Seasons are good things; they bring rhythm to life. Things bloom, grow, and then sometimes lay dormant in preparation for something new.
We decided to take a season of downtime in 2010 to spend some time with our families and give some attention to other areas of our lives. Just before we did that, however, we went into our studio and decided to attempt to capture the sounds that had been inspiring us. Not only that but we decided to approach this record differently than anything we’d ever done before: embracing limitations, and intentionally putting ourselves in artistically uncomfortable situations. We “sprinted” through the sessions, and found some unexpected gold.
We called the resulting collection of songs, Signs of Life, and we’re pleased to announce that they are available now on iTunes. We’re extremely proud of them, and we sincerely hope that you hear the hope, excitement, and soul that’s there.
With the season of reflection and rest behind us, we think it’s time to get back to producing and sharing some music with everyone. so we’re already slowly collecting new songs, and are planning to play some shows around the southeast. We’d love to see you there, and to hear from you in the meantime.
Though 2010 was a difficult year in a lot of ways for us — both as individuals and as a band — we know that we’re stronger friends, better musicians, and hopefully more thoughtful human beings than we were 14 months ago…
And I think that’s what ultimately matters.
February 22, 2011 // posted by: eric // permalink
August 31, 2010 // posted by: nathan // permalink
There is a scene from Thornton Wilder’s play, The Angel That Troubled the Water. A doctor comes to a healing pool every day wanting to be healed of his melancholy and his gloom and his sadness. Finally the angel appears. The doctor goes to step into the water but the angel blocks his path, saying, “No, step back, the healing is not for you.” The doctor pleads, “But I’ve got to get into the water. I can’t live this way.” The angel says, “No, this moment is not for you.” And he says, “But how can I live this way?”
“Broken on the Wheels of Love”
I don’t know why
You made a mistake
You were so good to me
I saw your dress
You had a good time
You were so good to me
All the stories in the lonely places
Broken on the wheels of love
October 19, 2009 // posted by: Band // permalink
Eric will be playing a free show at Tallahassee RedEye coffee shop (1122 Thomasville Rd) on Saturday night with a very special guest.
New songs; great coffee; good times.
September 15, 2009 // posted by: Band // permalink
It was a sweatbox;
And rock music poured out loud -
September 11, 2009 // posted by: Band // permalink
Thought I’d give you all an update as to what we’ve been up to. In a sense, it’s been a quiet few months since April: Birmingham, Gainesville, Warehouse, etc.
But just because it’s been quiet doesn’t mean that it hasn’t been productive…
We’ve been laughing a lot.
Throwing off some creative shackles.
Revisiting old friends.
Not only that, but we’ve been graduating, preparing for weddings, building houses, shipping off our children to other states, shipping off our parents(?) to other states, and in general trying to stay as cool as possible.
These activities — along with the requisite existential meltdowns — have comprised our spring and early summer.
We’ve been using this time to do as much creating as possible given the state of our collective lives. We’re enjoying the process, going down trails that prove to be rabbit holes, following our noses into the deep, preternatural forest then retreating, glad for the bread crumbs we’ve dropped along the way.
New | old colors and tools are beginning to find their way onto our pallet. Names like Marvin and T-Bone, Motown and Jagger/Richards are being referenced. Words and phrases like, “Use the 57”; “Neve”; “Warmer” and “Spirit” are finding their way into our lexicon.
I daresay, we’re making the most exciting music of our lives.
Who knows what will emerge from this cocoon, but I think we’re learning about each other, and we’re becoming better friends, artists, and pilgrims. Right now our plan is to release some of this music in the near future, but we’re not putting deadlines on this process; it’s too precious for that.
We are planning some live shows in August and September, and we think that we’ll all enjoy getting to know each other again.
We promise to let you know when the cocoon opens…
June 23, 2009 // posted by: Band // permalink
The hawk sores,
May 11, 2009 // posted by: Band // permalink
You’d know what we were talking about if you were there… If you ask, maybe we will tell you a story, but we like to keep our cards close to our chest.
March 29, 2009 // posted by: Band // permalink
Maida Vale Paints Musical Portraits
You’ve probably heard the beginning of this story a time or two: High school buddies pick up instruments, play around in several bands and eventually drift off into their own careers or form the band that carries them into adulthood. Tallahassee, Fla., residents Josh Fruit, Justin Barfield, Nathan Lee and Stratton Glaze follow that model, having played together and in other bands for about 10 years.
But the storyline changed when Eric Case moved from Chicago to Tallahassee in 2006. He added a new dynamic to the group and they formed Maida Vale, an Americana band with ambient rock tendencies. The band will perform at 8 p.m. Saturday night at O Kafes in Pepper Place.
Birmingham Box Set: What brought you to Tallahassee?
Eric Case: Job move. I had been playing in Chicago, and I also had been working at churches. The music thing was kind of helping to pay the bills, but you know there’s no health insurance. But I’ve got family. We decided to just look around and see if we couldn’t find a more steady gig. I actually work at a church down here in Tallahassee, and that’s how I met all the rest of those guys. But essentially, it was just in the interest of making a good decision for the health of my sanity and my family.
