Interview: Mainland

Their post-punk pop sound is sunny with a vulnerable side, and they’re not afraid to lay their lovelorn hearts on the line. Meet Mainland, a NYC by way of California three-piece whose sound is full of sunny electric feels and big city grit. We threw them a few questions to keep them on their toes. Here’s what they had to say:

SMN: What’s the pre-show ritual?
Mainland: We always warm up, do some stretches, and huddle together and say a secret mantra before running on stage.

SMN: Describe the band in 3 words.
Mainland: Nostalgia, American, Sex

SMN: Has touring influenced the way you’ll write music in the future? How?
Mainland: Tour always shows us what songs go over better in a live setting. We’ll write a batch of songs, try them out live and it’s typically pretty obvious which ones work and which ones are better listened to on headphones.

SMN: Describe the #loveontour series that’s all over the band’s Instagram. Where did the project come from/how did it start?
Mainland: Since our single “I Found God” is all about the spiritually transcendent feeling of falling in love we came up with the idea with our photographer/videographer Sean Gilchrist to ask people we meet on tour to share their stories of love, loss, etc. It’s a topic very close to us and we even did our own #loveontour interviews recently to connect our own personal stories with those we met during our travels. We hope to continue the series and to interview more and more people. It’s been fascinating to learn how people approach love in our modern society that feels sexually liberated and reaching new heights of openness. Everyone has a unique point of view and the stories are full of color and rawness that we can’t even fit into one minute.

SMN: What’s one big goal you guys have for the band? Could be a venue, a band to play with, a tv appearance, anything like that.
Mainland: A goal for us is to tour Europe soon. We especially adore English music and fashion and would be honored to be immersed in the culture and to headline some shows out there. Holler at us Jools Holland!

SMN: What does the songwriting process look like for you guys? Are all three of you involved or is it more a one man job?
Mainland: It’s like a committee. I write the skeletons of the songs in studios around LA, sometimes demos happen at my house or our studio, and when it comes to album time we collaborate on instrumentals in the studio as a band.

SMN: Is there one specific show from the past that stands out as the best/a favorite? What made it so special?
Mainland: We played a show in Denver recently with The Mowgli’s that was pretty cool. We learned after the show that the venue used to be a Polka Dance Hall in the 1960s and before that, it was a morgue. The basement of the venue was where they cremated people, the stage was where they held the ceremonies and placed the open caskets. Something about that backstory just gave us chills even with the array of venues we’ve played in the past (museums, airports, boats, bank vaults, barns, art galleries, etc).

SMN: If you could tour or write an album with any band or artist that’s ever existed, who would it be? Mainland: We’d love to tour with The Rolling Stones or David Bowie (circa 1977).

SMN: If you were stuck on a desert island, what’s one book, one album, and one movie you’d want with you?
Mainland: Less Than Zero by Brett Easton Ellis; The Cure – Disintegration; Eraserhead. Seriously watch Eraserhead, it’s insane.

Interview by Lulu Dawson