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the AU interview: Trev Griffin of Mayqueen (Adelaide)

I catch up with the lead singer of Adelaide rock outfit, Mayqueen, ahead of their appearance at the 2012 Fuse Festival.

Hey Trev, thanks for the chat! How’s your morning?

Hey I’m going well. It’s going pretty good, I’ve got the day off, so I’m just chilling out.

FUSE is coming up next week and Mayqueen are performing alongside The Battery Kids, Stomp the Dog and My Echo. Should be a great gig!

Yeah, hopefully! We’ve been getting right into promotions, so hopefully it should be pretty big.

This is the band’s second appearance at the FUSE festival, right?

Yeah, our second ‘official’ one. In 2009, it must’ve been, they were still setting it up differently, where you had to book your own venue and everything, and there were a few issues... we didn’t get our registration in on time, so we still played the gig but we weren’t part of the official showcase.

Considering you’ve done it before, were there experiences from that year that have affected the set you’ll be bringing this year?

Not so much with the performance, but with putting the effort in with promoting and actually getting the word out to delegates and stuff. Last year we all kind of left it to the last minute and didn’t send very emails out. No more being slack, we’ve got to get right on it!

There really is that focus on the bands doing their own promotion work, isn’t there?

Oh definitely. Because we’re self-managed as well...

Seeing as the FUSE Festival is as much about the industry meeting and observing live music as it is about punters being able to catch some free gigs – do you feel any sense of pressure when it comes to showcasing your music in this way?

Not that I’ve really thought about. I mean performing for me, is like...I go into a different mindset as soon as I get on stage and it all becomes a bit of a blur. I don’t really worry about that sort of thing because I know that I’m going to be putting 110% of my energy into putting on a good show. I never know how it’s going to turn out, but hopefully it’s all good!

The Unibar has the potential to pull a decent crowd – would it be one of the bigger stages you’ve played?

Yeah definitely, it’s going to be really good to have some room with everyone else on stage; I won’t be smacking my head into guitar heads and things like that!

For the live set up, how involved is everything? How many instruments are we talking?

Well we’re a five-piece set up, so we’ve got two guitars, bass, drums and me. So a lot of the stages in Adelaide can get pretty cramped!

How would you describe the process you take in approaching live shows, as a performer?

Yeah, most of the songs that we play in the live set, we’ve gotten pretty tight because we’ve been together for about three years. We just go up there and let it flow, I guess.

Speaking of influences, for those who might not know much about Mayqueen, how would you describe the vibe and sound of the band?

I would normally say that it’s pretty straight out rock. We have influences from classic rock from Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Hendrix, all that kind of stuff, through to nineties grunge and a bit more hardcore, like Soundgarden. We’ve also got a bit of more modern rock too, like Jet, Foo Fighters, all that rolled into a ball!

The media release I have says the band spent most of last year writing and recording – can you tell me a bit about the release I’m assuming will happen this year?

Yeah! We’re working around a few of us who are still studying and all of that, we’re planning touring in our holidays. We’re thinking, hopefully, an EP in the second half of the year, hopefully before. We’re trying to get interstate as much as we can between now and then, just to go over for a few short trips.

How hard is it, managing a band and having studying commitments at the same time, then?

It kind of works pretty well actually, because I’m studying Stage Management, so the skills are kind of crossing over into band management. That’s been really helpful. Over the past year I’ve met more people in the industry, mainly through TAFE, so it’s not been too bad. The course isn’t full on, so I’ve had a lot of time to work on it. It’s been alright, but it still does get in the way a bit because sometimes I’ll have production periods where I’m at TAFE twelve hours a day for a few weeks. Apart from that, it’s been pretty good.

In general, what’s the writing and production process been like for the band? Would you say it’s easy to get your music out and circulating healthily down here?

Not particularly, no. It comes back to us being slack once again; we often forget to take copies of our first EP to shows! We really need to start getting onto that sort of stuff! But apart from that, I don’t think live rock music has a really big local scene in Adelaide; metal and hardcore get a few more people out than usual but apart from that, most gigs I go to, I just don’t see the people out. I’m trying to figure out why that is...

You said that the band will be playing interstate as much as you can this year; have you ever thought about doing some recording interstate?

Oh not really. The way we recorded the tracks we have for the EP...we actually won the opportunity to go to a local studio in Norwood. We went in there and because it was a prize kind of thing, we didn’t want to take up heaps of his time so we decided to track all the instruments live. The ones we’ve done so far, we hadn’t actually overdubbed at all so it sounds really cool. We like that semi-raw, rock and roll feel to it.

Cool stuff! I know there’s going to be many, many acts performing all over the place when the FUSE is on, how would you pitch your show?

Well I reckon, the way I normally pitch it is that it’s just high energy and non-stop! The feedback I always get is that even if people aren’t particularly into rock music or anything, after they listen to us, they go, “I really don’t listen to stuff like what you guys do, but that was really amazing!” I think that the energy that we put into it, makes the show, even to people who don’t get into the music always.

Well thanks for the chat and best of luck!

Awesome, thanks so much for the opportunity!

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Mayqueen are appearing on the 2012 Coopers Fuse East line up, Wednesday the 23rd of February. Catch them at the Unibar performing from 9:30pm. For more information, check out www.fusefestival.com