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Viva Mayday
revolution rock for big city spleen
by: Tracy Mamoun - September 17, 2012

 



From a debut EP six years ago to a first album released at the end of July, Viva Mayday may have broadened its palette, but certainly held onto the political edge that gives their music a light flavour of peaceful protest.. A long road takes us from 100 Years to Consuela, to meet at the end a band that opened its arms wider to its beloved reggae beats, funk or blues, delivering a refreshing cocktail of influences set to tickle the roots of its indie-rock sound. They told stories of doubt, self-loathing and turmoil through a series of colourful characters to whom they lent a voice, and gave a background story leading them to seek an answer elsewhere. Here to answer our questions are our recent 'Artist of the Month' poll winners, who speak of shows, studios and the city' scene.



So, to start off, could you briefly introduce yourselves, and explain to us how the band first came together?

Jafe Paulino, Gian Stone and Sasha Korolkoff. We all went to the same high school together and were involved in the music department. Jafe started this band 5-6 years back and had asked me (Gian) to perform with them. From there, we kept performing and recording before changing the band line-up up a bit. Sasha joined us about a year and a half ago which has been great. We are all multi-instrumentalists, so we try to have fun with that at live shows and in the studio.


And what about the name? Are we to read the apparent contradiction between 'Viva' and 'Mayday' Were you cheerfully praising 'Labour Day'? None of the above?

When this band was first started, it went by the name Mayday. After realizing we weren't the only Mayday in the world, we thought of trying to change it up a bit. We used to be really political, so Mayday fit that. Over the past few years, we have changed our subject matter a bit, but are still very much conscious in regards to what' going on in the world. Viva Mayday just had a ring to it that we liked, part of it being the obvious contradiction. It' also encouraged our friends and fans at shows to chant 'Viva!' What' better than a crowd of people chanting: LIVE!


After six years on the scene, 'Consuela' is your first full-length album. Could you tell us a little about the road that led to this record?

It's been a very long road, but an enjoyable one at that. We realized upon completing the EP that we had a lot more to say and try out. With that being said, we decided to go through some new tunes and start to lay them down. We recorded drums for 7 or 8 songs at Ben Rice's Newkirk Studios (R.I.P), then started recording them at Gian' home studio. Because of lineup changes and other things going on in life, it took a while to really get the gears going on it and focus in on getting it done. Finally, we were back in the saddle and working on it every week. We added a few more songs towards the end of the process, and ended up having 10 songs in hand that were cohesive and ready to put out. The recording of Consuela really emphasized the bands sound and I think defined what our vision was. A month after releasing it, we are already in the studio working on new stuff and writing new music.


Now, concerning the content of 'Consuela'. If you had already shown a taste for reggae on your first EP, you've definitely exploited it further this time... what drove you further towards fusions?

Ever since the band started, we were inspired by a lot of reggae music. We all grew up with Marley and The Wailers, Peter Tosh, and continued to explore the genre and vibe. With Consuela, we tried to bring as much to the table as possible that other bands weren't doing. Viva Mayday has always been focused on rhythms and grooves, and I think that shows on Consuela. After all, we have rhumba tunes, funk, and blues. All different kind of things on this album. Reggae is just another genre we love, and some of the songwriting just lends itself to it.


In these stories you sing, most of the characters share a certain longing for something, somewhere else. What about you? What are your feelings on NYC and its indie scene?

Though I love and appreciate the city we're from, I've been living here so long I've naturally come to wonder about that something, somewhere else.
New York City can be an amazing place for musicians, but also a pain in the ass. It is crazy expensive, which can make it hard to do music as a full-time job. A lot of clubs are 21+, so those under 21 may not be able to go to some of the concerts they wanted to attend, or even perform at most music venues. But, if you are over 21, you can pretty much find anything you want. if you have a yearning to hear blues, or neo-soul, or classical, or anything, you can just jump on a train and find yourself an hour later in a place that has some of the top musicians playing that stuff.
The indie scene definitely has its pros and cons. There are some phenomenal bands that are really raising the bar and trying new and cool things. People are not afraid to change up the norm. However, there are also a lot of bands that seem overly dependent on a vibe or getting cool sounds, and maybe not paying as much attention to their songs and arrangements. Either way, its cool that people are releasing their own recordings and experimenting.


Finally, any future projects you'd like to share with us?

We are currently working on a new EP/Mixtape. We are not 100% sure on what shape it' going to take, but it will be very different. We have also been working on new tunes that will most likely comprise a future album. And the free recording time from you guys! Other than that, we are continuing to perform and promote our new album, Consuela!



 
 

Viva Mayday just had a ring to it that we liked, part of it being the obvious contradiction. It's also encouraged our friends and fans at shows to chant Viva! What's better than a crowd of people chanting: LIVE!




Viva Mayday
"Consuela "




what it is

Indie rock fusions for fans of Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Sublime (later years), Arctic Monkeys (before SIAS)



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