By Nicholas Laugher
CALGARY — There’s a bubbling, jittery energy about Halifax’s Mauno that’s hard to place. Tightly wound coils of anxiety and swelling melody, slowly relaxing, and enveloping… it feels so familiar and nostalgic, yet so damned inexplicable and mysterious. Singer Nick Everett’s soft and understated croon has sharp, haunting hints of agnostic gospel and sardonic, indie revelry.
Armed with an impossibly slick rhythm section and a contagious, wily energy, the trio of Nick Everett, Eliza Niemi and Evan Matthews came together to form Mauno after two disparate projects of Everett’s started to become intertwined.
“Last summer, Eliza and I started working on songs together, a mixture of both of our material in an entirely stripped down/folky way,” says Everett.
“At the same time, Evan and I were developing a series of songs I had written while living away from Halifax. At a certain point, in September, it made sense to bring the two projects together: I had been talking to each about the other and it was really exciting to finally bring it together.”
In just a few short months, the band has gone from dives and DIY venues in Halifax to playing packed shows in Ontario and embarking on a West Coast tour. For Everett, it’s been a long time coming, having bust his ass performing as a solo artist and with a few incarnations of a band for the last couple of years all along the East Coast.
“Playing with Evan and Eliza has been a natural progression from playing with my last band, Nick Everett & Everybody,” says Everett.
“That was an extension of playing solo, of taking folk songs and amplifying them, both in terms of volume and arrangement. There’ve always been sounds I’ve been seeking that have been impossible to achieve by myself – working with the people I’m working with now means I can actually step out of that single-minded seeking and focus on collaboration.”
Their debut, to be released in early fall, is a wild smattering of influences and aesthetics: from morose Dirty Projectors vocals to flighty Sandro Perri production, to crunchy, verbed-out Grizzly Bear guitar tones, it’s all wrapped up and packaged with an unmistakably Mauno sheen.
Meanwhile, the trio has had a tree fall on their van (a van that had just blown a tire, had its brakes go to hell and had the transmission blow) while they’ve been busy taking their new songs around the West Coast, while acting as the backup band for indie powerhouses Gianna Lauren and Jon McKiel. However, with true East Coast charm, Everett says they’re taking the automobile incidents in stride.
“We’re getting it repaired right now in Brandon and had to rent something to get to our show with Limblifter and Library Voices in Regina. Once it’s ready, we’re going to ride that motherfucker to the grave.”
See Mauno with Ghostkeeper, Gianna Lauren and Ryan Bourne at Broken City on July 8th.AB, Alberta, Broken City, Mauno