INTERVIEW: Michael Mayo

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

I’ve been great! Really looking forward to releasing this project, I’ve been sitting on it for a while and can’t wait for it to finally hit the open air.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “20/20″?

This song is about reflection. Taking a moment to really consider mistakes you’ve made, and using those lessons to your advantage as you grow. I think so often we just bypass those experiences and try to erase them, but I think it’s important to look back and actively learn.

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

There wasn’t necessarily an exact event for this song. I wrote the song in a hotel room in Gyumri, Armenia. I didn’t have a keyboard or any instruments, all I had was my mic and my computer. I think being so far from home with such a scant setup brought a particular kind of clarity. This was one of those rare songs that kind of write themselves. 

How was the filming process and experience behind the video?

The filming process was really fun. The video was produced by Alex Chaloff (Buckets Moving Company), who’s a pro when it comes to filming live bands. And the band on the video is Nick Campbell (bass), Ryan McDiarmid (drums), and Jacob Mann (keys). These guys have been my friends for a long time and the whole day felt like butter. I couldn’t ask for more than a fun day playing music with friends. Especially since Covid, that experience feels so much more novel now more than ever.

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

So my album, ‘Bones’, is about thoughts, experiences, and memories I’ve accumulated in recent years since moving to New York. Each song makes up a little piece of this current iteration of me. And Bones felt like an apt way to describe that.

How was the recording and writing process?

The writing process for this project spanned about a year, and there were things I thought would make it on the album that didn’t, and things that made it that I thought wouldn’t. That was one of the most eye-opening parts of the process, just generally realizing that it’s all elastic. You can’t be married to anything, because you never know when inspiration might call you to do something else. The recording process was amazing. I was surrounded by good music, good friends and dope pedals and gear. The stuff of dreams! Eli Wolf played a huge role in creating such a great vibe and making these songs a reality. And Teddy Tuthill our engineer really knew what he was doing. All in all, I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

What role does NYC play in your music?

New York had always sort of called me from afar. I spent a summer here while I was in grad school and that’s when I knew I needed to move there. There’s an energy here that really pushes me to create in a different way. Within 3 days of getting to New York that summer, I had already written a full song, which ended up being my first single and the first song on the album, ’The Way’. I also think the sheer variety of experiences here has helped me realize that genre-bending is something that really resonates with me.

How do you normally go on balancing your classical training with your much modern sensibilities?

Honestly, I feel like they tie in really well to each other. I look back on my time at New England Conservatory and I still use so many of the skills I learned there. Ear training, making charts, listening to and considering a wide array of music. These are all things that I don’t even question now but that really kicked off when I started going to NEC. I think the main thing that they both have in common is open mindedness. I always want to have a widening view of the music, so I think any sort of ‘classical’ training is just another pigment in the overall tapestry.

What aspect of your life did you get to explore on this record?

I explored a lot of different things. From identity and authenticity to breakups and family vibes. This project is kind of a catch all for the things I’ve been thinking and feeling lately.

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

Some of the songs were drawn from real experiences of mine, be it dating, breaking up, coming out, just generally being an adult living in today’s world. Others, were more abstract and focused on creating a world more so than mirroring ours.

What can fans can expect from your debut album Bones?

They can expect new sonic explorations and music that comes from my own true perspective. I wanted to really record who I am right now, because you never know what might change moving forward. I hope people resonate with it.

What else is happening next in Michael Mayo’s world?

I’m currently starting to write for album #2! I don’t have anything concrete yet, but as this release approaches I’m already itching for the next project. I’m excited to see what shape that’s gonna take. I also am excited to start performing in real life again as things are starting to trickle back in. I hope you guys dig the album!

Pre-Save Michael’s debut album Bones:

WATCH Music Video for “20/20:”

WATCH Music Video for “You and You:”

WATCH Music Video for “The Way:”

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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