INTERVIEW: McLovins talk Tom Marshall, Magic Johnson, and the future!
Last week Hartford, CT based group the “McLovins” made their way through the Rocky Mountain State with multiple shows. I was lucky enough to catch their show opening for Mountain Standard Time at Cervantes “The Other Side” as part of Grass for that Ass Thursdays.
This was my first time actually seeing the group, other than a video of them playing Phish’s “You Enjoy Myself” on YouTube, and I was completely blown away. The group of surprisingly young talented musicians managed to combine indie-like lyrics with the funk sound I have become so fond of. The band came out the gates playing their new EP Funk No. Uno and the crowd was immediately drawn in by groovy bass lines and funky organ playing.
Before the show I had the pleasure of hanging out with the McLovins, getting a chance to talk about the new EP and what’s in the coming future. Make sure to check them out this summer on their Funk No. Uno Tour! Here is my interview.
The McLovins are:
Jake Huffman – Drums, Vocals
Justin Berger – Guitar, Vocals
Atticus Kelly – Keys, Vocals
Jason Ott – Bass, Vocals
Michael Bafundo (from the group Grant’s Tomb) – Trumpet, Vocals
Kevin Supina (from the group Grant’s Tomb) – Saxophone
John Mundy (from the group West End Blend) – Trombone
DubEra: Could you tell me a little bit about yourselves and how you all started?
Atticus: I had known Jake for a few years, and ran into Jason and Justin in my music theory class. When we heard Jeff was leaving the band we talked to the guys about joining the group, and the next thing you know we had the lineup we have now. It only took a few rehearsals, and now we are here.
Could you talk about the change from the 3-piece band into the 4-piece band; and now to a group of 7 playing together? (Originally a 3-piece band, the now 4-piece band has added a 3-part horn section nicknamed “The Horndogs.”)
Jake: There were a couple reasons it was such a change. Part of it was that we were so young and growing up. We were still developing musically, so when Jeff left and Atticus and Justin came in it was very natural. I had been playing with Atticus for a few years and he already knew Jason from class. It was more like the band just changed and we were adapting and learning to play that way. It was easy because we have played so many shows with these guys, even more then with Jeff.
How much has your sound changed since you all have come together?
Atticus: Oh so much! If you listen to our first show, once you’redone throwing up, and then listen to a show from Nectar’s it is completely different. It really took about a year to produce something that sounded consistently craftsman level good.
The new EP “Funk No. Uno” was completely put together by the band, could you explain how it feels to know that the album is 100% your product.
Justin: It’s $10,000 better then doing it through a producer. It’s a really nice feeling. We put our own time into it, and the outcome feels completely different.
What’s your song writing process like?
Jake: It’s always different. The song “Wasp” for example, it was the end of practice and Jake said, “I’ve been humming this thing, and I haven’t been able to get it out of my head all day.” So he sang it to us, and Jason started playing it; and we all loved it. After 32 bars we all feel the need to change it up, so from there we went on to a different section. After doing that 3 times over, we added a bridge and then boom. We have a song. It wrote itself in 10 minutes, it came to us so organically. Overall though, it really depends on the song and how it came about. (Jake) Like “Catch the Ball,” I woke up one morning and was feeling weird so I sat down and started writing lyrics; then I brought it into practice and it fit perfectly to a song we had been working on already.
In the song “Catch the Ball” you use the lyrics “I feel something different.” Does that line mean something as far as how the band is now compared to how it was as a three piece?
Jake: I’ll go ahead and let you take it that way. I was having a conversation with Tom Marshall one day after we wrote “Cohesive” and he was telling me that when he writes a tune whether or not it has its own meaning or if it’s just a bunch of words jumbled together; people are going to take it in different ways because of how they feel. So when I sing it to you I want you to feel something, and however you feel is how you will take the lyrics. I know exactly what “Catch the Ball” means to me, but when someone listens to it they are going to pull from their life to make their own meaning.
So Tom Marshall, how did that manage to come about and how did it feel to be writing with such a well-known lyricist?
Jake: Well Tom and Trey [Anastasio] had emailed us after we put out the “You Enjoy Myself” video and they had some corrections. They said that the “YEM” was good, and the “Farmhouse” was good, but we had done a part wrong and gave us the corrections. From there we kept in touch with Tom. A long story short, we traded him a signed Magic Johnson basketball in exchange for being able to write a couple songs with him.
What band inspires the McLovins sound the most?
Jake: The Band, because there is a reason they are called The Band.
What is your favorite song to play live?
McLovins: (As a group) “Catch the Ball”, that song the whole way through is just good feelings.
Some of you are still finishing school, how much does that affect the band?
Atticus: A lot in a touring sense. If we didn’t have the school restriction we could be on the road touring all the time playing as many shows to as many people as possible.
So whats next for the McLovins?
Atticus: Recording and a lot of touring. After Colorado we are heading east to Memphis, up through Ohio, and then back to Hartford for a hometown show on the 18th. After that we have the pleasure of playing at our 6th Gathering of the Vibes.
You can buy and stream their new albums “Beautiful Lights” and “Funk No. Uno” on bandcamp, iTunes, and Spotify. For tour info and anything else McLovin see their website http://www.themclovins.com/