Meet Maybird, one of the first signings to Danger Mouse’s 30th Century Records. The Rochester and Brooklyn-based, psych-rock-flavored band just released their debut EP,Turning Into Water and have now gone right back into the studio to record their full-length album.
ATYPICAL SOUNDS had a nice chat with founder Josh Netsky about what we can expect, what the music scene in Rochester is like, and where to get the best pizza.
Congratulations on your brand new EP, Turning Into Water. Did you do anything to celebrate its release?
Thank you, and yes! We had a great release party on the rooftop of The Standard East Village. It overlooks the city and the view is spectacular. We played the EP plus a few newer and older tunes and the crowd was amazing.
Is there anything you learned during the production of the EP that you wish you had known going into it?
Sort of, it was a pretty long time between now and when we began with these songs. Years ago actually (not purposely). But giving things time is very important, and we gave this EP a lot of time. We made a bunch of tiny, tiny changes even after songs had been “done” for months. I think that was a valuable lesson, learning to listen for a while before calling it “done.”
I heard you’re working on a new album. Is there a part of that process you most enjoy or look forward to?
Working on new music in the studio is my favorite part of being a musician – the whole thing is enjoyable because it’s all creation and idea sharing. Building a song up from its roots. Hearing songs come together and morph into their own things in the studio just makes you feel crazy in a good way.
I know it’s an imprint of Columbia, but I’ve read about the emphasis Brian (Mr. Mouse?) is putting on retaining each artist’s unique sound and perspective. Did you feel like other labels weren’t offering you that?
We had no label interest prior to 30th Century. I’d sent music to a few labels but gotten no bites. I couldn’t be happier working with Brian, it feels comfortable working with someone who you know is an artist himself and has been in the music world for a while. He’s definitely putting an emphasis on retaining the sounds of artists on the label, which is great, and they all sound dope.
How does the Rochester music scene differ from that of NYC? Are there musicians local to Rochester you think deserve more attention?
The Rochester music scene feels like a big family, lots of different types of music and tons of bands all supporting each other. And a lot of folks in the scene literally are family. It’s great. New York is just full of talent, there’s always good shows to see every night and all these little scenes and bands that are connected to each other. Tons of hidden gems. And yes, there are a lot of bands in Rochester that deserve a wider audience, although many are doing great things right now. To name a few of our favorites: The Demos, Harmonica Lewinski, Thoroughbred, Auld Lang Syne.
Are there any music venues in Rochester you’re particularly fond of?
The Bug Jar is a classic Rochester venue that we have a pretty deep history with. They bring in all these great bands before they blow up – so if you’re hip to it you get to see bands like Arcade Fire and Future Islands play in a little intimate room. A year later they’re selling out concert halls.
Which places have the best pizza in Rochester and NYC?
Joe’s and Vinnie’s in Brooklyn. Acme is legit in Rochester, and the Pizza Stop.
You seem like someone who would know a lot about psychedelic music. Are there any albums from the 60s you can recommend to someone looking to expand their record collection?
Here are a few: The 13th Floor Elevators – Easter Everywhere, The Yardbirds – Self Titled, Dino Valente – Dino Valente, Can – Tago Mago, Captain Beefheart – Safe as Milk, Sly and the Family Stone – Life
What would you say is the least glamorous part about being in a band? Do you guys still have day jobs?
There are parts of playing shows and recording and whatnot that are stressful – lifting a bunch of gear, late nights, early mornings, etc. We are all full time musicians now. Most of us work in music – teaching lessons, gigging, recording sessions. Up until pretty recently I had a day job managing a co-working space in Union Square where I still help out once in a while.
Do you have any plans for 2016 in addition to the album? Do you have any live dates coming up?
Lots of work. We’re kinda playing it by ear right now, but we want to hit the road after we get the album in the can. Coming up we’ve got:
May 19th – World Cafe (Non-COMMvention) – Philadelphia
May 21st – Funk n Waffles – Syracuse
June 18th – Anthology – Rochester, NY