Meet The Maslows

They’ve settled in to the live music scene around the GC and Brisbane and have quickly amassed more than a handful of gigs along the way. And now the band is firing on all cylinders. Jodie Bellchambers shot the breeze with Aaron Fenech from The Maslows.

You’re firing. Have you considered breaking up the set with a few acoustic numbers?  Have you ‘bared all’ by playing an acoustic set or with one other instrument?

We have actually been discussing breaking up the set with some interpretive dance but we are not really sure how we can work it in! No just kidding! Earlier this year we did two shows at the Loft completely ‘unplugged’ which we really enjoyed. We did a modified set and stripped it right back and just used acoustics and light percussion. We have seen loads of really good rock bands do this and if it’s done right in the right setting, it can be pretty cool experience for all.

We know this momentum and musical content doesn’t happen overnight,  how did it all come together?

I first started jamming with Mark (bass) and Jon (drums) in 2013. Back then we were mostly just feeling out our individual musical influences and having some fun, but something just started to click. By early 2014 Eugene (lead guitar) had joined the band and you could definitely feel ‘that sound’ starting to come together. During 2014 I was almost writing a song every two weeks and we could rehearse a new song once or twice  then everyone would just lock in and do their thing! It really started coming together pretty fast. As a band we rehearsed relentlessly for nearly eight months before we played our first gig at the Currumbin Tavern in November 2014.

You have a conventional rock flavour thanks to drum, bass and guitars, but the sound is edgier thanks to a few interesting key and tempo changes.  What song(s) are you most proud of.

I guess I’m proud of all the songs that we play at our live shows as there are loads that never make it out of the rehearsal room. Those interesting dynamics and key changes are definitely a signature of the band and the sort of music we want to play. If I had to choose one of my favourites though for key and tempo changes it would be Translucent Ride. There are loads of interesting guitar parts, delays and the drumming is just insane. We all love the ending as it gets a little dark and unhinged!

Your voice has a tinge of the earthy Vedder vibrato  –  who are your musical influences  and what’s on high rotation on your music device of choice?

Most of the music I got into growing up I was exposed to through watching surfing movies. Bands like the Smashing Pumpkins, Alice in Chains, Janes Addiction, Pearl Jam and even the Cult and a little closer to home bands like Powderfinger. These days I’ll just about listen to anything but on high rotation at the moment is some Silversun Pickups and British India! I’m really digging their sound.

You all  hold down day jobs and craft your music in mates’ garages and retrofitted spare rooms in the suburb of Miami.  How do you envisage the thriving arts scene here being better?

Here’s an idea….perhaps we can ditch the car park at Talley and bring back something like the old Playroom as a venue? All jokes aside though, there is a real positive swing back towards a live music scene here on the Gold Coast and there are a few that are leading the charge in this arena. Blank GC being one of them! Initiatives like the Gold Coast Music Awards will hopefully put the spotlight on the local music scene (although I actually forgot to enter the band) and should raise its profile nationally which should have a flow on effect. Personally I would love to see more opportunities for bands to play to bigger numbers and perhaps on bigger stages, so more genre specific venues are needed and music festivals that focus on alternative music or rock bands would be a good start!

You recently played at the new musical co-op venue at Waxy’s Irish Pub. Mark Kearns (bass) was playing one of your handmade guitars.  How did you get that polished vanilla ice creamy lacquer?  And was your own guitar a Fenech original as well?

Yes it is a rather creamy looking guitar but it’s actually a light grey, it may have just been the lights shining on it that night? Mark trusted me to custom build him one and choose the colour – I thought this suited his ‘low key’ personality! He loves it and it sounds unreal which is the most important thing I guess! Yes the guitar I was playing was one I hand built a few months ago now. The timber came from a friend’s farm near Lennox which he tells me had been sitting for some 50 yrs. so I wanted to do something special with it. The guitar is a ‘one off’ and it sounds incredible!

What is the most satisfying, writing song lyrics or making a guitar from a piece of wood?

That’s a tough one. Both are a creative outlet I guess and one more often than not can inspire the other. With song writing it tends to encapsulate what I might be feeling at a point in time and can quite often be a cathartic process. You don’t always know how it will start, transpire or even end but you know you just have to write it down and explore the possibilities. With guitar building there is a certain amount of theory that must be followed but the rest is up to the imagination of the builder. I generally have a preconceived idea of what the guitar will look and sound like before I even commence and it largely depends on the timber. Both can be pretty damn satisfying but can equally cause me some grief along the way when things don’t quite work out!

You transformed your carpentry skills into guitar making, where and how did you learn the Art of guitar making?

It was something that always fascinated me. I’m one of those people that just have to know how stuff works or even how things are made. Like most people my first guitar was an acoustic and still to this day I do the majority of song writing on an acoustic guitar but I have always wondered if I could build one. A few years ago I committed to taking some time off work and went to Melbourne and studied with a Luthier. The training was quite intensive but I got to learn about all aspects of guitar building from timber selection through to complicated bracing techniques and guitar set ups. I built my first guitar alongside him with his expert guidance and managed to work on a bunch of other instruments whilst there. Since that time I have just been building guitars non-stop both acoustic and electrics and have kept reading books and studying the art form. Something tells me it’s going to be a lifelong obsession so watch this space!

You already have a neatly packaged set list of driving original songs, is there an album coming out?

That certainly is the plan. We recorded three tracks last year which was a really cool experience and are heading back into the studio in early August to lay some more songs down. Probably the hardest thing is deciding which ones to record to be honest as we now have so many. Generally we use our live shows to test this stuff out and see how the crowds react to certain songs. We have held off releasing anything formally up until this point as we want to see how the next batches of songs turn out in the studio before deciding on what order to release things. Most probably a single by September and then an album by early next year as we are trying to get things organised to play a run of shows up and down the east coast!

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The Maslows play on 3 July at 20:00 @ The Coolangatta Hotel

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