Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Feature: Maff (08/09/15)


Young Chilean band, Maff, were originally founded in 2012 by Ricardo (Richi) Gómez (vocals/bass/guitar) and Nicolás (Nek) Colombres (drums), who have been friends since childhood and have previously played together in various punk rock bands. Later joined by Martin Colombres (guitar) and Gonzalo (Talo) Correa (guitar/bass/vocals/synth). Maff composed, recorded and produced this LP in their own studio, lovingly called 'The Lab'. This release is the product of an experimental output fused together to create something really special. 

General Questions:

1. How old were you when you started getting involved in music and how?
Richi: played since he was 15, his mother (R.I.P) gave him his first bass guitar. He used to play mainly punk rock in a local band called 'Discrepo' between 2008-2012, releasing two CDs with them. At the same time he was founder of another band called 'Los Azufritios', alternative punk-rock, a band that released a demo called 'Jungle Mugre' in 2011. Early 2013 he left all the bands and started working exclusively on the MAFF project. 
Nek: has been playing since he was 12. His first drum set was acquired with his own work, saving every penny for it. His first band 'Weiza' (2002), a nu-metal band, had its own success locally. When with Weiza, he shared the stage with well known bands in Chile. He left 'Weiza' in 2004 and mainly influenced by his older sister he moved into a more indie scene joining another band called 'Stalker' (electronic indie music) where he played at important places in Santiago. He also played in 'Discrepo', where he met Richi, and 'Los Azufritos'. 
Martin: Nek's youngest brother, began playing guitar around the age of 12. He always played at school with every band he met. He's very close to his older brother and is also heavily influenced by him (mainly musically). He joined MAFF in 2014, invited by his brother to be a part of the MAFF EP recording sessions. 
Talo: started playing guitar at school at the age of 12. He was always part of every hard rock, metal band at school. Later at college he found several musical projects and coached other bands based on his expertise (several bands and many many many bandmates). He never broke out with any band in particular but developed a strong knowledge on sound and guitar skills. Talo used to play metal, prig metal and 'tried' to become a guitar hero. Later he turned into a skilled blues and alternative rock player where he discovered new horizons. During 2011, Talo decided to start singing and appeared in a couple of shows during the following years, covering Iggy Pop/Depeche Mode/Ramones. Early 2015, Talo joined MAFF, and became the 'live sound maker' of the band. 

2. What is the most inspiring musical performance you've ever been to?
Richi: I had the pleasure of seeing Sonic Youth at their last concert on their last tour to South America (2011). Mind blowing, I was so into what they were doing that I lost track of time and space. They were so real and intense. It was a privilege. 
Nek: The Hive at Lollapalooza, the energy of those guys playing live is amazing. 
Martin: The Hives at an old theatre in L.A., it was epic. 
Talo: It's hard to name one in particular, every concert has it's own 'thing' for me. 

3. Who have you been listening to lately?
Yo la Tengo, Editors, Sigur Ros, Interpol, Diiv, Ummagma, Battle, Ligthing Bolt, Sounds of Sputnik, Lights That Change, Sonic Youth... the list is huge. 

3 Questions for Maff:

1. How did the name 'Maff' come about and what does it mean?
Maff's name is a combination of: 
1. A tribute to the 'big muff' effect pedal (that is present in the signal chain of all of our bandmates)
2. The changed 'U' for an 'A' represents a triangle that stands for harmony, divinity and proportion (elements that are present when it comes to our composition).

2. Do you each have specific roles whilst writing and producing your music or is it a combined effort?
Generally, Richi has a more protagonist role when it comes to composition, lyrics and producing. Although everyone has a vital role in the band, creating unique details and rhythms with their instruments. The process is interesting: 
Everything comes from our home studio 'The Lab'. 
First, it's spontaneous, almost like a creative spark that gives you the first glimpse of what the song could be. Then it is all about understanding what the music is telling you and what the song wants to be. 
Usually we begin with an acoustic guitar to develop the songs DNA, chords and structure. Then we record the drums, followed by the bass. Having a comfortable and tight base, this gives us the freedom to explore different sounds and elements throughout the process. 
Then comes the rhythm guitar, we consider this guitar as part of the base of the song too; it is what empowers the atmosphere of the song. 
Moving forward to the melodic guitar, this process is a mix of spontaneous feelings and a long understanding of the song, literally we hear the song at least hundreds of times before this part comes to an end. It's about experimenting with all the different textures and sounds you can achieve with guitar effects, it is like the song is teaching you how to control them. 
When all the instruments are ready then comes the vocals, at this point they come in naturally, as you have already discovered what the song is telling you, and all you need to do is reproduce it with words and with the right voice intensity. 
Finally, comes the synths, if they are needed, they fill those empty spaces in a subliminal and majestical way, like a secret. 

3. What is your favourite song from your self-titled album and why?
In this release we experimented in different genres (shoe gaze, post rock, noise pop, indie rock) so it's hard to say which is our favourite. Every song is great in its own way. 

Random Q:

Favourite day of the week and why?
Monday and Wednesday = Rehearsal days. 

'Maff' Album Review:
The album opens with 'Act 1', an instrumental track, with impressive layered guitars, breaking you into the album and Maff's sound perfectly. 'Linger Around' follows on brilliantly, as if it were just a progression of the previous song, with a dark intensity added from vocals and a wonderful melody held down by the guitars and bass, all backed by a steady but heavy rhythm from the drums. 'Walk On Fire' is a slower, slightly more stripped back, alternative rock track, reminding me of Kings of Leon's earlier work. Whilst 'Million Year Picnic' is more of an indie rock track, think, a heavier Noah and the Whale, the last few tracks finish the release on a heavier, louder note. 'Someday' is my favourite track from the album, and I can't quite pin point why. 'Planet Wave' is one of the heavier and harsher songs from the release, but easily one of the stand out tracks for me, I bet the atmosphere when this is performed live is phenomenal! 
Overall, this release really showcases not only Maff's talent to create fantastic music, but also the broad spectrum of genres, every song offers something different and the whole set up of guitars, bass, drums and synths can become 'samey' across tracks of an album, HOWEVER Maff set each track out separate and individual, which makes it a pleasant listen! 

Maff's Links:
'Maff' Album (Physical): https://maffmusica.bandcamp.com/releases

Thanks for reading! 

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