‘From Toledo to Tokyo,’ Taco Bell to Target, Tooth and Nail to Capitol, and “Destination: Beautiful” and “Singularity,” we find Mae primed to move to the forefront of rock as one of the most infectious and inspiring groups.
Even though Mae’s first two records, “Destination: Beautiful” and “The Everglow,” established a committed fan base, they still have plans to find the next Mae fan, the old fashioned way, through relentless touring.
“We were excited to playing music for a living. At that point we were eating off the dollar menu at Taco Bell every night,” Mae’s lead singer Dave Elkins said of the band before the release of their first record. “‘Destination: Beautiful’ came out, and from January 2003 to the recording of “The Everglow” we toured nonstop. We probably played 300 shows the first year, and 250 to 275 the following year.”
During that time, the band had gained popularity while growing together and getting exponentially better, Elkins said. Although he admitted to being stopped by fans more frequently on his Target runs, Elkins remains focused on the band and not the fame.
“We’ve grown two or three times as much. We’re learning how to write together, how to communicate with each other better and we’re finding personal and collective visions for the band,” Elkins said. “We hope to accomplish and create a live show to go with what we really want to say with lyrical content. We want to reach out and be part of other purposes. We want to move people. Our band has become a business, and affecting people’s lives is best kind of business I could be a part of.”
Music has become a very real, and probably more pleasant, kind of business now that they’ve gone from the independent Tooth and Nail record label to Capitol Records. While making a record with an independent and major label provide certain freedoms, Elkins doesn’t look at signing with a major as a purely financial decision.
“We sold our souls to the devil for this record, and the devil better pay,” Elkins said jokingly. “I hope people who should or want to become Mae fans will get to be. I think our music can speak to a lot of people.”
The band’s financial gains might help enhance its live shows. The band said it hopes to embrace the idea that Mae drummer Jacob Marshall set forth in college, “Multisensual Aesthetic Experience,” the acronym that is Mae.
“We’re trying to really start to walk in that direction as far as making the shows more aesthetically pleasing and stimulating,” Elkins said. “I see us as an indie label band with major label money; we’ve got a new fan base and place in music world, and I hope with the release of the record and duration that we’ll get a really, really good show – one that has more to do with Jacob’s idea.”
Being that Mae is a versatile band, their upcoming album “Singularity” can be related to anything personal and everything universal. To Elkins, “Singularity” comes from a clear concept and approach where Mae reaches high musical accomplishment and personal satisfaction, while also touching their fans on a completely personal level.
“Scientifically, it’s reduced down to when something can no longer can be explained,” said Elkins of “Singularity.” “The soul of a person can’t be explained, but you know it’s still real. My singularity within the band and as a person – the essence of making music and art, for us, can’t be explained beyond the want to feel alive, needed and wanted, and the want to experience life as much as you can. Singularity you can’t explain – where that all comes together – we’re just tapping into it a little.”
Whereas “The Everglow” was a concept album, “Singularity” is not. Still, expect more of the same optimism that seeps through Mae’s first two albums, and sets them apart from other radio friendly alternative rock.
“It’s more of a complete thought from the beginning to the end,” Elkins said. “It’s looking at how small the world is, but how big our impact is. I’m not just talking about our band, but I feel that people can impact the world in such a great way without a high place of authority.
“For me, I keep seeing all over the place how life is all connected – beyond the band, beyond people we meet, and through our experiences. It’s about being big enough to respect and make the most out everything we maintain and come in contact with.”
As far as how he feels about the new album, you won’t find anyone more optimistic than Dave Elkins.
“I think it’s personal, yet, lends itself to how we can really connect with our fan base,” Elkins said. “We’re just writing what produces the best songs – it’s not about what’s personally gratifying, it’s not about what sells records – it’s what’s best for the music. We see it as something we create, and I hope everyone that comes in contact with the band gets that too. Once it comes out, we’ll have never written more honest, truthful, yet available music.”
Mae will perform at the Electric Factory Saturday, March 10 at 8 p.m. with Reliant K and Sherwood.
Chris Zakorchemny can be reached at Chris.Zak@temple.edu.