INTERVIEW: Maple & Beech

Hi guys, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Hi and thanks for having us. Things are pretty good here in Minnesota… we just put out our first full-length album and the band is getting ready for our release show next week.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single, “Cavers?”?

“Cavers” was one of the first songs we wrote for the album. It was born from a simple keyboard part I had and grew into this thing with lots of horns and noise and percussive elements. The lyrics are pretty broad… it’s basically about the desire to be present. Worry is dumb. Getting off the phone and living in the real world. Typical pseudo-intellectual millennial crap.

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

I was driving home from work one day and saw a few bison on the side of the road. I must have driven past them hundreds of times but never noticed these gorgeous animals before. It made me wonder what else I’d been missing out on while obsessing over dumb anxieties.

How was the film experience?

We shot the video for “Cavers” at an indoor roller rink in our hometown called The Skatin’ Place. It stars our dear friend Nicole Wilder, who also sings some harmonies on the track. My brother, filmmaker Justin Tholl, captured it in a single shot. We had a blast.

The single comes off your new album RUNDAWDAW – what’s the story behind the title?

Most of the songs on the album are about repetition; running circles in the daily grind or obsessing over things in your mind. My young daughter used to say the word “rundawdaw” when trying to say “run around.” I liked the way it sounded and thought it fit with the theme of the album.

How was the recording and writing process?

Each song is different but we usually write in stages. First, Pete (the other half of Maple & Beech) and I will mess around with some drum grooves. I’ll chop them up in the computer, add some noise on top and send little melodic ideas back to him. If Pete says it isn’t absolutely horrible, I’ll finish the words and production stuff in my basement studio. We had a lot of help with these recordings: twenty of our pals played on the album (horns, strings, woodwinds, voices, etc) and it was mixed at this great studio in Minneapolis called Humans Win! by one of our heroes, Lance Conrad. This music wouldn’t have happened without the contributions of these artists.

What role does Minnesota plays in your music?

Minnesota, and the Minneapolis/St. Paul area in particular, has a thriving artist community. Great museums, music clubs, theater spaces, public radio. There are so many fantastic bands doing interesting things here. It’s a place where you feel free to explore weird ideas. That mentality definitely worked it’s way into this music; though we definitely write pop songs with simple melodies and structures, there’s a lot of experimentation and noise in there too.

Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

In his podcast, WTF, Marc Maron talks a lot about trying to find your authentic self through your art. I’m into that idea. Instead of trying to be poetic or obtuse like my writing has been in the past, I tried to be simple, direct, and honest with these lyrics. The songs are mostly about me: a thirty year old, obsessive, boring dude with a family and a quiet suburban life.

Any plans to hit the road?

We’d love to. Working on that right now.

What else is happening next in Maple & Beech’s world?

Pete’s staying busy at his studio (The Skeleton Room) and I’m trying to lose a little bit of weight. The band plans on playing more shows, writing more songs, and releasing more music.


About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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