Run Maggie Run
FROM a Chicago force of nature…
I head to the shores of a band with equal force and fortitude. The Hamilton-based band Run Maggie Run has been talking about their new single, Endlessly, and whether more material will come – the Canadian band discuss their formation and the sort of artists who have inspired them.
The chaps recall fond memories and tell me where they are touring; if international gigs are a possibility; all the new artists we need to get our ears around; whether they have any more plans for the remainder of 2018 – they end the interview by selecting some cool tunes!
Hi, guys. How are you? How has your week been?
Peter: We’re great! This week has definitely been a busy one, with the release of the new single and all. But, super-rewarding as well - it really is an amazing feeling to see people vibe and resonate with something that we’ve worked so hard on.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourselves, please?
Certainly! We’re Run Maggie Run; a group of five Canadian fellas who love making music. We’ve been described as ‘Vaguely haunting Indie Folk-Pop’ before and, to date, we still haven’t come up with a better description of our sound!
Can you talk about the new single, Endlessly? What is the story behind the track?
Gavin: We’re right in the middle of putting together our first album. We had a line-up switch: our first drummer left the group and we sorta floundered in limbo for a month or two before adding Jared, our current keyboardist. It was during this time that we started messing around with some more electronic elements as well - and with all this change there was a lot of uncertainty as to how the band was going to move forward.
Endlessly was the first track we wrote with Jared in the group, and for us, I think it was exactly what we needed. The success of putting this tune together is what gave us the confidence to keep moving forward with this new line-up/approach.
Dylan: This tune began as one of those ‘Let’s-all-make-noise!’ sort of jams, if I recall correctly, and, as mentioned previously, was the first track written with our current roster. This was really a sort of spur-of-the-moment connection between the five of us and I feel it really built a solid foundation and was a great ice-breaker for the tracks that have followed. It has really felt like a rebirth in a sense; a band change that was accompanied by a shift in focus and sound that couldn’t have been more refreshing and inspiring!
Jared: The verse’s structure came together as a collaboration between Peter and Gavin. I’ll be honest; at first, the three-chord nature with F major opening and closing the sequence was not something I bought in on originally - though I’m all in on it now! I was messing around with a bunch of chord progressions and one eventually led to the chorus. Darren and I also developed the outro, over which Dylan put this killer guitar line with great amounts of delay. All was left to add some Gavin-esque vocals and lyrics - and we had a new song!
Darren: This song had something for everyone in the band: it was a bit of an amalgamation of what we all wanted to write. It is one of the only songs we wrote from scratch as a spur-of-the-moment jam and I think that added so much to the emotion it has. Ultimately, I think it makes people feel the way we wanted them to feel and that was the main goal.
What was it like putting the video together? Was it fun to shoot?
Peter: The shoot itself was definitely a lot of fun - we shot it with our good friend Rohann Agalawatte (of R.O.Creative) in a bowling alley basement after the alley had closed; so the actual shooting was all done around 1-3 A.M. The set and overall look turned out way better than we had ever hoped – however, there was a price to pay and that came in the form of carrying seven massive CRT T.V.s up and down a full set of stairs. Unfortunately, we’re musicians and not powerlifters so that was definitely a bit of a physical struggle!
That being said, the end product was definitely worth it in our opinion and we have to give a lot of that credit to Rohann for being a wizard with the visuals.
Is there more material coming from you guys? What are you working on?
There most certainly is! We won’t give away specifics for now, but more music is definitely coming - if any folks are interested, maybe keep an eye out around August. Our social media’s will be giving you all the right hints and details at the appropriate times.
Jared: The best previews are given at our shows. We’re continuously writing new material and, presently, this is the only place (apart from the rare Insta-live broadcast) to hear our new repertoire…
Run Maggie Run formed in 2016. How did you guys find one another? Is there a story behind the name?
Peter: Of the original line-up, all of us were students at Sherwood Secondary School in Hamilton, Ontario and had all been friends throughout our time there. Gavin and Darren were in a group called Citizen Kid in high-school while myself, Dylan and our original drummer, Devin, played on our own. After high-school, Citizen Kid ended up disbanding and, after a few months of Gavin using the moniker as a solo act, he brought the rest of us in.
