Folk on the Rocks announced on Tuesday that Maazes, Yellowknife’s newest two-piece ensemble, will be the surprise guest performing at Warm The Rocks Long Lake on Friday, July 15.
The music from band members Nick Sowsun and Shea Alain can be described as dark electro dream-pop, mixing sampled drum machine layers with spaced-out guitars, washed-out synths, and melodic vocals.
Alain stopped by Cabin Radio to talk about this new coalition and his next chapter.
“It’s definitely a band you’ve never heard of,” Alain said with a laugh.
Alain and Sowsun started their new band during the pandemic, and have been working on the project over the last year and a half.
Coming from his experience as guitarist and keyboardist in the five-piece band Reuben and the Dark, Alain said he’s happy to be entering this new musical chapter.
“Having a two-piece band has been awesome. It’s just been nice to have someone to connect with over music,” Alain said.
He even credited Cabin Radio with helping him get back into recording music when, over a year ago, Alain was in the Cabin Radio studio and heard there was a supply of Shure SM7Bs microphones up for grabs.
“That, for me, is just a standard, classic microphone. That’s the microphone that Michael Jackson recorded Thriller on,” Alain said.
Instead of buying the microphones, Alain said he ended up doing a sort of “exchange of service.”
The service? In exchange for the mics, Alain composed a satirical song based on comments from Cabin Radio’s Facebook feed.
“This project, it was kind of like, ‘Dial it to 11. Let’s go for it, over the top. As much as you can go over the top, let’s go over the top.’”
It was after going over some of the unused demos from that project that Sowsun and Alain started playing around with sound and making music together.
“The beginning stages of this Maazes project was Nick and I connecting over this unused demo for a Cabin Radio song,” Alain said.
“That demo embodied our initial compass of what kind of vibe we wanted to have.”
Alain said he’s excited to bring the ethereal soundscapes of Maazes to new audiences this summer.
“It has filled a void of just being able to write songs with the intention of ‘maybe we’ll play these live,’ and ‘maybe we’ll try these out with an audience.’ After leaving the band [Reuben and the Dark] three years ago, there’s so many beautiful moments that you miss, in terms of connecting with people and being in new spaces and being in new cities,” Alain said.
“If everything lines up, you can have this beautiful experience. If people come to the show, then if it all comes together, and you have this shared experience with these people. I think there’s nothing else like it.”
Alain recalls his last performance at Folk on the Rocks in 2014 with Reuben and the Dark fondly – especially since it marked the one and only time he’s ever taken a stage dive.
“It was amazing. That was one of the best moments of my life,” Alain said.
While he doesn’t anticipate making a repeat performance this time around, he is looking forward to playing for his hometown crowd.
“It makes it nice because you step onstage and you already have a win because all your friends are there cheering you on.”
Maazes will be performing at Warm The Rocks Long Lake presented by Lawson Lundell LLP next Friday, July 15, at 11:30pm.