On April 19 ASP Pop Music will host a benefit for LOA Records in the Viking Union Multi-Purpose room at 7 p.m. Tickets are $12 for students and $16 for general admission.
Hailing from Virginia, Mae has gathered a large following of fans since their debut in 2003. With sweet, harmonic sounds reminiscent of early 60s rock and other pop groups like Jimmy Eat World, Mae continues to surprise audience’s senses with their music.
Their name stems from a research project band member Jacob Marshall worked on about aesthetic theory and what makes things beautiful.
After two years of touring, Mae released their first album The Everglow, in 2005, which sold 130,000 copies in the first week.
Recently, I was able to speak with lead vocalist and guitar player Dave Elkins about the band’s experience in the last four years.
Rosie Sabaric: You guys have been around since 2003, but it was two years later when Mae’s first album was released. Since then you’ve basically been somewhat non-stop. What’s that been like for you?
Dave Elkins: It’s been nice. We sort of just started pursuing the band and it’s been non-stop for over the last four years now.
RS: With one album Mae was able to gain a quick following. Now you have a special edition cd in stores, what do you think about all the fan-fare?
DE: Well, we’ve been touring, like I’ve mentioned, without fail for the last four years. I think that word-of-mouth, internet and all the things that sort of make music so different, say from the way it was ten years ago, were radio and T.V. being the only ways to find out about bands. Really, it’s up to the bands drive and work ethic with how little money there was to play for and how few people in the crowd there were to play in front of. It sort of all starts there. Once you realize that you can sort of touch one person, you kind of want to keep doing it. We just got lucky sometimes and wrote good music and the rest just kind of fell into place for us.
RS: I’m also really curious about the writing, who does most of it for the group?
DE: It’s pretty collective. We’re all able to play each other’s instruments, which is pretty fun, so we kind of know what to expect out of each other and how to challenge each other musically. I tend to write more of the lyrics. I definitely want to sing about something that I can personally relate to. The music, these days, the driving source of our band, is the fact we’ve been doing this for four years together and we know we have a lot we can learn from each other and what to write and that is something that challenges us to write songs.
RS: So with that said, what do you feel you’ve personally learned both as a musician and as a person that you bring into your music?
DE: I was 20 years old when our first record came out. I’m passed 25 now. So basically, I feel like I’ve been able to get out of a small town way of thinking in Virginia growing up as a kid. I’ve been able to see at least the country and know it well enough. We spent our first couple years in a van driving around and becoming familiar with truck stops.
DE: It’s just helped me understand how big and small the world is. When I got out, I realized how many different ways of thinking I’ve come across just by talking with people in bands and people that we met at shows. It’s really opened my mind to be able to play in places like Japan and London. It’s helped me realize that there is a lot to take in and a lot to learn. You never stop growing or changing as a person. I didn’t think I’d be playing music at 25 when I was 18 because I didn’t think growing up in the part of the country I did that it really offered me a chance to play music, but now I realize it’s not as difficult as I thought it would have been. I try to challenge people to do something with their life that they don’t think they can do, but dream they can do because I feel like I’m a prime example of someone who is living a dream.
RS: So is that the kind of impact that you hope people will take from Mae’s music?
DE: Yea, I hope so. I mean life isn’t always full of hope and sometimes things don’t work out the way you want it to. But, I would love for people to come away from our music with hope and determination beyond complacency at least. Music can dig in, and I want people to be effected.
RS: When are you going to have some new music out?
DE: It’s due out sometime in July or August of this year. We spent (last week) recording two more songs in addition to the 14 or so that we recorded in the fall. So there are plenty of songs to choose from. It’s our first time on a major label, just experiencing the major record label and confusion and everything else that comes with it. But, I do feel we’ve recorded the best record with the best songs that we’ve ever put together as a band. I think the music will speak for itself.
RS: How will it be different?
DE: We’re all writing and I feel like we’re writing the songs where each of them are reaching their musical potential. I feel like we just have to do something creatively. As a musician, I feel like I get to write with better description because of the guys I write with. I think the themes are more personally connecting. I definitely feel like there is a lot of myself in this record. I’m looking forward to hear what people think about the lyrics. I feel like with every record our band gets to evolve and I feel this is a step in that direction.