The Mayberries: Folk Rock For The Modern Age
After 3 months of hard work, The Mayberries have released their first labor of love, their EP Squirt Guns. Progressive Man spoke to Lou, one half of The Mayberries duo, to learn more about their throwback sound. What we learned is that Lou is actually a hilarious guy and that we’re glad the duo decided to settle on being called The Mayberries instead of The Steamers. Oh yeah, we also talked about their fantastic track, “In My Car”.
Hey guys, it’s great to get a chance to speak with you. Before we get into the music and the process, could you tell us a little about where each of you are from and how you first got into music?
I (Lou) am from Maine, originally, and Dan’s from Greensboro, North Carolina. We like to think of ourselves as perfect combination of North and South–like if you were to dip a piece of fried chicken in clam chowder, for example. That’s how we might describe ourselves if we were hungry.
I started playing trumpet in, I think, the 3rd grade. I was pretty awful at it for a while and didn’t practice very much. Luckily I got over it, learned a few other instruments and started playing with people who cared about making music as much as I did. Mostly Weezer covers, but there are worse ways to hone your skills, right?
Dan, you could say, is more well-studied in the ways of music. A student of Berklee College with years of prior study under his belt, he’s played everything from Acid Jazz to R. Kelly since he was a supple thirteen-year old.
So how was it that you decided to create The Mayberries? Was there a specific event that prompted the formation of the band?
No specific event, really. We used to make pizza together at a restaurant in Boston and we were always pretty good at that. Dan’ll tell you I was a bit heavy on the cheese, but the truth is it’s a matter of taste. We figured, “what the heck? Music and pizza aren’t so different”–at the core, it’s all about teamwork.
So how did you come up with the band name itself? Were there any other names in the running other than The Mayberries?
“The Juice Cups” was one we threw around. That wouldn’t have been bad–we’d probably draw a more health-conscious crowd if we’d stuck with it.
Dan pushed hard for “Smooth” for a while.
In the end, we went with “The Mayberries” because it sounds lighthearted and it starts with “The,” which we wanted.
Your music has a bit of a ‘60’s/’70’s folk rock feel to it, think Simon & Garfunkel. Are you heavily influenced by that genre of music and time period or is it just a weird coincidence?
Thank you for this question. I’m not being facetious when I say this comparison is the highest-caliber flattery. We’re big S&G fans. Those guys may as well be superheroes. I speak only for myself when I say “I Am A Rock” has gotten me through many a low point. 60s recordings are cool and if you think otherwise, I disagree with you. But to answer your question–yes, that’s very much what we’re going for. Simple melodies, arpeggiated riffs, organs, tambourines. That’s the wheelhouse right there.
Alright, let’s talk a bit about the featured track, “In My Car”. Lyrically, it seems there’s a clear story there. Could you let us in on the story that the lyrics are telling and whether they stem from any personal experience?
“In My Car” is based on personal experience, as are all the songs on the album. BUT I think I’m gonna keep this one under my sock for now. Might be a little too personal for the internet. That’s why you write lyrics, right? To express yourself in an intimate way that nobody else understands? Plus that’d ruin the mystery, wouldn’t it? If I tell you what it means, then you’ll tell some people, they’ll tell some people–pretty soon everyone will know and no one will think I’m clever anymore.
From a musical standpoint, how did the song come together? Did the lyrics come first or did the instrumentals?
Chords came first. Then came a long period of shakily-sung nonsense in the vague semblance of a melody. Drums, guitars, and organ gave the song the right feel, then it took another month to write lyrics, which sounds ridiculous given there are about five lines in the whole song. Cut me some slack will ya? Despite what people in the comments section are saying, we’re not geniuses. We mean to be very clear about that. Stop it. We’re just guys.
You recently released your first EP, Squirt Guns. How long did it take to create all of the music on the EP? Did you record the album yourselves or did you work with a studio to do it?
All in all, Squirt Guns took about three months. The whole album was recorded with dismally low-budget equipment and software in different peoples’ houses/apartments. Homemade with lots of care and attention.
Now that the EP is out, what projects do you have lined up? Are you recording anything new right now or lining up show dates?
We’re recording another short EP right now. Keep an eye out for that if you’re interested. Should be finished within a month or so. It’ll be free too. That’s a plus, right?
Alright, here’s one of our last questions for you! What’s one of your favorite memories during the time you guys have been making music together?
There was one time we split an order of pad thai noodles before practicing. That sounds mundane, but believe me, these noodles were way better than any we’d had in New York City. It was a new place we’d found–somewhere up on Grand Street. The noodles were fresh and sauce was perfect. The whole thing was so good that we completely forgot to practice.
Thank you for chatting with us! Where can people go to find more of The Mayberries?
The pleasure is all ours. Anyone interested is well encouraged to peruse our facebook for info and help him/herself to free downloads on our bandcamp page.