Nefarious Industries Artist Maid Myriad Interview is up
1. Your sound is such an interesting mix of Post Rock, Prog, Indie, Metal and Melodies . How did the sound come to be and where do you see it heading?
Jeff: Pretty much all of the songs on With Haste On Its Breath started with either a vocal melody and/or a guitar part and all the instrumentation was built off of that foundation. For instance, “Azure Planes” was 85% written while humming into my phone while vacuuming. I have the original voice memo on my phone that I transposed to instrumentation. Ideas are so fleeting which makes my phone’s voice memo function literally my best friend. Maid Myriad is very melodically focused and the rhythmical aspect is something we do to keep the music from being stagnant pop songs. Plus we’re all nerds. I’m just as much a fan of pop music as I am of metal.
2. You’re getting a lot of exposure in the extreme music scene are you shocked by that? I really see you in the Prog and Indie scenes shining…
Jeff: Actually yes, we’ve never really received any recognition in the metal or extreme scenes until Greg Meisenberg joined and we started approaching everything differently. Maid Myriad was always imagined as a four piece band and the record was written with me playing a secondary guitar part. When we couldn’t find a guitar player who could tour with us, we stripped down to just one guitar. Once we started playing metal shows as a three piece (with bassist Mario Tonathy), we found out that we were louder and somehow heavier than most of the five or six piece bands. The reception on that tour was staggering enough, well, to stop looking for a permanent second guitarist. It’s funny, whenever bands strip down to a three piece, things just get that much more intense and noisy in live shows.
When it came down to the record, we originally had three of the songs mixed by Jim Wirt who produced Incubus and Fiona Apple. The results were too clean, polished and well, poppy. I knew this was a clean sounding record, but there just wasn’t enough grit for my vision. We wanted to convey the aggression and angst in this new record, so we went with Kevin Antreassian to mix the album. His experience with bands like Dillinger Escape Plan and Deftones really pushed the mixes in the direction we wanted.
Greg: As a performer I come from a mostly prog/extreme background, and as a music lover I appreciate vocally driven melodic music. Most of my favorite artists are ones that consistently blend over-the-top technical rhythm with an outrageous sense of emotional melody, and I think there's space for anything and everything when it comes to good music. So getting exposure and positive reception in the extreme music scene doesn’t shock me, rather it’s very gratifying because this is where I feel at home.
3. In the music I hear elements of bands like Shudder to Think, Foo Fighters and Cave In, with elements of Metal and Fuzzed out Prog. What are the true influences that made Maid Myriad?
Jeff: Y’know, people ask about our name Maid Myriad and the meaning behind our name really answers this question. We don’t like to pigeonhole ourselves into a specific genre due to our myriad of musical influences, so we incorporate a plethora of genres into our music. That’s why we call our music “Kaleidoscope Rock.” We’re just as likely to bust out a soft acoustic guitar or create a vast ambient soundscape as turn our amps to eleven and pound the fuck out of our instruments. It keeps things fresh.
Greg: Jeff, Mario, and I all come from totally different musical backgrounds, yet our tastes overlap in a lot of areas: extreme prog/metal; nerdy indie and cheesy pop; 90’s hip-hop; and everything ever released in 1993-94. This band would be nowhere without our deep shared love of Ace of Base.
4. Whats a live show like for the band are songs reworked for live setting any stage show or surprises?
Jeff: Well, since the live band is continuing as a three piece, what we’ve lost in second guitar parts, we’ve gained in intensity. There’s a lot of flailing and jumping around. We play the songs very similar to how it is on the album, but we throw in a few extra tidbits to enhance the live show.
Greg: We keep it simple, we go apeshit, and we make it sweet. Also, we have great hair.
5. How did you come to work with Nefarious Industries and what are you hoping to get out of this very eclectic label?
Greg: Nefarious Industries started as an outlet for NJ prog deviants El Drugstore (Kevin Conway, Rolando Alvarado, Seth Rheam) and A Fucking Elephant (Matt Keys and myself). Basically the 5 of us wanted a place to release a whole bunch of highly unmarketable music, and to expose our followers to a ton of music of all styles that they likely wouldn’t have heard otherwise. It’s an international community of brilliant musicians and open-minded fans, and when I began playing with Maid Myriad it only made sense to welcome them into the family.
6. The vocals are such another musical tool in the band . Was it the focus all along to have those amazing harmonies and catchy middle grooves in the songs?
Jeff: In my mind, the vocals have always been the centerpiece to Maid Myriad. When producing the record, I used a lot of techniques made famous by Quincy Jones and Brian Eno to achieve different vocal layers. There are a lot of moments where a vocal melody is buried in the back giving it an ethereal instrumental experience.
7. What are the members of Maid Myriad currently reading or listening to? It really tells a lot about a band.
Jeff: I’m reading Vonnegut, Palahniuk. Watching American Horror Story, Adventure Time, just finished Dexter, Portlandia anything Wes Anderson, Michel Gondry, and the usual slew of Jim Carrey movies.
Greg: Reading “10 Steps To Relieve Anxiety” by H Michael Zal - that should tell you something about our band. Currently watching Curb Your Enthusiasm and catching up on Walking Dead.