BBS: What led to the formation of Maida Vale?
EC: Basically, not to be melodramatic, but it’s essentially my baby. I got down here and I just wanted to do something creative. I had come off of potentially playing guitar as a sideman for years. But when I moved to Tallahassee, it was the first time I was like, man, I just really want to do something that is just really creative and a really dynamic thing. It really started with Justin Barfield, because he was kind of the first guy I got to know. I was like, hey, let’s start a band.
I think also because it was the first time in my life that I had a lot of free time because I didn’t have all these gigs to go to. I wanted to try my hand at songwriting a little bit. Justin introduced me to all the guys slowly but surely. Everybody was kind of at the same time of their life where they weren’t really busy musically.
… They wanted to do something together musically, and I had the vision and the drive to get something off the ground.
BBS: Music writers always use genres to classify a band—partly because it helps people whohaven’t heard you decide if they want to give the music a listen. But I’m also really interested in hearing how you would describe Maida Vale’s sound.
EC: Musicians always like to their inspiration mysterious, but Maida Vale was born heavily out of what Wilco was doing … combination of really earthy, folky songs with noisy and sometimes ambient sounds. It was really born out of that place. Also, just the interest of trying to write songs that were lyrically very personable and descriptive. That’s kind of where I breathe as a songwriter. Just trying to say—not deep things, but things that are really close to my heart and close to my soul, honest places.
I think we kind of combined intimate lyrics and telling these small stories about people with a certain amount of applying this cinematic approach to music … trying to paint the images of the songs. I think that still governs our approach to the music now.
BBS: How do you balance touring with work?
EC: Right now it’s not that much of an issue, but basically we try to be … as intentional and precise about when we travel. We don’t travel just to travel, and we don’t play shows just to play shows. We don’t play Tallahassee very much and that helps. We know that our time is limited and it’s also very valuable. If we’re going to go out of town, we try to make sure it works as successfully as possible and that it’s a place that makes sense. Not financially, necessarily—like we need to go here to get new fans, we don’t go just to go.
I guess what I’m saying is right now, everyone just takes off vacation and we go when we can, and we drive all night just to get back in time to go to work.
BBS: What’s ahead for y’all?
EC: Right now—this is going to sound horrible—we’re actually sort of in a goal-less time right now. This band was started with such intense pressure, we just hit the ground running as hard as we could. We recorded an EP that was recognized by iTunes, and then we recorded a more or less full length that was again recognized by iTunes. We’re barely two years old right now, and everything we’ve done has had such goals and intentions to it, that we’re in the midst of trying to take the pressure off right now.
We have our own studio space, so we’re using that to experiment with how we will approach recording. We’re trying to take the opportunity to meander just a little bit and say, how can we be more creative with the way we approach the studio. … And in that, just trying to give ourselves permission to take time for a little bit. The best music, most of the time, is made under relaxed circumstances. So we’re like, we’ve got to figure out a way to help ourselves relax a little bit and put off some goals right now to have fun writing and have fun playing together.
On a personal note, Maida Vale’s Josh Fruit was part of the soundtrack to my college experience. Fruit played in several groups I listened to while at Florida State University, and at one point was my next door neighbor.
March 26, 2009 // posted by: Band // permalink
…except one. Just one rule. You have to be inspired. We’re not really sure what that looks like either. But we’re discovering.
Two weeks ago we started our next album. The day before we had thrown everything away. All ideas, all rules, all timelines. We wiped the slate clean and declared room to breathe. We shared with each other our hopes for this season and in doing so realized that our collective desire was to make something meaningful. To ourselves and hopefully to you the supportive listener.
So far we have begun work on just one new song in the studio. You will not be expecting these sounds.
I keep telling the boys that this record is going to be the color blue. Not physically. Musically. I can’t really tell you what that means. But I think you’ll hear it one day. And you will hear the color blue.
If you had been in the studio with us tonite you might have been confused. Nobody was in charge. Nobody told the team how they were going to work or what it would look like. We started with Eric and I tracking some electrics. Then Stratton, Nathan and myself began whiteboarding and brainstorming layouts for a new website. Then Justin and Eric started from scratch on a song idea. Then Nathan joined them on drums while Stratton and I really dug deep for inspiration on the website layout. It probably looked like chaos. But if you looked close enough you would have seen we were operating just on the edge of chaos. Work – good work – was actually taking place.
In the end, the new song took more shape when Stratton and Nathan made Eric and I roll off our tone knobs to a far more warm sound. The riff Justin was toying with turned into a jam which turned into a rough song structure when Eric picked up the bass and infused some of his own ideas. And a website layout born out of countless whiteboards, true inspiration and conviction was discovered.
It’s only been two weeks, but thus far inspiration was the rule and it was the outcome. We promise to keep filling you in on what that inspiration looks like each week. You play a larger part in this than you may realize.
February 18, 2009 // posted by: Band // permalink