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Track Premiere: “Sycamore” from Maitland.

May 25, 2017
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Today, we’re premiering a new track from Philly’s own Maitland, the indie/folk/rock band led by brothers Josh and Alex Hines. “Sycamore” is as rocky, raw and natural as the song name suggests — a glimpse of what’s to come on the band’s new album, aptly titled Glimpse, out June 2nd.

Our Beth Ann Downey caught up with Josh about the inspiration for the track and what’s coming down the pipeline for Maitland.

This is one of the first tracks you’re releasing off your forthcoming album, Glimpse. Why is “Sycamore” one of the first songs you want fans to hear from this new record?

Along with many songs on Glimpse, “Sycamore” has evolved very drastically from the live duo recording that we previously released. We wanted to highlight the raw emotion of the song as a call to make changes in our lives. This song in particular serves also as a self-learning tool and reminder to keep looking beyond the monotony of daily life. Lyrically, we felt it was important to open a door to new perspectives with their first experience with Glimpse.

You describe “Sycamore” as “a song about seeking meaning in life while continuously running into walls and expectations.” How do you think the music and lyrics get this point across to the listener? 

The Sycamore tree is held as a sacred tree in many traditions. In this song, a man is sitting underneath this symbol of the Tree of Life, yet he’s wallowing away in self pity and doubt. It seems dark, but in reality it’s a song about hope. He’s sitting beneath “opportunity,” but he has created walls and mental concepts that blind him from seeing the beauty that is above, below, and all around him. “Sycamore” is the first half of this story, the part where the man can understand that he has a choice to live his life in a more fulfilling way, but he hasn’t taken the first steps.

What was the recording process for this track?

The whole album started with some live tracking at Spice House Sounds, which was a pretty amazing experience overall. We spent two 12-hour days in the studio, where I decided it was a good idea to sing with a fever and sore throat, resulting in months of recovery and some gnarly versions of the vocal tracks, one of which we used in the final version of “Sycamore.” We then headed to East Room Studios / The Headroom for more live tracking and plenty of experimentation. After over two years of refinement, we finally landed with an album that we are all happy with.

Glimpse is a project more than two years in the making. How excited are you guys to share it with the world?

We’ve been playing many of these songs as a full band for over two years, but they have never been heard in this way. Watching friends add their touch with strings, bass clarinet, harp, and other fun sounds offered a new perspective of these “old songs”. Each time someone tracked a new instrument, we had a hard time keeping it to ourselves. Thanks to much patience and dedication from Drew Taurisano and Asher Brooks, who worked with us on the album, we ended up with a collection of songs that we can’t wait to share.

What about living in Philadelphia and being a part of this music community has inspired this song, or this record? Are there any other artists, facets of daily life here, etc., that have helped Maitland get to where the band is today?

We’ve got a lot here. Although many of these songs were written back home in Williamsport, PA, we tapped a lot of local musical friends to join in the making of Glimpse. Asher Brooks of Tutlie spent a lot of the early months helping us record the tracks. Collin Dennen of Ellen Siberian Tiger and Mother Moses spent a day tracking upright bass. Evan, our guitarist and front man of Kenny 3, took a lot of creative liberties while recording guitar parts. Adam Shumski, our drummer and part of Vita and the Woolf, tirelessly perfected his parts and offered his spin on arrangements. There are many others, but in general, the friendly music scene alongside the Philly grit also played a part in how these songs evolved in the studio.

Look for a full story on the making of Glimpse in our forthcoming fall issue.

In the mean time, keep an eye out for the Glimpse pre-order, which will be available soon, and catch the band at their record release show at Johnny Brenda’s on June 9th with Former Belle and Dirty Dollhouse.

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