Buddy Guy, Weezer, Vanilla Ice, Rick Springfield; the bands Mint has opened for are all over the musical map.
At each of those shows, the Des Moines band adapted its songs, so if it needed a bluesier sound or something to appeal to fans waiting to hear “Ice Ice Baby,” it could pull it off.
But when it came time to record songs for the band’s debut album, “Chemical,” the group’s members had to figure out what Mint sounded like without the influence of a headlining act.
“We didn’t know what we were,” bassist Brandon Clark said. “We had a lot of pop songs we were trying to morph into things.”
“We found our own sound in the midst of things,” frontman Bradford Johnson said. “Some of it turned into completely different songs. I don’t know if ‘better’ is the right word, but probably.”
Johnson describes Mint’s true sound as “grunge soul pop.” It fuses the members’ love of soul with the heavier guitars of ’90s acts like Nirvana and the pure pop Johnson envisioned when he originally founded Mint as a recording project.
“Chemical” features guest vocals by Dana Halferty of Parlours as well as “American Idol” contestant and Des Moines native Katelyn Epperly. It was produced by the members of Mint and mastered by Mark Santangelo, who has worked with Jack White, Kanye West, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and others.
Friday’s release show will have a birthday party theme, with gift bags, party favors, a photo booth and a birthday cake. It’s a fitting theme, since Johnson, Clark and drummer Christian Peters all have birthdays either Friday or Saturday. Clark is 30 (turning 31 on Saturday), Johnson is 27 (turning 28 Friday) and Peters is 22 (turning 23 Friday).
“It’s kind of eerie how perfect everything fell together, and it’s representative of how perfect our chemistry is,” Johnson said.
Friday’s show also will be the premiere of Mint’s first music video, “A Better Man.” In the video, the band performs while a house burns down behind it. There was no green screen or CGI involved. The members of Mint found a house, lit it on fire and filmed themselves performing in front of it.
It wasn’t a random act of arson. The idea came when the band was discussing a possible video, and Johnson jokingly asked Melissa Sepanic, owner of Sound Farm, where the band recorded “Chemical,” if she had any barns to burn down. Sepanic said no, but she thought her dad might.
The local fire department had to come out to supervise the shoot to keep the band safe.
Mint got as close to the fire as it could, which bandmates said was uncomfortable despite the filming day having subzero wind chill.
“Things were falling over and microphones were hitting me in the mouth. The house was soaked with gas, and we could only get so close in case it fell over” Johnson said. “I said to the fire marshal, ‘If this is how I die, I don’t care.’ How many opportunities do you get like that?”
Mint CD release show
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Where: Wooly’s, 504 E. Locust St.