INTERVIEW: MAYBIRD Talk Writing, Working with Patrick Carney

Maybird just wrapped up their tour through the States and what better way to end it than in their hometown of Rochester, New York. In 2013, Maybird made their recording debut with an ambitious independent album, Down and Under. As Maybird developed a growing following on the East Coast, they were approached by producer Danger Mouse, who had heard and enjoyed the record. Danger Mouse asked Maybird to sign with his new label, 30th Century Records, and the group’s first project for 30th Century, the EP Turning into Water, was released in April 2016. The group is due for another release in early June, after spending time in Nashville recording with Producer Patrick Carney this past summer. Josh, Sam, and Adam from Maybird were kind enough to answer some questions before their show at the Middle East in Cambridge, MA.

 

Have You Been to Boston before/do you like it?                                                                                                                      

Josh: Yeah, we have been through a couple times, actually the place next door to the Middle East. I think the last time we played music here for four or five years ago. The driving sucks, but everything else is great.

 

You just released “Grace”- was there any inspiration behind that or was the writing process more of a natural thing?

Josh: I can’t even remember when I wrote it. I think it was February of last year. I wrote it shortly after a break up and I wrote a lot of those songs I guess. So that affected a lot of the songs I wrote that are going to be released pretty soon I think. But, it got kind of switched around when we started working on it. It was one of the first songs we started working on in the studio with Patrick Carney, our producer. He kind of flipped it in a bunch of ways, not in any lyrical ways but in a bunch of musical ways that changed it up quite a bit. It began as a very acoustic kind of early backing sounding kind of tune and now I’d say it’s in the R&B kind of realm.

Do you usually base your songs off something going on such as a breakup like you mentioned?

Josh: It depends on what works quickest. Because I usually write music then write lyrics around it. And if I’m having a really hard time writing lyrics but I like the music then I’ll just save the music until something is hitting. So sometimes it’s like I want to write about a specific mood I’m in or thing that happened. Other times I’ll just ad lib stuff and just let things flow and free style to see where things go. So some of them lyrics just came straight out of the sub-conscious basically.

 

Do you all collab or is it just you?

Josh: I write songs and then we get together and play them together so we will add parts or rearrange.

 

The art on the covers of your albums/EPs/ singles are pretty interesting… where do those ideas come from? Do you have them correspond with the songs or just the fact it looks cool.

Josh: We have worked with our friend Mike Trizinsky whose a friend from Rochester and he did out first cover. We went through several ideas and just found the one we thought worked the best. And then for this upcoming one we worked with this guy Chris Campbell and he sent us a bunch of ideas and we just picked one and so we didn’t really have much of a word in what we wanted. We let them do their thing and just chose from that. We sent them each the EP’s beforehand. You could tell they spent some time listening to it.

 

With the tour wrapping up, do you guys plan on working when you get home or take a break?

Josh: We are going to keep writing for sure, take a break for sure. Probably more dates we will release for July and August. We are kind of always on the road. We make big plans for our free time. I am going to Israel for a while with my girlfriend to visit some of her family.

So in general on tour are you the type of band to try to explore each city or just stay low-key and chill at the venue?

Josh: We like to go out. We like to walk because we sit in the van, you know six hour drive, we really want to walk around and usually the venue will be in the central part of the city so it’s easy to walk around and explore and kind of get a grasp and get a first look at the place.

 

If you could have any artist in the world join your band dead or alive, who would it be?

Sam: That is a really great question because you could get some really great writers. I would say Kurt Vonnegut. He could write some great limericks.

Adam: I’m gonna go musical even though I’m intrigued by the non-musical, I would say someone like Jonathan Wilson. He could probably take over drums and I could stand on the side.

Josh: I’m gonna say Flavor Flav because I would like to add a hip-hop element and I think that he’s a sick hype man and we could use a hype man. Bring the energy, get people jumping.

  

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