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Interview: Dave Elkins of Mae


After an almost 5 year break Mae have regrouped to perform some shows in celebration of the 10th anniversary of their album ‘The Everglow’ and have also started writing together for what we hope is a new Mae release. Dave was kind enough to speak to me about the reason for the break, the up coming tour and what we can expect from Mae in the future and more. Make sure you check out Mae on their ‘The Everglow 10th Anniversary Tour’ in March next year. Dates below.


G’day, Dave, How are you?

I’m great Sean, how are you?


Doing really well mate.

I’m glad we’ve finally got the time to talk.


(Laughs) Yes, it has been a build up. Hopefully I don’t disappoint.

(Laughs) Me too man.


A few years back you guys kind of, for lack of a better word, called it quits? Or how would you describe the hiatus, so to speak?

Well in 2009 we were doing our own thing again. We put out 3 EP’s during that year. We were basically putting out a song every month all year long. We were managing ourselves, funding our own recordings, producing ourselves, tour managing ourselves. We were basically doing everything, and since we were it was sort of getting, well it was getting exhausting. I think the reason why we had to take that break is that we put so much into Mae for about 8 years in a row, cause the band really started back in 2001, and from mid 2001 onwards it was the only thing we had done individually and together. All these different things got kind of exhausting till finally in 2009 we started to release some music and get back into doing things all on our own, I think we just needed a rest. A few of the guys in Mae had left the band in late 2007 so we were carrying that load as well and there was this sadness being without them and trying to find an identity that the 3 of us could have that the 5 of us used to have. It was a really interesting time so after all that in late 2009 we just knew that we were overdue on taking a break and not putting all of our energy into the Mae world. So I moved up to Nashville, where I live now, and built my own studio and started producing other artists and started working on Schematic and a few different things like that, so I had my hands full and I’m just 1/5 of our band. I started recording with Mae when I was 19 and that was all I, or any of the others knew. So we all needed to know what life was like outside of Mae for the time being. So those are the reasons behind why we had a break for a while. And when you put something on the shelf for a while you that’s when you start to miss it, crave it, want it and even need it. We’re fortunate enough to have a fan base that reminds us that we did write some cool songs and put out some good records and they wanted to see it unfold again so it just felt like right now was a really good time to put our feet back into the Mae pool.


Was the 10th anniversary of ‘The Everglow’ the reason why you guys decided to get things rolling again or was that something that was already in the works?

I kind of feel like it was a little bit of both. I mean, a10 year of a record that was Mae’s most commercially successful record and a record that we’re really proud of today. So thinking about how that record affected our fans and how that record affected our lives and seeing what I’ve personally been able to do as a man, as a musician, as a producer I owe a lot of that to The Everglow. So the 10th anniversary was coming up but before then we had played a couple of shows to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of our album ‘Destination: Beautiful’ and that really was a feel good moment for the 5 of us to get back together and be on stage and be in the rehearsal space and recalling these old songs. That led to wanting to play more music and then jam on some brand new ideas in the middle of the rehearsal for our ‘Destination: Beautiful’ show. That was all pretty spectacular and it felt inevitable that if we could all get within our schedules an opportunity to celebrate the 10th anniversary of ‘The Everglow’ in the form of a tour then that would be a way to reengage our fan base and reengage ourselves and basically get back together and be creative and musical. So it’s been a bit of everything but the 10th anniversary of ‘The Everglow’ definitely was the catalyst that kind of brought everybody in Mae back into this collective world.


You mentioned being creative as a band again. Is that a way of saying that you guys are writing for a new release?

Yeah. We have been in the studio together 3 times since June and we’ve got a bunch of stuff that we’ve started, unfortunately none of it is finished accept for these new ‘Destination: B-Sides’ singles. We’ve got a re-imagined version of our song ‘Skyline Drive’ and we’ve got an updated version of our song ‘Where the Fall Began’ that will be exclusively released on our vinyl for ‘Destination: B-Sides’. I’ve got a feeling that the best music that Mae has written will be in front of me and not behind me and for years I didn’t believe that. Like I said, we’ve been in the studio 3 times and there are a lot of cool ideas, great music and great songs and plans that seem to be effortless when we get together. So hopefully in a short period of time from now you’ll be able to hear some of that music once we get it finished. I’m flying to Virginia next week to start rehearsing for these anniversary shows with Mae and I hope that we can book some studio time while we’re together to finish particularly these 2 songs that we have spent a lot of time working on and writing together over the last 6 months.


