Mindy Gledhill goes synth-pop with Hive Riot

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She’s performed on Kaskade’s Grammy-nominated album and had a sold-out Japan tour; he is a Juilliard-trained classical pianist. Together, Mindy Gledhill and her brother-in-law Dustin Gledhill are the 80s inspired, synth-pop duo Hive Riot.

Band members Mindy Gledhill and Dustin Gledhill on the Hive Riot debut album cover. Hive Riot is holding its hometown album release party on Feb. 20 at Velour. (Hive Riot)

As Hive Riot, with the name a nod to their native Beehive State, the duo held its hometown album release concert at Velour on Saturday, Feb. 20. Compared to Mindy’s usual indie-pop and Dustin’s piano virtuosity, this album is a departure from the norm. Described as “an ’80s-inspired, synth-pop duo that will take you to new retro-dancing heights,” Hive Riot seeks to inspire its listeners with the debut album.

“The album has a real theme to it,” Mindy said. “We look at it as a theme of letting go. There are songs that are super fun that might seem like they’re not about anything deep, but that’s part of letting go. We have a real fun aspect to our band.”

However, Mindy and Dustin said the idea of “letting go” can carry a lot more meaning than just having fun.

“We also have some songs with more serious themes,” Mindy said. “(We have) songs about letting go of expectation of other people or of culture and being able to be comfortable in your own skin.”

For Dustin, letting go reminds him of his rigorous training as a classical pianist. Dustin’s musical career began at BYU, but after a year and a half of studying music in Provo, he transferred to the Royal Academy of London to continue. After some time there, he moved to New York City to study at the Manhattan School of Music and then finally ended up at Juilliard.

His usually strict schedule of performances, competitions and practices was in contrast to the style of music in Hive Riot. This meant that even in creating the album, he had to let go of the classical training he had been used to and improvise and write music on the fly.

“(Dustin) grew up playing in competitions where every little note counts,” Mindy said. “On this album, we would go in the studio and write these songs on the spot and record them.”

Another aspect of the new band that Dustin has noticed is the change in audiences between classical piano and synth-pop.

Hive Riot in New York City. Dustin Gledhill, right, works in New York City as a classical pianist. (Hive Riot)

“The audiences are very different,” Dustin said. “One thing I like about the music we’re doing together is that I think it has the potential to reach a very wide audience and more instantly touch people. (Hive Riot) is so accessible up-front, and I’ve learned now to love different aspects of classical music that I didn’t fully understand before.”

According to the band, the response so far has been incredibly positive. The interactions that the band is getting from fans is what Dustin feels is his favorite part of making this music.

“I talked to people recently about when they listen to the music,” Dustin said. “A few of them said they work out to the music every day or they dance to it and embrace it and send us videos of themselves dancing in the kitchen with their kids, and I love seeing that. One of the best parts about it all is seeing how people love it.”

With Hive Riot’s debut album taking off already, the band said there’s no reason to quit now.

“We want to do a lot with this music,” Mindy said. “We started this from scratch.  We’ve been pleasantly surprised with how well it’s done so far, and we love the response we’ve gotten.”

Mindy and Dustin are no strangers to the Provo music scene. Since they started writing music together in 2001, the duo has been through many incarnations of style and genre. They began writing together under contract for an LDS music company and have since developed their own unique musical pathways, with Mindy performing her signature indie-pop style in Provo and Dustin performing and teaching as a classical pianist in New York City.

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