Miami’s Best Indie Rock Band Might Have Just Released the Single of the Summer

The superior five-piece Mustard Service share what it’s like mining Belle and Sebastian vibes in a salsa-centric city

June 20, 2023 6:25 am
band members sitting on the couch
Mustard Service talks about their tour and newest singles.
Mustard Service

After years of delays, Mustard Service finally got back on the road. We spoke with vocalist and guitarist Marco Rivero and lead guitarist Gabriel “Nuchi” Marinuch in the midst of their spring tour, as the five-piece indie rock band from Miami was in Des Moines, about to head to Nashville. They’d visited the Buddy Holly crash site the day prior, checking off boxes on the rock-’n’-roll-band-on-the-road itinerary. 

The band’s newest singles, “Backburn” and “(Your Cat) Doesn’t Stand a Chance,” are classic summer jams, with catchy lyrics, foot-tapping beats, gentle harmonies and guitar hooks that have the potential to turn into full-on ear worms. The former is a bit of a rocker; the latter has a solid funk feel. It’s apt that the band’s upcoming album will be called Variety Pack. According to Rivero, “The songs have nothing to do with each other. It really reflects that we make music for us five. I think if you grow up in a city with a lot of indie rock, maybe you’re pressured to make music like the scene. We don’t really have that in Miami.”

InsideHook: Most of you guys are first- and second-generation Americans. It makes for an interesting sound because you kind of sound like you could be from anywhere but are clearly American.

Marco Rivero: That is correct. We’re culturally vague.

I hear a lot of mid ’00s Beck, late-‘90s Belle and Sebastian and modern Jenny Lewis in your music. Where are you pulling from?

Rivero: A lot of us grew up listening to Argentinian rock and Latin American rock. We all grew up in the US, and it was always kind of weird. You go back to your parents’ country, and you’re the gringo. And then you come here, and you’re a Latino.

Gabriel Marinuch: We really belong to nowhere. Because when you go to our parents’ countries, they’re like, “What’s up, Yankee?” When we leave Miami and go to other parts of the US, it’s like, “Where are you from?”

Well, there’s not a ton of Miami indie rock. Why do you think that is?

Rivero: I think it’s because Miami is a very Latin city. And so most of the music in Miami is salsa, R&B and hip-hop. I think indie rock only kicked in after the hardcore scene.

Marinuch: There’s a lack of places to play. There’s no sort of regional life to the scene. We don’t have venues. We don’t have 200-cap rooms. We don’t have 300-cap rooms. The best place we had to play where everyone started out was Churchill’s — it was around since the ’70s, and they just let you play anything as long as you plug in. That closed during the pandemic. And then the other rooms that opened after that have folded. So we have like two 500-cap rooms, and then stadiums.

Why stay in Miami?

Rivero: It’s just our city. We love that it’s practically the capital of South America — South and Central America. Which is something that I don’t think we can find anywhere else. If you go to a restaurant and you don’t speak Spanish, you’re gonna have a rough time. And I guess that makes us feel a little more at home — a little closer to our roots, our parents’ roots.

Marinuch: New York and LA seem super saturated. And with the internet, I don’t know. Is it necessary?

Rivero: I kind of like being one of the only indie rock bands in the city.

Deer Tick Is Aging Gracefully, Against All Odds
The band tackles middle age on “Emotional Contracts”

Nuchi, you brought up an interesting fact that the internet exists. Maybe the better question is, does location matter?

Rivero: I think that’s a really interesting question. I have to say that it doesn’t matter anymore. If we didn’t have Instagram, Spotify, all the socials, I don’t think we would have gone anywhere. I don’t know how [Miami-based] KC and the Sunshine Band did it or how they made it out of Miami.

Thanks to all those social mediums, I don’t think location really matters. I like bands from Alaska, you know?

Let’s talk about the name. How often do people think you’re a ska band?

Rivero: I don’t know because people who come see us usually know who we are. But now that I’m thinking about it, Mustard Service does sound like a ska band.

Marinuch: Sometimes people think we’re like a heavier band — a hardcore band or something.

Do you ever get confused for Just Mustard [a really great shoegaze band from Dundalk, Ireland]?

Marinuch: We have an internal dilemma with mustard. Do we associate ourselves with mustard? Do we not? Is it funnier? Should we have no mustard-related imagery? Or do we just incorporate it? We can’t do anything about it. Fans bring us at least one mustard bottle every show that we’re signing at the end of the show, or they’ll throw mustard packets at us. You can’t escape mustard.

You just left Madison a few days ago. Any chance you stopped at the National Mustard Museum in Middleton, Wisconsin?

Marinuch: We really wanted to, but we just didn’t have time. It was recommended by our Airbnb host.

We tell all our Airbnb hosts that we’re a band, and they usually get more excited than we would expect. They give us all these recommendations — that host was like, “You gotta go to the mustard place!” 

Have you visited any city on this tour that made you think “Maybe I want to live here”?

Rivero: Every time we go to a city, we ask locals for pros and cons about their city. When we went to Austin, I asked a friend of ours, and he sat for like, a good long minute. And you know, when you’re having a conversation, a minute is eternal. And he’s thinking, thinking, thinking, and he goes, “You know what, the only con I can think of is that too many people are moving here.” If the con is that it’s so cool that it’s just attracting so many people, it must be the place to live.

Final question. I know it’s super gimmicky, and I’m sorry. What’s your absolute favorite specific mustard?

Rivero: I like the spicy ones — German ones. And you can’t go wrong with yellow. Right?
Marinuch: Colman’s Mustard.

The InsideHook Newsletter.

News, advice and insights for the most interesting person in the room.