So there’s a slight possibility that you might be chucking a sneaky new song in the set list when you come to Australia?

I definitely hope so. If we can get it finished then we’d love to release it and we’d love to perform it as soon as possible. But saying there will be a brand new song perhaps even performed for the first time live in Australia, I would say that’s better than a coin flips possibility.


With the 3 independently release EP’s (M)orning, (A)fternoon, and (E)vening, from a fans point of view, was it planned to have the riff from the first song on the first EP reappear on the last song of the last EP?

It’s funny because ‘Sleep Well’ (the last song from the last EP) was written before ‘The Fisherman Song’ (First song off First EP) was. We had that song going for a while so when we finally finished writing ‘The Fisherman Song’ and we knew it was going to be the opening for the (M)orning EP we thought “Lets reimagine that riff and put it in E flat so the last riff you hear at the end of the first song is the last riff you hear at the end of the last song”. Mae has always been, for better or for worse, a highly conceptual band. ‘The Everglow’ has a prologue and an epilogue and some of the songs seamlessly run together and if you have the artwork in front of you, you can read along and there’s illustration in water colour painting that helps you understand the story if you don’t have your own connection with it. With that being said, that connection is different from my connection to ‘The Everglow’ but that is different to what yours maybe is or anybody else’s. We’ve always been a highly conceptual band and with this (M)orning, (A)fternoon, (E)vening trilogy of EP’s we kind of went for broke. Lyrically there’s references on (M)orning to what is on (A)fternoon. We wanted to make it so if you’ve listened to a 32 minute EP by Mae by the time you finished it all the way through you feel like you’ve been on a rollercoaster ride or you’ve gotten the same feeling you get when you watch a movie. So having a reimagined version of that one riff from ‘The Fisherman Song’ to ‘Sleep Well’ was definitely intentional and I’m stoked you picked up on that because I didn’t know how many people picked up on it and its cool to talk about. It makes me excited about what Mae is capable of doing in the future because we’ve definitely grown as musicians over the past 5 years and having Rob and Mark back in the band as writers and collaborators and performers means if we wanted to do more things like that we now have more colours to paint with which I am really excited about.


Speaking of those EP’s. You guys have already released your first two albums on vinyl and are about to release ‘Destination: B-Sides’ on vinyl. Is there any chance of seeing the 3 EP’s getting a pressing?

There is definitely a possibility and we are looking for the right time to do that. This year is the 5th anniversary of those 3 EP’s and we own them, the were released on our record label CELL records back in 09 and we can do what ever we want with them so I think probably over the course of 2015 as we’re playing ‘The Everglow’ shows and travelling the country and the world and writing and new music I’m sure its inevitable that those EP’s will turn into a reimagined artistic release exclusively for vinyl.


Obviously you’re going to play ‘The Everglow’ from start to finish on this up coming tour but how do you go about picking the rest of the songs to play?

I was just home in Virginia a couple of months ago to do about 4 days worth of rehearsing with the Mae guys and we put about 40 songs together to rehears. We’re also doing this really cool VIP acoustic show for people who want to get that VIP ticket and we don’t want to perform any songs from the acoustic show that we’re going to perform the electric show. So there are 13 songs on ‘The Everglow’ that we’re going to play every night but we want to also play some other music so we’re just basically going to do our very best to re learn or learn almost every Mae song that we have in our catalogue so we can change our set up from night to night. So we basically went around the room and asked each other what songs we wanted to play every night and there ended up only being about 8 or maybe less Mae songs that we don’t particularly want to play. I arrive on the 15th and we’re rehearsing up until the 23rd and then till the 28th and then get ready to play our first show on New Years Day. We’re going to get in about 100 hours worth of rehearsal time between now and our first show so hopefully we can put a great collection of songs together.


Alright Dave, we need to wrap this up but its an absolute privilege to feature you on the site and can’t wait to see you guys in March.

Awesome. It’s going to be amazing. I can’t wait to get back to Australia and I’ll se you in about 3 months. Take care.

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