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An interview with Maps & Atlases

November 18, 2009

Friday evening after a rousing performance Chris Davies was able to spend a few good minutes with Erin Elders and Shiraz Dada of the Chicago math rock group Maps & Atlases.

Veterans of the indie-music world, the group has released three EP’s in the five plus years they have existed as a band and are busy preparing their first full length to be released some time in the next year.

They graciously answered questions about their current plans and what their new record might have in store.

Chris Davies: You mentioned you haven’t played any shows lately, what have you been up to?

Shiraz Dada:
Workin’ on our record.

Erin Elders: We were on tour, we just got back from tour like a month ago and we’ve been sorta finishing up the record that we’ve been working on forever.

SD: Since June or whatever.

CD: Did you do your recording in studio?

SD: We’re actually working with a producer this time around, a friend of ours, not like a crazy deal or anything. We did the drums at Electrical Audio in Chicago and then we did everything else at my studio. I did the other two records, so I have all the stuff, you know.

CD: Do you have a release date?

EE: Spring.

SD: Spring, hopefully (laughs).

CD: What can fans expect to hear on the new album?

EE: This one’s real Phil Spector-y. There’s like horns and strings. There’s a lot going on.

SD: We have friends doing backing vocals and just like crazy instruments we’ve never used before. We’re just like, we want to get one out of the way where we pull all of the stops. So, we’ll see what happens with that. It’s been really fun and I’m really liking the way everything is sounding.

CD: Any plans to tour again soon?

EE: I’m sure we’ll go out in spring, for sure. We’ll pretty much just be home for the winter, which will be nice.

SD: This will be like the first winter in like five years not being on tour.

EE: We always make plans like, ‘Let’s go to New York!’ and it’s like January…

SD: And we drive through a snowstorm.

EE: …it’s a terrible idea every time.

SD: It’ll be like a record release tour, unless we come up with something crazy before.

EE: Some sort of wacky tour. Like, we’re going out with Mr. Bungle in January. (both laugh)

SD: No, we’re not.

CD: You have a real cohesive, tight live set. Is it difficult with the type of intricate music you play to keep it so close to the record?

SD: We used to practice a lot, since we started recording we haven’t really practiced. So I guess it’s a lot of muscle memory. We know how to play the songs, but we haven’t practiced a lot.

EE: We’ve toured a lot, well, not really, but enough to where we know the songs pretty well.

CD: How long has it been since your last release?

SD: A year, last summer was out last EP, “You and Me and the Mountain.”

EE: Technically fall, I guess.

SD: We had it in July, and everyone else had it in October, or whatever, September. Yeah, September. We were hoping to get this one out this year but with all the tours and stuff, you kind of need the whole band together to make a record.

CD: Is the next one going to be a full-length?

EE: Yeah.

CD: How many songs?

EE: Hopefully like ten, eleven.

SD: We’re hoping for like ten, we have a bunch more stuff floating around. We need to start paring it down in this like, last two weeks of making the record and figuring out what we’re doing. It’s been kind of all up in the air. There’s definitely a flow to it, but we’re trying to figure out what is going to work in the flow at the end of the day.

Will this be put out on a specific record label?

SD: We hope so!

EE: Hopefully, we don’t really know any of the specifics. We’re just sort of working on finishing it.

SD: Yeah, we’re going to have a really fun time figuring all that out.

You and Me and the Mountain

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