Your last album, The Falling of the Pine was a concept record, re-imagining a bunch of Maine folk songs. Do you guys have a similar concept, for this new record, or a new theme you’ve kinda wrapped all these songs around?

I guess if you trace ‘em back every record has its own running theme. The first album we did was much more acoustic-based, much more folk-based, and slowly the road kinda took over. So there was a few records in the middle. Both Land and Low Down, were both heavily influenced by the road because we had started touring really heavily.

I think doing The Falling of The Pine, we spent two years or so working on that in our down days. By the time it was done I think we really had a great appreciation for the hard living that they were doing up here at that point. All the songs, all the lyrics came from the 1800s. It was a real hard life and it was full of tragedy, and it was dangerous to be out there and do what these people were doing. And I feel like our whole goal was to not necessarily make the songs sound traditional, but use traditional lyrics and try and make the sound fit the feeling of those lyrics.

And then this record coming up?

They were definitely a combination of both. I think a lot of them were born on the road but I do think it’s got a little more roots in Maine history. Not necessarily in the subject matter but definitely in the themes. It’s less about traveling and more just about hard living I guess.

One of my favorite things about Maine is its sense of community. For example, you have Jon Fishman touring with you guys, and I really like how part of how you met him was you playing the opening of his General Store.

I think Maine is especially… I see it a lot with people my age and people I went to school with, we all end up coming back. There’s a real sense of pride and a real sense of connection to Maine no matter where you go. And that doesn’t necessarily happen everywhere.

How did you originally cross paths with Jon Fishman? Was it up in Maine, or was it somewhere else?

When the elections were going on, he was doing a run for Bernie and there was one night when sat in with a whole bunch of different local bands doing a whole bunch of local shows. We were playing, I think, in Scarborough at an old church that had been turned into a venue and he came in and played two songs with us. And that was the first time we met him.

And then it was maybe a year or so later, we were playing at American Beauty down in Manhattan during The Baker’s Dozen. We did like a pre-party at American Beauty.

Rest in peace, it’s no longer there.

I know, I heard that, which is a bummer, cause we had a lot of fun in there.

But that night I think his wife and a few friends caught our show and gave us tickets. It was like bang, she caught our show, she started chatting with some of the guys in the band and she said, “Here’s tickets, come on around the corner when you guys are done.” So we did. We went and we got to see one of The Baker’s Dozen shows, which we probably never would have been able to afford to get into otherwise. And it kinda took off from there.

She wanted to book us for a fair up near where they lived, The Union Fair. We weren’t gonna be able to do it because our drummer had a previous engagement. And she says, “Oh it’s fine, Jon’ll fill in. Don’t worry about it, Jon’ll just do it.” So it kinda took off from there.

We’ve kinda become friends since then and that led onto the General Store opening where he sat in, we did double drummers, and he sat in with us for a full set. And from there it turned into the tour, which is kind of amazing, because there’s really no reason for him to do it, you know, he doesn’t have to do this, he’s doing it for fun. He told us he loved the songs, he told us he thought it would be a good challenge for him stylistically, and he had fun hanging.

It’s definitely a boost for us. There’s a whole handful of rooms on this April tour that we wanted and haven’t been able to get into as of yet, so it’s a huge favor to us. We really appreciate it. And it’s cool to hear him say he’s looking forward to it.

Have you guys seen Phish before that Baker’s Dozen show?

Some of us have seen them lots of times. Our drummer [Chuck Gagne] specifically, I won’t speak for him, but I think it’s safe to say he’s styled himself after Jon a great deal. He’s a huge Phishead. Our fiddle player, Andrew [Martelle], has been to dozens of Phish shows, he loved Phish all the way while growing up. I believe it was my first show and it was my brother’s first show. Not that we weren’t familiar, because we’re all very, very familiar. Even being from Maine, when The Great Went happened, that was a big deal. For them to go all the way up there and put on that festival was kinda huge for the state of Maine. So we appreciate Jon’s ties up here. And I think it probably has something to do with him ending up here, because those guys have been good to our state.

You guys mentioned you guys are rocking a double drumkit thing right now. Musically, how does Jon fit into The Mallett Brothers’ equation?

He helps to open it up. We tend to get jammy and we tend to get psychedelic, but from the genre that we’re coming from, I guess, it’s not known for getting really, really out there. He helps with that. Because Chuck is a metronome. Chuck is all groove. That’s been the core of our music I think, is groove. Groove is everything. The groove is all of it. So to have Jon jump in and be able to add those fills that Chuck wouldn’t go for… Watching them look at each other while they’re playing is really, really fun. Because I think they just enjoy playing off of each other. And Jon’s not scared of suggesting, “This one we should open up at the end, this one we should really let it go at the end, let’s make this one jammy,” and we’re all for it. We’re all for it.

Pages:« Previous Page