Hold on onto your seatbelt because we taking a trip back on time to the Golden Days of Rock n’ Roll when The Beatles dethroned the greatest Elvis Presley and The Beach Boys took by storm the beaches and homes of many in and outside the US. MAZES newest EP The Violent Tapes really sounds like a missing gem from the 60s with its harmonious choruses and guitars, the whole background is filled with this epic, haunting sounds and noises that serves as the cherry at the top of the cake.
Mazes began in 2009 as an escape from songwriter Edward Anderson’s lavish main project, The 1900s. Seeking relief from the pressures of ‘making it’ as a band, Anderson retreated into the coach house studio (a former S&M dungeon) of his friend Charles d’Autremont, where they spent countless nights running sound experiments and crafting emotional pop gems. This lead to 2009’s “Mazes” album. As the momentum grew, the band’s line- up took shape and years of live shows, goofing off and low-pressure recording sessions turned into the confounding, blasted out, GBV-influenced “Mazes Blazes.”
When d’Autremont left Chicago after recording “Blazes,” they vowed to continue the project, though they were unsure just how. Having jumped around from New York to Paris, Italy and Moscow, d’Autremont finally set up camp at a family home in Buenos Aires, where he had spent his teenage years living with his Grandfather, dropping out from society and “learning bizarre piano chords all day.” Fed up with his current status in the Midwest, Anderson quit his job of 11 years and joined his friend in Argentina, embarking upon a 4-year adventure that resulted in The Violent Tapes.
Shortly after Anderson’s arrival in Buenos Aires, the two met Federico Bramanti, a simpatico soul and drummer who quickly joined the band and introduced Edward and Charlie to other musicians from the underground psychedelic pop scene in the city (including the son of famous Tango composer Astor Piazzola). Over the course of the next 6 months, Mazes jammed, drank maté and Fernet, composed and recorded music with a bunch of new friends – tracking wherever they could – in various apartments dripping with faded aristocratic glory, castles, bookstores, parks and sometimes even an actual studio. The songs themselves took inspiration from Anderson and d’Autremont’s shared obsession with documentaries of Detroit gang culture in the 70’s, Italian film soundtracks, secret societies, fantastical author Julio Cortázar, photographer David Lamelas’ mysterious photo series “The Violent Tapes of 1975” (The album’s title and art are an homage) and Argentine psych-rock heroes Luis Alberto Spinetta and Charly Garcia.
After returning home to Chicago, Anderson set out compiling the sessions and making sense of the insanity. Four years later, and help from producer/mixer Tim Sandusky (Lola Wolf, Ezra Furman), “The Violent Tapes” came to be. The result is a completely intense, strange, epic, intimate, heartbreaking, mysterious and beautiful collection of songs. All it took was 5 years, 3 countries, a few International plane tickets, countless arguments, endless rollies and a bit of luck.