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Interview & Photos: Northern Gold

Interview & Photos by Rachel Lim

First, we should do names and instrument you play. 

Maunee: I am Maunee George the Second and I play keyboards and pedals too(?)

Nate: My name is Nate Hall and I play the drums.

Jake: Jake Anderkovitch and I play guitar and sing.

Justin: Justin Campbell and I play bass and occasionally sing…..sparingly

Nate: (in a fake accent) My name is Des

So, how long have you all been a band?

Jake: I started this in like 2015. That’s when I released the first album and then kinda found people. The new lineup was established this year, I think.

Nate: I was thinking about that the other day. I’ve been in the band since right after the emo band stuff so that would be about 3 and a half years. That’s crazy.

Justin: I’m probably two…

Nate: It’s been two years this November

Justin: It was 2016 when I joined. You had been in the band for almost a year

Nate: Mmmhmm.

Jake: So, we’ll say two years with this lineup, right?

Des: Hi, I’m Michael Desmond and I play guitar and I do a little bit of singing. Is that it?

Okay, so you released an album in, what was it, April?

Jake: May

May. How long have you been working on that one?

Jake: I’d say it’s probably been about two years. It only took a couple of months to record, but it took about a year to mix it. It was right when Justin joined when we kinda started solidifying some tracks and getting that together.

Justin: I mean, basically most of it was written for the most part and we wrote a couple more songs

Jake: Yeah, we had a good jump start on it, I’d say, but…

Justin: Tweaked a few things…

Nate: And that was recorded with Matt Berry and their entire crew…

So, how does the songwriting work?

Jake: I mean, it’s been different things that will, like generally I would write something on the acoustic then bring it to them and then we would just kinda figure it out, change it up and stuff and now, we’ll have parts, and we’ll try to write it together and see what we’ll come up with

Nate: Yeah, it’s a lot more collaborative.

Jake: Feel like it makes for a better sound now that it’s collaborative.

So, you’ve been playing some big shows this year?

Jake: We kinda lucked out with a couple big ones and it’s been great, and we’re hoping to keep doing that as well as branch out.

Are you planning on playing anything out in Pittsburgh anytime soon?

Jake: We don’t have anything lined up, but we are actively looking for stuff.

Such as where?

Jake: Ohio. Just, like the tri-state area, we’re looking east of Pittsburgh and out to Philly, really wherever. We’re not opposed to traveling.

Nate: Well, the van is in the shop. We’re going to wait to get that back before we can hit the road hardcore. 

Justin: Yeah, we gotta have a vehicle. I think that sums that up. Wanna play outside of Pittsburgh, and we’d love to play more big shows play some cool small shows. Pretty much anything

Maunee: It’s still a new direction we’re acclimating to

Was the Judah and the Lion show the first big show you played?

Several people: Yeah

Nate: I think one thing that worked in our favor is we’re real good to be like “Hey can you play a show in two days?” “Like okay sure!” Then cancel all your plans and be ready to do it. Cause like Justin plays in another band and he had to go to them and was like, “Hey guys, I got an opportunity.” 

Justin: But luckily, with that band, cause it’s like a hip-hop band, everything is on tracks. So when I told them they were like, “That’s fine. I’ll put you through backtrack” and he set up a speaker that was on my side of the stage and it was just me coming through that speaker on that side of the stage. And I was like, “dude I wish you had a cut out of me like playing bass”, and he was like” yeah dude, if I ever need to do that, that would be fucking hilarious” No, it needs to be like a Chuck E. Cheese-like animatronic bass player.

Justin: Oh, my God.

Are you guys writing any music right now?

Justin: We’re actually working on a song that Jake wrote a majority of the tune and just kinda, you know, getting everybody together, little tweaks, and we added a bridge. For the most part this guy spearheaded it, and it sounds awesome right off the bat which was also a different way, cause basically the bass part was written…

Jake: I heard the bass part before I heard any of the guitar parts

Justin: Which is fine like I don’t care any way he writes it or suggests something, I think that goes all the way around, doesn’t matter, hey try this and if it works and sounds good then that’s all that matters.

