LA-based Maniac have released the digital issue of their debut album, Demimonde, fronted by west coast indie rocker, Zache Davis. Known for his work in The Cute Lepers (oka, Steve E. Nix and The Cute Lepers), The Girls, and the Rough Kids, Davis has made the jump to Los Angeles from Seattle to bring the DIY spirit of Northwest rebel rock to SoCal. With the physical vinyl available January 15 from Canadian imprint, La Ti Da Records, we present the following stream of Maniac’s full-length that chronicles action packed song for outsider debutantes and dilettantes alike.
Shitty days and bat-shit crazy derelict points of direction fuel the frantic whirl of “Live Like Bats”, before shaking it up with the dumpling, pogo dance of “Dim Sum”. All the instruments are plugged into a rhythm that exhibits the barely contained energy of riffs that ride into the chorus calls of shouts and an anarchy that comes beautifully undone at the seams like a controlled fire, as heard on the energetic candy of “Party City”, “Wendy, Same Thing”; to kicking out the windows and door panes on rental deposit compromising rowdy rockers like, “Forts”.
But the best news is that Maniac designs the entire Side A of the LP as something of a warm-up session, as the real bone-crushing party begins when you flip it over to Side B, switching on the afterburners of “Dans Le Sang”, to the amped oddity anthems like “Misshape”. The Southern garage pop trails of Goner Records and storied brotherhood bands bloom in full effect on the catchy, “Rerun Ritual”, that ingrains the following chorus into your cranium: “Here we go, oh no, what do you say when you can’t say no.” No time for slow-dancing numbers, as “Love Affair” keeps the beat hopping along on bruised heels, to the power ballad of dive-bar-soaked affections on, “When I’m Gone”. And then for the album’s big finale, Maniac keep true to their title and packs what is possibly their most aggressive song on the full-length with, “Allright, Okay”, which keeps the verbiage terse under a banner of, “I got nothin’ to say”.
Giving us a first-person perspective on a career that has spanned between Seattle and LA, Maniac frontman Zache Davis joins us after the jump for an interview.
Tell us about the Seattle you left playing with The Girls and The Cute Lepers, to embracing your new surroundings in LA, and the beginning of Maniac.
I left Seattle in 2008, the day after I returned from a month and a half long, U.S. tour with the Cute Lepers. It was a strange time in Seattle. City blocks were being replaced by condos and it felt like our city was being infiltrated and destroyed. That said, a lot of cool things happened too. One of my favorite memories is of working at the original Pony, which was opened as an experiment in the old Cha Cha lounge before the block was demolished. The Black Lips were in town and were looking for a pickup show. So with the help of Marcus Wislon-owner of Pony — we set up a free show in the downstairs of what was once the Cha Cha. My buddy NRDLNGR and The Girls opened. It was packed, sweaty and people lost their shit. That’s the Seattle I remember. When I moved to Los Angeles, it was to get away from playing music and losing my shit all the time. I already had a lot of friends here but, I was pretty boring. After touring for eight months, I was burnt out and needed something completely different. Fortunately, that didn’t really last and I started playing music again a few months after moving here with The Rough Kids.
Now having left Seattle and with a slightly distanced view by way of geography, what is your take on the prevalence and strength of the undergrounds from throughout the Northwest circuit?
Seattle has always had a way of producing some really awesome music. But also some really shitty stuff. I spent a lot of time in Seattle in 2013 because my girlfriend lived there, I rejoined with The Girls and my dad was sick with cancer. So, it sort of became a second home, (again). That said, there are some really cool things going on musically in Seattle right now. The Crap, Wimps and Brent Amaker and The Rodeo to name a few, but there’s also Vancouver with The Ballantynes and Nervous Talk — two of my absolute favorites. Portland seems to have the raddest music scene at the moment though with Sex Crime, Thee Chemicals, Therapists and the Rat. The northwest, Seattle in particular is a sleepy place. But when the right thing comes along, everyone sort of loses there shit just like that first day the sunshine after 50 days of rain.
What inspired the derelict-dilettante alluding title of, Demimonde?
Andrew actually came up with the title Demimonde. I wanted it to be called, Cold Showers in Paradise, but everyone agreed that it sounded too much like a Jimmy Buffet record. Demimonde fit because it was ‘derelict-dilettante alluding.’ Lyrically, the record is very much about a hedonistic time in my life filled with you name it. So when Andrew suggested Demimonde, I was all over it.
Give us the run down on what it was like recording Demimode, from the raging pure-adrenalin bruisers like, “Live Like Bats” through “Allright, Okay”. It’s like you keep the momentum of a slam dancing pit in motions.
The idea behind Maniac was to not over-think the songwriting too much. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But, I really wanted to embrace the simplicity without being ‘dumb dumb’ punk—something a little smarter but not pretentious, that hopefully people like and can dance to. We all have such different musical tastes which makes song writing interesting but the outcome is ultimately who we are, which is Maniac.
Any favorite stories from recording at Station House Studios in the Echo Park? Seems like a cool studio joint.
Mark has a dog named, Darkness. He’s great. Other memories, snorting cayenne pepper, Thai food, losing my voice to whiskey, getting my voice back with a hot toddy, and of course, working with Mark Rains, who is fucking fantastic.
LA is always buzzing off the charts with rad everything, but who are some of the under-buzzed artists, bands, etc, that are inspiring you all?
Here’s the part where I list off bands I like in the LA area. These are the first that come to mind. Shark Toys, Sex Stains, the Exorcisms, Images, LA Drugz, White Murder and recently we played with a band from Long Beach (I think) called Rats in La Louvre who I really liked.
I think 2015 will be a year filled with writing a new record, more U.S. Touring and figuring out how to get to Europe.
Maniac’s album Demimonde is available now in digital with LP vinyl available January 15 from La Ti Da Records.