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INTERVIEW: Mike Mains & The Branches

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

Hey! We’ve been busy as bees and so excited about everything that’s going on in camp MM&TB.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Breathing Underwater?

It’s a song that explores a painful patch in our marriage and personal lives.

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

The main event was triggered by my therapist who suggested the best way to find healing was through songwriting. In a way this song makes me feel a bit like people are reading my thoughts or listening to my counseling sessions. Vulnerability is hard, but the hope is that other people find comfort in knowing there is beauty beyond pain.

Any plans to release a video for the single?

Yes! The video is out and in the wild for all to watch – we’re really proud of  it and hope you take the time to check it out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KT3jGjyxpgE

The single comes off your new album When We Were In Love – why did this release take a bit longer?

Life got it in the way, which sounds like a cop out. But up until this last year I’ve held another full-time job and we’ve had a lot of financial strain among other strains on our personal lives and we considering folding our cards for a couple of years. We weren’t sure there was a need for our music anymore. But then we got through all of that doubt and found that we still wanted to make music and went back to the studio and make the album we wanted to listen to. There are no guarantees that a band will be successful so we decided to make whatever we wanted to make. From here on out we plan to make every album like it’s our last.

What’s the story behind the title?

The title come’s from a line in the album’s closer called “Swamp”. I wrote swamp on a day when Shannon left to go run some errands as I listened to her car pull away I thought about what I’d do if she never came back. Then I  found a note that she gave me for Valentines day she had made. It said “You had me at merlot.” That’s the first line of the song.  A big theme on the album is Kintsugi, which is a Japanese tradition of repairing broken pottery with gold. The idea is that the cracks on display after you repair the broken pottery don’t make it ugly, they let the light in.

How was the recording and writing process?

Long. So so so so so long. We worked on it for over two years.

What aspect of love and marriage did you get to explore on this record?

Brokeness and beauty. The songs capture the highs and lows of love. The times where you want to drink too much and fall asleep inside your car in the garage because you feel so far away from redemption. The times where nothing in the world makes sense except the person in front of you who makes you laugh until your ribs hurt.

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

Raymond Carver’s short stories, The Great Gatsby, the movie Boyhood, Bruce Sprinsteen’s Born To Run Autobiography and a book called  ‘Telling the truth: The Gospel as  Tragedy, Comedy & Fairytale’ by Friedrich Buechner

What was it like to work with Matt Hoopes and Zac Farro? How did those relationships develop?

Matt is a dear friend and will always be. I was actually on tour when Zac tracked drums for our second album. He and I drank a LaCroix in Matt’s kitchen a few months later and he hugged me and said he loved the album. That’s the last time I talked to him. Ha.

How much did they get to influence your sophomore album?

Hoopes had a significant impact. He would always tell me when he felt the songs or production was falling short. Making that album was a really hard job for all of us and we never would have done it without Matt.

Any plans to hit the road?

Actually, yes! We’re heading out on tour March-April and playing some Northeast & Midwest shows. The record comes out while we’re on tour, so it will be cool to showcase these songs before, during, and after the release and see how fans react to the new ones. We’ve got a great band surrounding us and can’t wait to hit the pavement in a few weeks.

What is happening next in Mike Mains & The Branches world?

Hopefully more touring in the fall with some summer shows. And always writing and tinkering with some new song ideas.

Listen “Breathing Underwater”

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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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