Winning or doing well in a sponsored contest in the music world can lead to extraordinary opportunities for artists. Doors open that were previously closed, people take notice and it’s all uphill from there. Due to their high placement in a cover song competition hosted by Ryan Seacrest, Texas native pop rock outfit Mayberry exploded onto the musical landscape and is now on the verge of releasing their next, much anticipated EP Beautiful Things. We got to chat with vocalist Esteban Rodriguez about himself, the bands creation process and more.
Everyone has their quirks or hidden talents and we enjoy getting the most out of the people who we talk to. With that out there, is there anything unknown about yourself that you’d be willing to share for the entire internet to see?
Good Question! I’d like to think I’m good at basketball or any type of sport but in reality I know I’m not.. What I can do very well is sleep. I can literally take a nap anywhere, anyplace, anytime. The only downside to my hidden talent is that I’m extremely hard to wake up. Once I’m out, I’m out.
Before delving into the upcoming EP, I’d like to delve into Mayberry itself as a band. Like quite a few of the up and coming bands, a contest helped propel your trajectory quicker than normal as you guys placed in a cover song competition hosted by Ryan Seacrest. What does doing well in such events truly do to smaller bands and do you feel you’d be where you’re at if you hadn’t done so well?
It helped a lot. We got coverage on tv, newspapers, magazines and a ton of write up’s telling our fans to vote and to help us win. It was contest that came out of nowhere. We were posting videos & covers every other week just to keep our fans happy while recording our EP and then we got the email asking if we’d like to join the contest for our “Amnesia” cover by Five Seconds of Summer. At first I thought it was a joke, so I didn’t reply until I got on the Ryan Seacrest website and saw that they were doing contests. It helped us out a lot by getting us attention and we got a lot of new fans that would have known we existed.
Texas is a rather unique place as parts of it are very rooted in country lifestyle and musicality (Fort Worth) while other parts are much more open and lean towards a live or alternative and indie scene (Austin). As musicians from the state, did you and do you continue to draw influences from within what the state offers musically or was it more of a “this is the sound we like, let’s do that”?
Yeah, it’s always been about what we want to create. I don’t ever listen to music and think “Man we need to copy this style or sound”. It comes organically and we just write music that we love and know people will love. I’ve studied Pop music forever, so once I learned the blueprint I took it from there and rolled with it.
You see a lot of discussion about how the music industry needs an overhaul, specifically streaming platforms. Foremost, what are your feelings on streaming services and do you feel the help they offer in terms of audience and reach is enough to offset the downsides of them?
As an independent artist, I feel these platforms are great for exposure and promotion. We’re on Pandora, Spotify and iheartradio and have gotten nothing but a great outcome from it. Whether it be from getting new listeners, or making some money off streams. Its different for signed bands though, making a couple cents a stream can really affect them. If they’re not making the money the label put into to them, it can cause them to be put on the backburner.
Harping more on the changes in the music industry, a lot of unsigned and even signed artists are utilizing crowdfunding services to create records. Is that something Mayberry has or would ever consider and how do you feel about the services in general?
I’m not sure how I feel about them. I mean personally if a band needs help funding a stolen trailer or gear then yeah it’s great to have help and support, but if it’s a new local band sitting at home asking for cash to record a record, then I don’t support it. To me, that’s a lazy mentality.
But that’s just me. Everyone is different.
I’m always curious on the thought process that artists have in regards to creating an EP versus a full-length. As a band, how do you decide what your next project will be in regards to that and do you feel EPs are easier or harder to write for?
I feel full lengths should come when there is a HUGE following behind a band. To me, EP’s are easier for promotion and it gives the listeners a taste of what the band is like. This time around we had 11 songs which could have easily been a full length but I felt picking the top 6 would be the best bet.
Some artists tend to struggle when stepping outside their comfort zone and the realm of sound they know, so honing in more on the variety found within, does having such a varied collection of songs make creating a record more or less challenging for the band?
Less challenging for sure. Over the years I’ve been able to practice and experiment with tons of different sounds and genres. So now that I’m comfortable with stepping out of my comfort zone, I feel it’ll be easier to focus on a sound we’re aiming for.
Focusing solely on the EP, Beautiful Mess is quite the name and it’s been mentioned that it’s a title that fits the 6 varied songs. Was the EP always such a beautiful mess of varied sounds or did it sort of fall into place during the writing process?
It all really fell into place. With John Keefe and Morgan Dorr our producers, we really experimented with everything. We did our single “Please Please” first, which has more of a 50’s vibe to it and the following day we wrote and recorded “Coming Home” which is a pop ballad. We put no boundaries on ourselves and ended up with 10 songs that all sounded completely different. At first I was worried, I didn’t know how I would approach releasing them since they didn’t really fit together. But after a while, I embraced the fact that we had a eclectic group of songs and put them together, which led to the “Beautiful Mess” EP.
Since you’ve built up quite a reputation and following over the years solely independently, do you prefer the independent status the band has or is there a desire to join a label, and if so, have you had any discussions?
Of course there has been plenty of discussions with labels but if the deal isn’t right then risking everything isn’t worth it.
I feel like it’s been a blessing not getting signed right away. Its taught me how to work extremely hard and study the in’s and out’s of the music business. I’ve learned how to promote and market myself so that I don’t have to depend of anyone else to do it for me. I feel if we would have gotten signed right away, I would have gotten comfortable and would depend on everyone at the label to do the work for me. Being independent has taught me alot over the years and my work ethic wouldn’t be where it is today. There comes a point where every band needs a label to get to the next level, so eventually we’ll need one.
After the release of your EP later this month, what’s in store for the band this summer and coming fall?
We’ve got some shows and videos on the way. Plus we’ve just signed with New Age Media management this month so get ready for tons of new and exciting updates!
Lastly, this is your platform to voice whatever, so what would you guys like to say to anyone reading this?
Thanks for reading the interview! If you’re reading this and have a passion or goal you really want to achieve, stop thinking about it and JUST DO IT! There’s no time to waste! Thanks for the love, -Esteban.
Thanks Soundfiction! You the best.