Around the time that Devin left, I went to an Engineering Society Coffeehouse (I was and still am an Eng student at the University of Waterloo) and found out that Jared, who I had known previously, was an absolute wizard on the keys. I asked him to join once we had the vacancy and he accepted!
Jared: Peter heard me play (and sing - though that was a more of a detractor I think!) at said coffee house. It wasn’t until about two months later that a message on Facebook came through asking if I knew any drummers or keyboardists. I jokingly replied: “Is that an offer (to join your band)?” Turns out I had very similar tastes in music. After a few trial rehearsals in January of 2017, I started playing live with the group in the following month.
Gavin: As for the name, there’s an old Folk song by a band called The Journeyman, and one of the refrains in it is “Run, Maggie, run/Chase the rising sun”. I used to listen to this song all the time with my dad, so it’s kind of kept a special place in my heart and just seemed super-appropriate as a moniker.
Do you think the material you are making now is the truest sense of who you are and what the band is all about?
Dylan: In this current stage of our musical careers, I’d like to think we are only just graduating into something deeply atmospheric and emotionally-driven. We are really giving our all and going over everything with a fine-toothed comb when it comes to songwriting and planning for future events.
So; I would say our current material is the truest sense of who we are now but would like to add that there can only be progress made from here. We can only really learn to express ourselves deeper and more accurately as time goes on. I guess what I mean is ‘yes’, but this is only the tip of the iceberg…
Where are you heading on tour? Where can we catch you?
Peter: We’ve got a small four-day tour coming up at the beginning of June around Ontario with some buddies of ours from a band called Swim Team - we’re hitting up St. Catharines @ The Green Room on 2nd and Toronto @ The Painted Lady on 3rd.
If anyone reading is around and interested, stop by and give us a shout!
Might you come and play the U.K. this year? Do you get a chance to gig over here?
As much as we would absolutely love to, international gigging is really tough for us - all of us work full-time to support both ourselves and what we do with the band and even getting the time off is difficult, not to mention the money, permits etc. It’s 100% on the to-do list and we have a few touring grants in our sights to help us make it a reality but, unfortunately, it’s just not practical for us at the moment!
What do you hope to achieve in 2018?
Essentially, we’re just looking to do what we’ve been doing for the past year: writing tunes and sharing/playing them wherever we can, whenever we can and to whomever we can!
Dylan: I think, for us, 2018 is going to be a very slow and thought-out year of fine-tuning our sound and capabilities as musicians, with the general focus on releases we have planned as well as learning to achieve a more viable work-life balance with all of this. As stated previously, we are all working full-time in order to keep the R.M.R. train going and it is a blast - but some finer organization can only mean for cleaner work!
Have you each got a favourite memory from your time in music – the one that sticks in the mind?
Peter: For me, that’s probably going to have to be music class in grade 12. I had music then a spare as my final two classes of the day in the final term of grade 12, which was absolutely awesome in the first place.
What made it even better, though, was that me and Gavin were actually the only two percussionists in the class; since most of the stuff we did in class was based around scales, we were sorta just allowed to head to the auditorium adjacent to the music room under the pretence of practicing rudiments and just noodle on all the random instruments in there.
So, yeah; I got to spend half of my final high-school term literally just goofing around on piano, drums; timpani, vibraphone and guitar. Definitely, the best semester I’ve ever had.
Jared: I spent two semesters working at Harvard Medical School in Boston and was fortunate enough to have seats to see the Handel and Haydn Society’s production of the St Matthew Passion by J.S. Bach. Bach’s my number-two composer of ‘Classical’ (or should I say ‘Baroque’?) music. I have no words to describe that performance…
Darren: I think my favourite moment playing music was being on stage in front of over 200 people for our first album-release show. That show was the most eye-opening moment of my music career because of the sheer fact that the people that were there were there for us. It is a feeling like no other.
If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?