Maunee: I think that the end of fall and winter is here when you’re all cooped up in your house, you get kinda restless, you’ve gotta express I think that’s when most of the writing is going to transpire.

Justin: Who knows? Maybe we’ll get a cabin in the woods

Several band mates agree.

Justin: And just write

Several band mates: What?

How did you all end up joining the band? Well, obviously, it was yours…

Jake: Well, yeah, I just started writing some acoustic songs cause my other band was ending. I’ve always played acoustic and loved it and I just started putting some songs together and then I work at Guitar Center and I was just showing a couple of guys there and one guy was like you need to get a band together and play this cause it’s great. He’s like, “I’ll help you.” So, a couple buddies of mine were just jamming together, and Desmond actually was there for the first practice thing that we put together  Yeah, it was filled with a lot of Guitar Center employees and then through mutual friends, I found Nate and through Nate, I found Justin. And me and Maunee had known each other for a while, and he had played in like a couple of folk bands and stuff, and we needed a filler drummer ‘cause Nate had a show with another band, and Maunee filled in a couple of times for us, and as Evan was leaving the band to go to the Air Force I just kinda offered it up. I said, “ Hey you know how to play the keys, and you’re cool to hang out with and you’re always over here now, so you might as well be something.” So that’s how that kinda worked out.

Nate: And that’s how to get a keyboard player in your band.

Jake: I think that was the base thing is we’ve all like to hang out with each other before the whole music thing came in. Yeah, like the first time me and Nate, he was coming over for practice, and I was late and he was just sitting on the porch, and I walk up like who is this guy and he’s like, “Hey, I’m Nate” and he had me laughing like instantly

Nate: I tickled him, that’s why.

Jake: I knew he was going to be a good fit when he went and slayed the drums.

Justin: I was living with Nate and he asked if I could fill in for a radio show, and I was like “sure I’ll do it”, and did okay. I got like 60%

Jake: I knew you were a great bass player. Yeah, then you came to hang out and learn the stuff, and you were obviously a good fit

Maunee: Back in the day, I grew up in that scene, and Justin is a little older than me, and I used to go see his band, not even knowing who it was. Now things have come full circle

Justin: I know that’s crazy right? Small town, big city.

Jake: It’s weird, we’ll all kinda made up from heavier bands or like pop/punk bands.

Justin: Or both.

Jake: Now we’re here

Des: Played a show with Jake when I was 17 or something at Georgio’s in East Pittsburgh, and I played the whole set with my pants around my ankles because we were playing acoustic, and I thought it was really funny.

Do you have any shows coming up?

Jake: No, nothing.

Nate: we’re just waiting for someone to get ahold of us for a real nice show. The day before the show again.

Is that what happened with the last one also?

Nate: It was pretty quick. I think we had a week.

Jake: I think we’re kinda switching gears now just cause it’s getting towards the holiday season and everyone’s gonna be doing stuff so writing right now is a good time for that so that’s what we’re gonna be working on.

Justin: That and booking some shows for winter/spring of next year

Jake: We’re looking for some stuff, but we don’t want to get too crazy, and we don’t want to overplay Pittsburgh

Are you playing most of the major festivals? Are you going to try?

Jake: That’s something I was thinking we could start looking into that kinda thing, the festivals and whatnot. Probably try to break into that market as far as…

Nate: I just think you need to email people so…

Des: Let’s find somebody and give them a back rub, send them a present.

Nate: We’re ready to play just give us a day.

Maunee: We’re also working on trying to get a music video shot.

Rachel: You have someone?

Des: We have a couple of people we’ve been talking to.

Maunee: I think it’s a little hard to maintain the band as well as having your life to live. It’s like 2 full time jobs. So like scheduling everything, getting it to line up… its a process

What are your full time jobs?

Maunee: I’m a legalized drug dealer, I’m a pharmacist

Nate: I play in a band that does live karaoke parties, and I Uber during the week. I’m a professional bum.

Jake: I work at The Guitar Center.

Justin: I work for a company who do computer-aided drafting

Des: I am a sous chef at a restaurant, and I do the food truck.

If you had the chance to do this full time, would you do it?

Band: Yes. Absolutely 100%


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