. It’s a beautiful thing.”
Selections from the 10-track album have trickled out at the band’s shows. 
“The reaction has been really fantastic; it’s always nice to see people digging the new stuff, because that’s the hardest thing,” said Haidaichuk. “We know we have to play ‘Everybody Wants To Be You,’ so we take it as a compliment when someone in the audience can sit there and stare at what you’re doing.”
The first single from Oceans will be released on Oct.. 21, the same day Mindset X opens for former King Crimson bassist Tony Levin’s band Stick Men in Arlington, Mass. “You & Me” is a love song about recovery, explained Haidaichuk. 
“In Mindset X, we never really tackle the whole love thing, and it was time for me to dive into my own fears of writing about it.”
It is a new wrinkle for the trio; after all, a tune like “Dirty Little Freak” can’t be misconstrued as a love song, though “some people take that more to heart than others,” said Haidaichuk with a laugh.  “But you know what? It’s more about just letting go and being an individual. If there’s one thing that’s in any of the music we do, it’s being yourself and not letting anyone tell you who you are.”
So much time spent in the recording studio limits the band’s typically busy live schedule. The last Mindset X appearance in the area was Sept. 13 at Manchester’s Mad Bob’s Saloon. They expect to return early next year with a listening party or two, and Haidaichuk hopes the new sound portends broader horizons venue-wise. 
“I would like to experience some new clubs in the Manchester area,” he said. “We’ve been doing some soul-searching in that regard.”
For now, the focus is on completing Oceans — easily Mindset X’s most ambitious undertaking. 
“The timing is right … I’m excited about it,” said Haidaichuk. “I’m not getting any younger; if we’re going to do it, we need to do it now.” 
Until then, you can catch Mindset X  Tuesday, Oct. 21, at 7 p.m. at Regent Theatre, 7 Medford St., Arlington, Mass. Visit for the latest news and schedule. 
As seen in the October 9, 2014 issue of the Hippo.

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