Q&A with Mae

Prefacing Mae’s visit to Salt Lake City on April 4 as part of their current national tour, the band’s drummer, Jacob Marshall, took some time to answer a lot of questions about the band and the tour. Here are some of the questions and answers from the interview:

College Times: I’ve heard the name Mae is actually an acronym for "multisensory aesthetic experience." Where did this idea with the acronym come from?

Jacob Marshall: I went to college at a university called Old Dominion University here in Norfolk, Virginia. That’s where Dave and I met. Dave was interested in studying music composition and I created a major called aesthetic theory.

Aesthetic theory explores the different perspectives of all the different fields of study like psychology, philosophy or any of that stuff on why human beings react the way they do to art. In particular, the emotion and the feeling that comes with their perception of the information. That led to this term called the "multisensory aesthetic experience," which was really just like a study of how art could be combined to communicate whatever the artistic idea was trying to communicate.

CT: What is your favorite song or your favorite aspect of the new album, Singularity?

JM: The song that makes the most sense to me is "Reflections." I would say musically and lyrically that’s probably my favorite song off this record.

CT: On the flip side, what would you say is your least favorite song or part of the album? What would you do differently if you did the album over?

JM: We had written a song called "Crazy 8s" and played it on a tour leading up to going in to record the record. I feel like the label saw a lot of potential in that song to be the lead single and just worked the chorus of the song to death and changed it around.

CT: On the tour what can fans expect?

JM: We’ll be playing a lot of songs from that album; there’s a poll on our MySpace where people can actually vote to get the songs that they want. Another thing on this tour that we are doing, and that I’m really excited about, is something we started last year, partnering with different charities. We’re trying to learn as much as we can about the different organizations out there and exude our learning and share what we’re learning with our fans. This time we’re going out with Habitat for Humanity. What we’re doing is, every show, before the doors open, we’ll be playing an acoustic set right inside and anyone will be able to come in and be involved. All it takes is like a five dollar donation to Habitat for Humanity and they can come inside and hang out with us for like a good 30 or 45 minutes.

CT: What does the future hold for Mae?

JM: At this point the landscape of the industry is so uncertain. We’ve been on Capitol Records, we’ve been on Tooth & Nail, and both of those are owned by EMI. This past year we’ve seen EMI really fall apart. We’re not exactly sure what’s going to play out. What we are excited about is the relationship with our fans and trying to cut out as many middle men as possible. As we record music in the future, we’re already experimenting with different ways of not having to go through all of these crazy companies. It’s going to be quite a bit of experimentation.

CT: Will that lead to the next record being self-produced?

JM: Destination: Beautiful was entirely self-produced, and this next record will also be self-produced. It’s kind of come full circle. That’s the story we find ourselves telling, even though we have no idea how it ends — we just get portions along the way. I think a lot of the turmoil you hear on Singularity is just the story of what we were experiencing at the time and I think you’re going to hear it coming home on this next record in a big way. The stuff we’re working on right now is some of my favorite stuff we’ve ever done.

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