Dylan: To be honest, I think you’ve got me personally on the ropes here. There are just too many brilliant artists that inspire and entertain me over and over again, ranging from local artists we already gig with to long-gone '50s Swing groups and straight-up Deathcore metal bands. Being able to get on stage and support any act using any gear is already a true treasure to me that I think I’d rather wait and see what could happen.
Jared: I hear The National puts on a pretty good party. Lots of keys in there that I could jump on pretty quickly. Also, anything Jonny Greenwood.
Gavin: Definitely J. Tillman, also known as Father John Misty. For starters, his music is awesome. But, even outside of that, I feel like hanging out with him would just be an experience-and-a-half as he always seems to have something interesting to say. That and the fact that any man with a beard like that knows how to party.
Darren: I would have to say John Mayer. John Mayer is one of the most talented guitarists of our lifetime and one of the most versatile musicians around. I would love to just be there with him to learn more than anything.
PHOTO CREDIT: Ryan Gaynor
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
Peter: I suppose my advice would be to do what you want to do. If you want to make Billboard top-40-style hits because that’s the music you love, go for it. If you love ambient Polka and that’s what you wanna make, go for it. The farther you go into the music industry, the more you realize it is an industry and, as such, there’s a good argument to be made for creating music with a stronger popular appeal…but I think that, at the end of the day, if you don’t love the music that you’re creating it will show...
Dylan: …and knowing your audience, your sound and how to make your sound fit in well with other bands/acts of the same or similar genre. This is really important towards gaining a decent network fast. In our early stages, we found a small handful of bands that really sounded great next to our music and I think it really helped coax listeners in and definitely helped spread our name as well as the bands we have played with. Knowing your sound and who it caters to and being able to fit into that spot.
Jared: I believe it was Robin Pecknold of Fleet Foxes who says that the coolest thing about being a musician is that you get to pick your fans. I think everyone can appreciate that any particular piece of music will have universal appeal. So, don’t worry about that! If you build it, they will come!
IN THIS PHOTO: Long Range Hustle
Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?
Peter: There’s a lot of great talent in the Ontario region. I’d recommend High Waters from Ottawa for a more Radiohead-meets-Hey-Rosetta vibe; James Blonde from Niagara for a more Pop-Rock-oriented Muse sound; The Kents from Lindsey for a great Indie-Rock sound; Ellevator from Hamilton for a Synth-Rock/Pop vibe; Long Range Hustle for a more Folk-ier Indie-Rock sound - and Boniface from Winnipeg for some great Indie-Rock tunes. I could go on for hours, but I’ll leave it at that for now!
IN THIS PHOTO: Ellevator
Dylan: Hobo Johnson; Open Mike Eagle, Lewis Del Mar; Maps & Atlases
Jared: I’ll double-down on Long Range Hustle. I’ll also add Family of Things!
Gavin: I’d give a shout to Rival Consoles or Foreign Fields! They've been around for a while, but I've just recently started listening to them. Nick Hakim and Bill Ryder-Jones as well!
Darren: I would recommend a listen to one of the first groups we’ve ever played with: Birds of Bellwoods.
IN THIS PHOTO: Birds of Bellwoods
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
Dylan: Aside from my day-job, my life is surrounded by music. Constantly listening and adventuring deeper down the streaming rabbit hole. I really like to just unwind with good food, good music and good company.
Jared: We all are sporting jobs or at school, so hanging out together is usually centred around music. We’re still all greatly interested in what each other has to say about everything sound; so this isn’t a problem for us! As for on my own: I golf.
Gavin: To be honest, I’m pretty much doing something related to music every day. If I'm not playing music with one of the two bands I'm a part of, I'm recording or writing music. If I'm not recording or writing music, I'm probably playing some WoW or Rainbow Six Siege.
Darren: I would say that the best way to unwind for me is to sit out in my backyard and play the guitar for myself with a cold brew. Honestly; music is my way of relaxing. It’s why I love it so much.
Finally, and for being good sports; you can each choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
Peter: Mercy - Plants and Animals
Dylan: Honeybody - Kishi Bashi
Jared: Bollywood - Patrick Watson
Gavin: Doomed - Moses Sumney
Darren: Bon Iver - 715 - CR∑∑KS
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