“I’ve never been sponsored by anything before, so I’m kind of geeking out to be here,” says Mae frontman Dave Elkins as he sits for an interview in VOX’s New York headquarters. As modest as Elkins is, he has nothing to be reluctant about. When you have a devoted fan base, two successful full-length albums under your belt and a third on the way, have toured with such notable groups as Weezer, Foo Fighters, and The Fray, and have a headlining tour in the works, you know you’re definitely doing something right.
The beginnings of Mae started when Elkins and fellow band member Jacob Marshall started writing songs in Marshall’s living room in Norfolk, Virginia back around 2002. Once Mae’s lineup was complete, they signed with Tooth & Nail Records and released their first CD, Destination: Beautiful. Two years of touring to support their album not only revealed their music to the world, but just how good they were live. 150,000 record sales later, Mae released their sophomore album, The Everglow. Touring followed in support of the album in which Mae discovered they had fans all over the country. “It’s funny because it used to be that our hometown was the place that brought us the most excitement. But since we’ve been touring for five years we’ve built up quite a fan base. Philly is good to us, Chicago, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, Dallas. We’ve branched out enough that it gets pretty exciting in many places. Sometimes to play in a place that we’re not from lets us know how our fan base is doing,” Elkins says.
Mae’s mix of indie rock and pop rock elements give you the instant gratification of catchy hooks blended with some smarter prog rock-like arrangements. Songs such as “Embers and Envelopes” and “Soundtrack For Our Movie” off of Destination: Beautiful are prime examples of Mae’s distinct feel and their way of seamlessly combining these genres of modern music. The Everglow, Mae’s sophomore album, also showcases the band’s unique sound as well as the songwriting talents of the group as a whole. In the fall of 2006, Mae joined Capitol Records and teamed up with producer Howard Benson (My Chemical Romance, Reliant K, Saosin) to record their third full-length album.
So what can we expect from Mae’s new album, Singularity, set to be released on August 14th of this year? Elkins says it will reflect more of what the band has been going through, being on tour for so long. “I think with every record it’s good to depart from the previous sound so you don’t keep writing the same record. This time it’s a bit heavier and a little more aggressive. More energy comes through the fact that we’ve been touring for nearly five years now. Our live shows have always been more dynamic and energetic than our recordings. This time now the recordings are as energetic if not more so.”
Elkins uses the new VOX AC50CPH Classic Plus head and V212BNX cabinet in the studio and on tour, as well. The AC50CPH’s versatility allows Mae to keep their original softer sound while simultaneously creating the harsher, more aggressive tones, featured on their new album. “When it comes to the stuff we write, the AC50 gives a signature sound… It’s got that thicker, heavier sound that we do. As far as other amps go, I can’t compare. I keep coming back to VOX. I’m always happy with VOX.” The all-tube AC50CPH’s two channels deliver a wide range of different sounds without compromising the chime and crunch that is the signature of classic VOX amps. Channel 1 creates tones akin to the distinct AC30, it’s beautiful cleans and tasty crunch, while Channel 2 keeps the gain coming all the way from classic rock to metal. “I think the best thing about the AC50 is I get the sound that I want every night. It’s got plenty of low end and power. The attack is great. It’s just got a very warm full sound…this amp just has more power.”
Elkins has also recently picked up a VOX Cooltron Over The Top Boost pedal, and plans to incorporate that into his rig to give him extra gain options while playing. It sounds like Dave loves his VOX gear and just wants more!
Check out Mae’s new album, Singularity, coming out August 14th. For tour dates, pictures, music and everything else Mae, you can visit their website at http://www.whatismae.com/ or their Myspace page at www.myspace.com/mae.