Folk duo The April Maze will shortly be releasing their first music in the UK after a couple of very successful albums in Australia. Todd Mayhew –one half of the talented duo – answered some questions for us;
So can you give us a quick intro to the world of The April Maze?
We’re a husband wife indie-folk duo who combine vocal harmonies with cello, banjo and acoustic guitar. We live on the road, are slightly obsessed with the 60’s and 70’s and don’t mind telling a good story or two.
We met in an old sharehouse in Melbourne – it was a big old scouthall. We all lived in rooms off the side of the hall. It had a stage and a trapeze. We used to have massive parties there and rock out on the roof top to local underground bands. One day a group of us decided to fly up to Cairns and pick up my old kombi ‘Shirley’ and drive it back to Melbourne. Last minute everyone dropped out so it was just me and Sivan on this 3000 mile kombi road trip across Australia. This is when we started playing music together. We have been living on the road touring, writing and recording music ever since.
What are the pros and cons of working together as a husband and wife duo?
Well we get on really well so it’s mostly all good. I think we have normal couple arguments, which keeps everything healthy… sometimes being a couple makes the songwriting easier… sometimes it makes it harder. The latest album we have co-written everything together so it is getting better and better! The best thing is that we get to spend all of our time together. The worst thing is we never get any time apart.. so I guess its lucky we’re best friends!
Who were your main musical influences growing up in Australia?
There were a few Aussie bands that really stand out in my memory like Men at Work and Goanna. One in particular is legendary Aussie band Midnight Oil. They were a big one for me growing up in the late 80’s and early 90’s as they had powerful pop rock songs with a strong social and environmental message. They were the first mainstream band I knew of that acknowledged the rights of Australian Aboriginals and mining/political issues and I found this deeply inspiring. The Aussie rock on the radio was balanced out by my parents record collection that featured the popular classics of the 60’s and 70’s British and American bands like Cat Stevens, The Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, Mama’s and Papa’s and Pink Floyd. As a teenager I got deep into the Seattle grunge explosion and was a massive Pearl Jam fan – The song that got me hooked on guitar and singing was Pink Floyd’s ‘Wish you were here’.
Sivan grew up in London so didn’t get much of the Aussie influences… she was a huge 60’s fan growing up on Carole King, James Taylor and The Beatles – she was a massive Blur fan as a teenager, and the first songs she learned on guitar were by the Strereophonics and Ocean Colour Scene.
Your first UK release The April Maze comes out soon. What can you tell us about the album?
This album is a mix between our first album ‘Recycled Soul’ and second album ‘Two’… plus two new singles. It is a limited edition release only available at live shows in the UK. We thought for our first UK release we should put our best foot forward and it is much more practical than travelling with multiple Albums. The album features a lot of cello with our upfront and stripped back vocal harmonies and is a good introduction to what we do.
You play a few cover versions as well as your own songs. How do you choose what covers to play?
The songs were chosen for our second album ‘Two’ which was really just a project for ourselves and our fans. We had just gotten married so we picked our favourite love songs and songs that we like to sing around the campfire with mates… we picked songs that inspire us, and songs we wish we had written ourselves! The songs we choose aren’t always written by famous people. Some of them are by people we know or awesome indie bands that we have met on our travels.
And will we see you back on tour in the UK anytime soon?
We are now basing ourselves half the year in Australia and the other half in the UK. Sivan is originally from London, and her sister lives in Oxford – I have Scottish, Welsh and Irish heritage so we see the UK as a second home. We will be releasing a new album in July 2014 – so will be touring throughout the UK over the 2014 summer.
So what does the future hold for The April Maze and your music?
At the moment it is all about writing and recording this new album. We will be recording with an incredible team at 301 Studio’s in Sydney. Being an independent band we will probably crowd-fund the album. And then we will tour Aus and the UK to get it out there to as many ears as possible. We are pretty excited about the new songs and look forward to touring it throughout 2014 and can’t wait for another European Summer.