It’s hard to say what sort of musical outlet Maitland is and give an accurate description. I’ve seen the band take on a varying number of people on stage, but every time I’m captivated by the gorgeous music they make. I recently had a chance to chat with singer, guitarist, and songwriter Josh Hines to take a look at what Maitland’s all about.
First off, thanks for letting me interview you! I’m already a huge fan, but could you give a little introduction to our readers about Maitland?
Thanks for wanting to interview me.
Currently Maitland is a Philly-based four-piece composed of my brother Alex Hines (bass and vox), Evan Moffitt (guitar and vox), Jeff Mach (drums), and myself (vox and guitar). I guess you could say that our music is emotional, atmospheric, and percussively driven. We all have varying musical tastes and a wide range of interests which allows us to create some pretty fun sounds. People often compare us to Bombay Bicycle Club, Fleet Foxes, Bon Iver, and other similar artists.
We’ve been creating sounds together for a long time thanks to the Uptown Music Collective, a non-profit music school in Williamsport, PA. All four of us learned much of what we know about music from the Collective. We also wouldn’t have met if that place hadn’t brought us together. We all also play in a seven-piece indie/rock band called King Tivoli, all members are former students of the Collective.
I also want to mention that Adam Shumski, drummer of Family Vacation, often fills in when Jeff can’t make it to a show. I don’t know what we would do without him.
How did you first get involved in music? How did you go about starting Maitland?
Well, I started singing in church when I was seven years old. Even before that I had been interested in music. It’s always been a huge part of my life. After I got used to singing I picked up a guitar and have been writing ever since. I also have The Uptown Music Collective to thank for many years of music education and performance experience. I learned so much from the teachers and students there and wouldn’t be half the musician I am today if it wasn’t for them.
The start of Maitland happened kind of unexpectedly. For a few years I had been playing and writing with a band called Clouds Make Sounds. We played around quite a bit in the Williamsport area as well as surrounding cities. During the last few months of my experience with Clouds I had been writing songs that didn’t seem to fit our current sound. These songs became solo recordings and were the beginning of Maitland. I began traveling on solo trips to different cities, NYC, Philly, Pitt, and Boston to name a few. While in the different cities I couch surfed and searched for any open mic, subway station, or street corner that seemed like a nice place to play. Shortly after, Jeff, who is also a former member of Clouds, joined me on the adventures with his floor tom and snare. It didn’t seem too realistic to travel around with a full kit when we were spending so much time walking the streets. So yeah, with all that being said, Maitland started very organically and is still morphing quite a bit. Even with the new full band setup.
You’ve been doing this project for a few years now. How do you think you’ve changed since the beginning?
I’ve changed quite a bit since the beginning. I used to say yes to every gig and ended up really stressing myself out. Now I’m taking a more relaxed look at the whole project and being sure to do what feels right and have fun doing it. Being in the Philly scene for the past year has really helped me grow a lot as a musician and a person. I’m certainly thankful to have met so many inspiring people and have the opportunities that I’ve had. It all got real, super quick.
Your EP, From a Cabin In the Woods, was actually recorded in a cabin in the woods. Why did you choose to record there instead of what people may consider a “traditional” recording studio?
“Bear Run Hollow”, aka the cabin in the woods, is actually my family cabin which has been a huge part of my life. It’s on family property that has been passed down for some years now. I grew up exploring the mountains, fields, and streams there so it seemed like the right fit for recording. It has quickly become my favorite getaway where I can really zone into reading, writing, and recording. It’s also great for field recordings and stargazing. With the calm atmosphere, a simple recording setup, and no stress of studio expenses, it seemed like a no brainer to record there.
As of now we are looking for a more professional studio with the capabilities of recording a full drum set and hopefully some vintage gear. Though it would be fun, the cabin wouldn’t be the best fit for recording the upcoming album.
I’ve particularly enjoyed your guitar work. Do you have any particular guitarists that you feel have had a strong influence on your playing?
I’m glad ya dig it. Jeff Buckley, Jonsi Birgisson (Sigur Ros), and Justin Vernon (Bon Iver) have always really inspired me.
Maitland has taken on quite few different forms on stage. How does playing solo compare to playing with your bandmates?
We definitely have a few different lineups. I really enjoy being able to feel the songs in different arrangements while being versatile enough to play any stage. I feel like it allows for different parts of the songs to stick out and also keeps things fresh for us.
It’s fun performing solo but I certainly feel much more at ease with my best friends playing beside me. After playing duo and solo gigs for a few years, it’s nice to be back in a full band set up where we can really let loose.
You played at the TLA in Philadelphia last winter. How was that? I’m still kicking myself for not going.
The TLA show was one of the greatest experiences I’ve had in a while. It was incredible to see so many fans and friends in the audience. This was also our first full band show so that had a huge part in our excitement.
I can’t even explain the energy I was feeling that night and on top of that, it was really something else to have the opportunity to hear my songs coming through a sound system like that. I’m hoping before too long we will be able to play big venues more often. Time will tell.
Could you shed some light on your writing process? It’s been quite a while since From a Cabin in the Woods was released; has that changed with the newer songs?
My writing process hasn’t really changed all that much from the cabin in the woods days. I often start with a small piece of a song, like a melody, lyric, or chords. From there I kind of let the feeling guide me along. This may seem confusing but I really try to let the song guide me through. If you really sit with it and listen then you’ll eventually hear the next part. At least that’s how it works for me. Sometimes I’ll sit on a chord progression for years before it finds a home. I find that forcing it often leads to frustration. Other times I’ll sit down with my guitar and a song will pour out. It all depends, so I try not to restrict any options or ideas.
Recently I’ve been trying to meditate before writing. This really helps me zone in on the song and has led to some really fun stream of conscious creations. Most times they are super funny and weird but often turn up with some cool ideas. I try to have as much fun as I can with it. Definitely would recommend meditation and stream of conscious writing to anyone trying to write zeee musics.
What’s in the future for your music? Any plans to record again soon? I’m sure I speak for a lot of people when I say I am dying for some new Maitland.
A lot of people have been asking me about a new album. It’s really inspiring to see how many people care about what we are doing.
Right now we are looking for a studio around the Philly area. We have a few in mind and plan to start recording in October. Yes, this means there will be a new album coming out over winter break or the spring semester. We also are planning to do some touring over the winter as well as a summer tour once everyone is out of school for the year. Keep your eyes peeled for some new videos as well.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Thanks so much for getting in touch and choosing me for the interview.
For anyone interested you can check out our From a Cabin In the Woods EP at maitland.bandcamp.com.
For booking and questions, you can email ContactMaitland@gmail.com.