Nova Scotia based experimental pop rockers Mauno (pronounced “mao-no” in case you weren’t sure) is formed of frontman Nick Everett and bassist Eliza Niemi, live drummer Adam White, and live guitarist Scott Boudreau. Their latest grunge oozing pop album ‘Rough Master’ is out now via Tin Angel Records. You can find the band live in Preston on May 26th at the New Continental.
How was Mauno first formed in the “weird little town” that Halifax is?
Eliza and I started by playing as a cello and guitar duo making folk music, brought together by our mutual love of The Books. We brought on a drummer who we swapped out for Adam and shortly thereafter brought Scott in on guitar and that’s the lineup now. It’s a small town and just about everyone involved in music knows everyone else.
‘Rough Master’ is such an eclectic album, yet it all somehow binds together cohesively. What would you say it’s general vibe is to somehow who has yet to listen to it?
Oh, we’re really bad at that. We try not to use language that defines what it is because that’s immediately limiting.
What’s the songwriting process like for Mauno? Lyrics or melody first?
Different for every song! I know that personally, I tend to come up with a random melody first, then make the arrangements and write the lyrics while recording, but Eliza has a slightly different process. Eliza comes up with a progression first and then writes the melody after. We both, as well as Scott on the upcoming record, bring our ideas, as half-baked as they are, to the table and we all work on them together at practice. It’s very collaborative the way we write.
In a surprisingly odd way, on some of your tracks – such as ‘Again’ – you’re reminiscent of Pixies to me. What sorts of artists are inspirations to your band?
The Books, Department Of Eagles, Cate Le Bon, Dirty Projectors, Fleetwood Mac, Paul Simon. I don’t think I’ve ever actually given a concerted listen to the Pixies, I’m embarrassed to admit.
Your track ‘Benny’ is an album highlight, with critics calling it “loose and ready to explode”. What is this song about lyrically?
It’s about laying a dream in a basket by the river, or in a safety deposit box, and then walking away forever and trying to redefine your life without it.
Eliza sings the lead on ‘Burn This’, how did this come about?
She wrote the song so she sings it! There’s a lot more collaboration and sharing on the new record we’ve just finished.
You’ve played the Motel Mozaique festival in Rotterdam last month, coming up this month, Brighton’s The Great Escape festival… How does the festival experience compare to smaller gigs at clubs for you?
It’s pretty different playing on a bigger stage, mostly because of how it sounds. The snare is so far away from me when I’m side stage and everything has to get pumped at you through a monitor. It’s really strange to have the most immediate and relatable part of your life mediated like that.
Mostly we’re just going to focus on playing songs and trying to not say anything too embarrassing in between. I will probably close my eyes, Eliza will stand sure-footed, Scott will move however he feels like moving, and Adam will kill it on drums, in ecstasy.
What’s up next for Mauno? Can fans (me included) expect any new music in the not so distance future?
Yep! We’re releasing a record this fall with Tin Angel Records out of Coventry and with Idée Fixe Records in Toronto. We’ll be back around UK and Europe come September/October. Just put out a 7” last week, too.
Photo credits: Ali Seglins