Last Friday Mae, hailing from Norfolk, Virginia, started off their headlining tour with a stop at Philadelphia’s Trocadero Theatre in support of their new album The Everglow.
Mae, who is comprised of singer/guitarist Dave Elkins, guitarist Zach Gehring, bassist Mark Padgett, pianist Rob Sweitzer, and drummer Jacob Marshall, brings more to the alternative music scene than the average band.
Mae, which stands for Multisensory Aesthetic Experience, strives to send every listener on a journey that will surely excite more than one your senses.
Before their Troc show last Friday, The Temple News had a chance to talk to Drummer Jacob Marshall.
The Temple News: So you guys are heading out on a headlining tour, how do feel about that?
Jacob Marshall: Cannot wait! We worked so hard this last month kind of preparing the show. All this time and work you’re about to let people into. It’s definitely exciting.
TTN: What does Mae essentially mean; what’s the breakdown of it?
JM: It’s funny that you (Laughs) mention that right now, but Mae comes from a theory I was developing in college about the way that art affects more than one of your senses at once. The interaction between your senses and the artistic experience. The theory was birthed in an academic study, actually the quest for the Multisensory Aesthetic Experience (Mae).
Basically, it’s a byproduct of being passionate about the music and trying to figure out how sound can make you feel. So for all of us in the band, that was an essential component; the fact that we are all so passionate about music.
TTN: So the Multisensory Aesthetic Experience, is that what makes your live show so intense?
JM: Well intensity can come in different forms; I think a lot of bands will find themselves pigeon-holed in that one emotion. Part of what we do is not only to make something that is familiar and consistent, but at the same time opens up the spectrum for the story we are trying to tell.
But the intensity is what you strive for in any storytelling, whether it’s a slow introspective song there’s still intensity in that stillness. At the same time when we turn it’s a rush to let the energy out, the timing between the ups and downs are a part of that.
TTN: The Everglow as been out now for some time, how do you feel about the record nowadays?
JM: I mean a lot of people will see us live and say “man your stuff is more intense than your record.” For The Everglow one thing we sought out to do is to capture that live element, so for me I feel like we did that. I am very proud of that record.
In a couple of years we won’t be as satisfied with that because you’re trying to constantly push the boundaries for what your trying to say, we need to make another record because of that.
TTN: Do you strive for mainstream success or are you satisfied in your current position?
JM: I think if you’re ever satisfied it will kill your potential growth or progressing at all. In that sense I m not satisfied, if we were satisfied we would stop and try something else.
At the same time I don’t feel like we are unhappy with were we are at because of the fact that we started with nothing and through sheer hard work have sort of arrived so we can actually make a living of this and grow from there.
As far as the mainstream side of things, we are not scared of that at all. I mean, we don’t write music for anything other than what we believe in and what we feel and we would never compromise that to be successful.
TTN: So what do you think sets you guys apart from the millions of bands pouring into the alternative music scene?
JM: Hopefully it’s the experience that the participant has. I guess every facet of every detail that goes into that, like for the Everglow. I don’t know if you’ve seen the artwork but it’s strategically mapped out to be an extension of the music and with the live show the same thing, the commitment from us for the moment in time that a person is experiencing our music. Not that other bands don’t do that, but we have that commitment.
TTN: You guys are coming to Philly on Oct. 7, how is the Philly crowd compared to other places?
JM: I got to be honest; Philly is almost like a hometown to us. We have had an awesome time building our fan base there; people have seemed to get what we are about. The vibes at those shows are always amazing, so we love coming there.
TTN: Yeah the Philly crowd at concerts is always great, so what are your plans after the tour?
JM: After the tour we are shooting a music video for our song “Someone Else’s Arms”, and then we are going to Japan.
TTN: So in the end, what would you guys say to local bands trying to make it? I mean you guys have been through so much to get here, what do you say to local bands?
JM: There are two things. One, create and find; create something that you’re so passionate about that you’re willing to do whatever it takes to let people here that. Within that, finding the people that feel that way and have that work ethic. this is an all consuming commitment.
The second part is being committed to making that happen, because there are so many talented bands out there and what separates those bands from the ones you read about, hear about or talk about is the work ethic to get out there and get noticed. No one thing is going to make your band huge, its about constantly working and if your willing to do that then there is not much that can get in your way.
Solomon Sofolawe can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.