Most recently listening to: Pink Floyd - The Endless River, Dysrhythmia, Oceansize, Chavez, Cat Power, Patsy Cline.
8. Where do you see the future sound of Maid Myriad heading more experimental and jazzy , more extreme or just a free for all?
Jeff: All the songs on With Haste On Its Breath (with the exception of “Encircled”) were written before Greg or Mario joined the band. My brother Kevin Klemm plays drums on “Forget You (And I Will)” and “Skye’s Eye View” as he helped write a portion of the drum parts for the entire record. “Encircled” was written with Greg in the studio in New Jersey where Greg and I were making the album. I had most of the parts written and we put the pieces together in a day and tracked it the next day. We’ve already written three songs for the next album and we are approaching it as a collaborative effort. Writing songs with Greg (and now Mario) is very fun and exciting since they bring so much eclecticism to the table. As far as the direction, we’re keeping an open mind and seeing where it goes.
Greg: I operate best working with a prolific songwriter (that’s Jeff), where there’s room for me to expand on existing ideas, edit, arrange, fuck with the rhythm, and take the song somewhere no one else intended it to go. So the current scenario is actually working quite well. We’re open to anything, but it's always going to be interesting and engaging.
9. You’re working with Earsplit PR for promotion ( Love them by the way both Dave and Liz) and Dave made a comment that you were one of the most complex and challenging sounding bands they worked... do you get that a lot promoters, labels, tours want to pigeonhole you and want a clear idea of sound and genre?
Jeff: I’m gonna take that as a gigantic compliment since their roster is made up of some seriously respected bands! If you listen to our record in its entirety, you’ll understand that our sound is very versatile and we blend genres within songs constantly. However, we’ve found that in approaching our music with this “open genre” policy, we are able to work with so many more bands, bills and tours.
Greg: Dave and Liz are fantastic, and we’re really pumped they’re into our record. So far, having a complex sound has only helped us out, and we’re finding audiences and promoters alike to be as open to our music as we are.
10. If you could produce a promo professional video, for what track would it be and how would it look?
Jeff: We’re actually in the midst of creating a few different music videos with different directors with varying production styles. One is very simple, DIY and had basically no budget, and the other video projects are more in depth as far as cinematography and production value.
11. Are the band fans or foes of the Social Media and Digital age? It seems to really be hit or miss in 2014 with both sides of the new age of music revolution..
Jeff: I am a huge advocate for social media and we try to stay on top of it as much as possible. It’s pretty crazy to have the opportunity to directly contact or interact with anyone at any time from the mini computer in your pocket.
12. Who would be the band you would love to tour with and why?
Jeff: There are a thousand bands I’d love to tour with. To name a few: Coheed and Cambria, Circa Survive, East Of The Wall, Cave In, Mutoid Man, A Perfect Circle, Tool, Smashing Pumpkins.
Greg: Van Halen, so I can fuck with their M&Ms.
13. Is there a story or theme behind With Haste On Its Breath?
Jeff: The overall theme behind With Haste On Its Breath is heartbreak, death, lost love, and learning to accept oneself even for the faults you cannot or have not changed. I touch on the death of my brother, an acquaintance’s child, and the relationship I thought was going to last forever.
14. Are there any bands that you know that could use the promotion and push the world should really know about if so tell us about a few..
Jeff: I was lucky enough to be asked to write and record vocals for a song called “Excessive Convulsive” with the band EAST OF THE WALL off their latest record “Redaction Artifacts.” The EOTW collective has been a gigantic influence on me in regards to the progressive metal world.
Beyond that, we’ve been fortunate to have played with hundreds of incredible bands while touring the country. I couldn’t possibly name them all. Also, I can’t say enough good things about the Akron Music Scene. The bands here work tirelessly to put Akron back on the map. Huffington Post just called Akron “The Liverpool of the Midwest.”
Greg: East of the Wall are hands down the most hard working musicians I've ever met. Give those dudes a listen.
15. Do the members of Maid Myriad play in any other projects?
Jeff: I do a solo acoustic thing under the name “JCK” which is basically stripped down Maid Myriad songs (and songs the band won’t let me play.) A few months ago I embarked on a three week “Public Transportation Tour” with nothing but a backpack, my acoustic guitar, and relied on trains/buses to get to all of the cities and gigs.
I also sometimes play in a “Hypnotic Dischordal Progressive Instrumental Rock” band called “MINTS” made up of a slew of heavy hitting musicians from other bands in Akron, OH.
Greg: For years my main creative outlet has been NJ based experimental weirdo prog 2-piece A Fucking Elephant, on hiatus since the release of our Seven Inches EP in 2013. Now that I'm back on the east coast I'm very excited to be working on new material. Expect AFE back on the scene in 2015.
Back in Akron I collaborated with outrageous dual-drummer psychedelic doom prog outfit Oden Heed. We've been laying low, but we have a bit more leg left to show, so look out for a sneak peek further up our skirt in the months to come.
16. Thanks for the time any closing thoughts here?
Greg: Thanks for your interest and support! We’re very excited to get back on the road this winter and again in early 2015. Pumped to hi-five old friends, see new faces, and eat avocados and peanut-butter-banana dogs every damn day. See you out there.