26 Aug

“Make good songs, and people will find them and listen.”

Super fun duo, Maniac, has the talent and the passion to get noticed in this over-saturated world of music. The two started out in separate bands, but came together and served up a tall glass of catchy, inspired songs. Their recent release, Mania, comes with a refreshing sound and enthusiastic new beginning. In each song, you can hear the excitement that Jake Grigg and Shawn Harris share on their new venture. I love coming across music that instantly makes me happy and this is one of the bands that can achieve that. Here is my interview with Jake and Shawn.

Q. You were both in other bands before creating Maniac. How did you two come together?

A. Jake Grigg: I forgot but we started out with awesome fans so we must have been. 

Shawn Harris: Oh, we met at the grammies when we were nominated against each other for best male performer. 

Q. Do you have things you’d both like to achieve in this venture that you weren’t able to in your other musical projects?

A. Jake and Shawn: NO CRASH CYMBALS!

JG: And International success.  

SH: Which we cheated and started with.

Q. So far, you guys have released an EP last year and just last month you’ve released your first album, “Mania.” Are you planning on doing a large tour in support of the new album?

A. SH: We’re always planning on doing a large tour.

JG: We did a coast to coast tour of America with no money, and no car.  That was kind of the opposite of a large tour.

SH: It probably made the biggest impact on me of all the tours I’ve ever done though.  We found out it’s possible to live excessively on the excess of America. And we made lifelong friends of strangers.

Q. Many people were pretty distraught when The Matches announced that they were ending. In turn, you two started Maniac. To those people who are still iffy about letting go of the old and accepting the new, what would you say to them?

A. JG: Holding on to the past is like holding on to your dick. Eventually, it’s going to get hard.  

SH:  We would not say anything to them, we would just sing. 

Q. For the fans that have accepted the “new you”, what has been one of the best compliments you’ve received so far?

A. JG:  We have nice hairs.

SH: You guys are tall!

Q. How would you describe your sound to someone who isn’t familiar with your music at all?

A. SH: Fresh, melodic, pretty, and wild.

JG: I like that. Can you say I said I like that?

Q. I read a review somewhere saying that your music is like a modern day Wham (in the best way possible). Who are some of the bands you’re influenced by?

A. SH: oh, this is fun.

JG:  Lately, gotta say the Zombies.. so influenced by them at the moment.

SH: Paul and John.

JG: Paul and Art.

SH: Paul and Peter, and Mary.. haha- I just wanted another Paul. Prince, INXS, Hall and Oates.

Q. Having had a lot of experience in the music business so far, what advice would you give to a band just starting out? What would you wish you would have known back when you were just beginning?

A. Do it YOURSELF muthafuckas!  You know what kind of music you like to hear.  So make it, and love it. You don’t need anyone else to qualify it.

Q. These days, a lot of artists are releasing their music independently, using websites such as Kickstarter and Pledge Music. Do you feel that there is way more opportunity than there used to be in this business with the explosion of social networking?

A. It’s all the same. Make good songs, and people will find them and listen.

Q. If you were stranded on an island for the rest of your life and could only bring one of your songs to listen to, which one would it be and why?

A. SH: Do I have a ukulele? Because I could play some others too…

JG: Is there a PowerPoint, and what sort of stereo?

SH: Yea, I would assume that the stereo would necessitate all sorts of other problems, so I’m kind of thinking I have a ukulele.

JG: What would stop you from playing all of the songs?

SH: Exactly. Maybe selective amnesia?

JG: What’s that?

SH: I forget. But I do remember a song! (just one)

JG: Is it Hoodoo?

SH: That sounds fine.

Here is a live video for “Hoodoo” which just so happens to be my favorite song off of the album.


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