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Maudlin Of The Well    
Maudlin of the Well
Immersed in Complexity

Not many bands out there have released two records at the same time. Guns N' Roses did it with 'Use Your Illusion I' and 'Use Your Illusion II' in 1991, and most recently sonic messiahs Old Man's Gloom have released 'Seminar II: The Holy Rites of Primitivism Regression' and 'Seminar III: Zozobra' (on Tortuga). Needless to say, two albums of material at the same time is a big deal to cast out to the music market and you need to be sure that it's the right thing to do.

Boston-area act Maudlin Of The Well are themselves stepping into sacred territory, taking a chance at releasing two albums, 'Bath' and 'Leaving Your Body Map' (on Dark Symphonies) at the same time. Are they mad? Guitarist Greg Massi sheds some insight onto why this talented nine-piece act decided this was the right thing to do in 2001.

"This album came together through one simple [idea], us wanting to get rid of the past and move on with our new direction and ideas," starts Massi. "These releases are here to show what we have done and to clear out any old material that we have. We want to start fresh next time and know nothing has been left behind."

Maudlin of the Well

"We re-did a lot of the older demo songs and made sure they fit the feel of the record. We put great attention to detail to make sure the songs worked well with one another. We all sat around with each other and took apart each song's parts and decided how we could clean them up and / or change them."

He continues, "We added a lot more ideas that were not part of those songs originally. One song in particular that shows how much we did to it is "Girl With A Watering Can" which has been around since 1997. It was in a totally different format with death metal vocals and different parts. When we re-did stuff, Toby (Driver; singer) wanted to make it more fresher and change parts around. We discovered that all of the old songs, seeing that they were recorded at the same time back then, had the same consistent sound and we didn't want that at all. If you look at our last record, 'My Fruit Psychobells. . .a Seed Combustible', it had a lot of variation. We needed to carry that through with these two new discs as well. Changes needed to be made."

There are not a lot of bands out there like MOTW, save for maybe Sculptured (on The End Records) from Washington State in the U.S. Both bands, while different in sound and approach, offer up a stunning and intimate descent into a world of creativity, diverse passages and eccentric ideas. Few bands out there ever get to explore music the way MOTW does.

"The main composer of our songs is Toby. He has always been the brain-child of this band and how he wants things to be mapped out," notes Massi. "Most of the time with MOTW we just work on material and know that it works, but there are times that we question what we do. We actively try to make sure we don't sound like any other band. We may take ideas or be inspired by other acts, but we make sure in the end it is the MOTW sound you are hearing with each track."

Maudlin of the Well

Are there arguments in the studio?

"Oh yeah," he laughs. "We have them, for sure. Our arguing is not too violent. The best example is on the song "Birth Pains of Astral Projection" off the 'Bath' album, the part in the song where a heavy guitar comes in with a guitar solo and organ keyboard sound. Both Tarren (Olson; keyboards) and I had an idea for this neo-classical sound on the song and we played it for Toby and he said we had it in the wrong key. And we argued about the key it was supposed to be in. The argument went on for a week and it turned out great. Toby pushed Tarren and I into making something different out of our original idea and we did just that. I think it sounds even better now than before."

For those that have never really heard MOTW, the band's music is definitely not for those that like their music straightforward and somewhat predictable. MOTW is far from it, lavishingly bringing in multiple styles (gothic / avantgarde / death) and utilizing the finer qualities of all those genres to shape and explore their music. On both new discs, the band has indeed become tighter and more strengthened in their approach. As it has been for some time, horns and organ work are abundant here, as MOTW has worked hard to mature their sound, no matter how complex it may be.

Says Massi of the studio work, "We try a lot of things for each record but we pretty much know what we are going to get out of this all. Our studio time is very limited so we make an effort to have everything ready to go. We know how it should end up (each recording), it just changes a bit with the end result.

"We know that our music is going to be going out to a lot of people and we can't really cater to one type of sound or style that people are calling for. Our music works on emotions and we create music from whatever emotions go into a particular song. Everything we do, as technical as it can get, we try to simplify things as much as possible. We always try to play something that will try to convey a lot of emotion and provide the listener with a feeling of just floating. We want the listener to be really involved with the music. We can't predict what people will get excited over, we just want them to get something out of what we do, whatever that may be."

Maudlin of the Well

The questions comes up about the album covers for the two albums. The album 'Bath' features artwork depicting a trail with signs leading up to a bathtub on the top of a hill, while the other disc 'Leaving Your Body Map' features artwork of a bathtub and a window. Are the images mixed up? Please explain before I have a brain aneurysm trying to figure this out. . .

"That was the same exact question my mom asked me," Massi remembers, laughing. "The reason that we did this is because we knew people would react to this and see that the logical thing would be for the Bath cover to have a bathtub and the other artwork would be more suited for Leaving Your Body Map. The whole point in doing that, seeing that when you open up the 'Bath' album there is a picture of a bathtub, is to show a unity between both albums. Even though they are two different albums, they are pretty much the same album. We talked for a long time if this was to be a double CD or two albums and we finally settled on the two albums -- but we wanted people to know that if they only bought one that there is another one out there that's connected to it. That was the reason for the album covers, to show unity."

You guys are too smart for everyone I think.

Massi laughs. "Maybe we are. We just wanted it to provoke some thought. It worked. We got you."

Yes you did. . . lets move on.

How does it feel to be in a band with so many people? You guys could be likened to The Partridge Family?

"Yeah, I guess so. Or you could say we are the avantgarde version of Slipknot. It doesn't really feel like I'm in a band with so many people. We are all so close now. We are all great friends. It never seems like you are just one person in a group of so many people. Everyone is important in this band and that is a great feeling. I can't imagine being part of any other band. This is just too cool of an experience being in Maudlin. . . with all of these people and the music we make."

Maudlin of the Well

"Everything about this band has been worth it so far," notes Massi about his hard work and sacrifices for the band. "Because of this band I have been able to do so many things, like attending festivals and working in studios. Plus doing interviews is a great experience. When I was in college I hosted a metal radio show and did band interviews, but now it is the opposite and I am being the interviewee. I am getting all giddy doing this."

Giddy like a schoolgirl?

"[laughs] Yes, just like that. I am so excited to do this. Actually my first interview was with UNRESTRAINED! for the first record (Issue #12). It was a fun experience talking to Chris (Bruni)."

In closing he says, "Being able to travel across the country and play shows has been a great experience regardless of problems bands face like no money or working boring jobs. It has been a great relief to be able to say that we are a part of something that is getting a good reaction from people. I am having a fun time for sure."


review of Maudlin of the Well 'Leaving Your Body Map' (Requiem)

review of Maudlin of the Well 'Bath'






c/o Adam Wasylyk
3150 Spring Creek Crescent
Mississauga, Ontario

Interview: Adrian 'The Energizer' Bromley [ ]

Photography: Cary Gordon [ ]
Editor: Brant Wintersteen [ ]
Webmaster: WAR [ ]

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