Now that your album Heavy Baby has been born, what kind of new material are you working on? Has there been any marked change in style, thematic material, or influences from your older stuff?
We're always chipping away at new songs and material. Even though an official recording or release might be a ways away, we like to incorporate a new song or two into our more recent live sets. And over the next year or so, people will hear these songs, or at least versions of these new songs at our shows. Over the last couple months especially, we've been doing a lot of lo-fi home demos, which usually ends up being a few different versions of one song. Since our very first release, State E.P, I don't think we see it necessarily as changing in style, but rather expanding off the building blocks we originally put in place. We still constantly draw heavily from our influences and each other.
How does songwriting go down with you guys?
It's very much a collaborative effort. One big prolific session would certainly be ideal, but we tend let the new songs evolve over time. We'll play them a million different ways, change parts, polish melodies and so forth. For many of them, it does take a bit of time for them to be finished, or at least feel finished. We've even changed a few arrangements of recorded songs in our live sets, because we realized after a while that it's more comfortable or fitted to play the song in a different way. We saw that a lot of that too in groups that we've very familiar with. You could know a band's album catalog like the back of your hand, and still see that one of your favorite songs has taken a new shape. For us, some of Heavy Baby was written in the studio when we were making it. Going forward, we're making it much more of a priority to set in stone our arrangements prior to any future albums or recordings.
What kind of plans for recording do you have in the future?
We'll definitely do more recording this year. Ideally, we'd like to do another full length album, and i think that's probably what will happen. But lots of planning has to take place, and we wouldn't want to rush it.
How do your live performances differ from your recorded ones?
I think a higher energy level really seeps through in our live sound. Our tones can also be a bit crunchier live, a little more raw. We also like to splash the audience with more electronic noises and effects. It helps with the transitions. We're also very much big fans of delay and reverb, which is something that wasn't necessarily always present on Heavy Baby. It was nice to dig through a variety of tones and sounds for Heavy Baby, but we feel that we're really starting to hit a stride with the execution of our live set now, particularly again how we transition into the album material and the new stuff as well.
What do you value most about performing live, and what do you want your audiences to get out of your live shows?
At this point, really just exposing more and more of our sound to people who haven't heard us before. We hope to go out and take an audience by surprise and make new fans out of them. We're not up there to impress them with any level of virtuousity, but of a real conviction of our songs and hopefully eclectic sound. As much as being one type of band like a punk or folk band is easier for an audience to leave and remember us by that type of definition, we just hope people are more interested to come see us again.
If you could perform with any other band, who would it be and why?
Ryan: I think each of us definitely have different answers for this one, For me, definitely Dr. Dog or Wilco. Easy Beat was practically my college freshman year
soundtrack and thus the pattern has continued with each of their new records. Scott McMicken and Toby Leaman have always been enormous influences for me since Mahgeetah started.
J.J.: This probably changes often, but at the moment I'd say Tame Impala They're the most promising rock band I've seen in years, putting on a truly exciting live show.
Do you feel like you belong to a certain scene, or that the bay area has shaped your music in anyway, or do you feel like you’re just doing what you’d be doing anywhere else in the country?
As the scene stands, I think we're on our own for now. We're certainly big fans of the psychdelic/garage rock movement that's sorta become the Bay Area's bread and butter for music, like Sleepy Sun and Thee Oh See's, but I don't think we've been lumped into a scene or with anyone with just yet. The Bay Area has shaped our sound certainly, I would say mostly by having the undeniable luxury of seeing so many great shows on a nonstop basis. It really is so special that the train never stops rolling in this town for live music.
Are there any local bands and/or venues you feel particularly close to? Why?
Definitely The Stone Foxes and The Soft White Sixties. The Stone Foxes, in particular, have always been big supporters of the band and vice versa and we've had the pleasure of sharing bills with them a few times now. I think we all especially had a moment show at the Great American Music Hall when we all went up and sang "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" by The Band together, yeah... a moment for sure. Bass player and singer Aaron Mort is also responsible for putting the Heavy Baby album art together and is even in the process now of creating our new website. The Soft White Sixties too are another great band who we love playing with and see constantly. Much love for those dudes.
If you had your way, where would Mahgeetah be in five years?
A few tours under the belt, making more records and hopefully sharing bills with the names we gave above.