Interview by: Gabor Kleinbloesem
Feature Image: @ Dominic Pencz Photography
Congratulations on releasing yet another strong new album! I think this is your finest so far, but before we get to the album, can you please tell us more about your band?
Hi Gabor! Thanks for having me. Firstly, thanks for your kind words about the new album! We are very proud. Maverick was born out of a cover band who plated our favorite 80s rock songs. I was the drummer! Haha. We searched for a vocalist for a while but we never found anyone who could sing what they claimed they could. I never considered myself a singer but I often was singing from behind the kit better than our auditioning singers were. So my brother and Chris (original guitar player) suggested I sing. From there we began to write our own music, found a great drummer in Mike, and things started to take shape. We soon realized that it was more fun writing our own songs than covering classics. But covering the classics forced us all to improve at our instruments! Maverick was officially ‘born’ in summer 2012 and we went from there. Our expectations for the band in the early days were limited to just having fun. But we soon realized that maybe this didn’t just have to be a garage band and that we could play proper gigs and release material. Huge thanks to my parents for their patience with me and Ryan and our new band, the full band practiced in their house, and to this day I am amazed they are not deaf! Haha.
I found out about your band via your fantastic previous album Cold Star Dancer. Your music is clearly 80s inspired Melodic Rock, can you let us know your influences and how would you describe your music?
Great to hear! It is an album that we are very proud of. Yeah, we are inspired by 80s Melodic Rock and 80s Hard Rock. Many of our favorite bands are in these genres and we took our favorite sounds and blended them into what Maverick would become. Our primary influences are Def Leppard, Skid Row, Aerosmith, Winger, Whitesnake, Guns n Roses, W.A.S.P, Motley Crue, and Queensryche amongst others. We incorporated some heavier elements from more ‘Metal’ bands also, to give some of our tracks a subtle metallic edge. As a vocalist, my primary inspirations are Sebastian Bach, Geoff Tate, David Coverdale, Steven Tyler, Jimi Jamison, Steve Perry, Bruce Dickinson, and Blackie Lawless. Mavericks’ sound is based on the mixture of music that we want to hear as a band – Melodic hooks, chorus choirs, harmonies, dual soloing, and big riffs. Too many bands rely on chord-orientated riffs in modern rock. And my brother Ryan prides himself on a slightly more metallic riffing style with unusual changes and aggressive picking. Best way to say it is 80s style melodic rock with a lot of balls haha!
Melodic Rock is not a style that is common in Belfast and North Ireland, so I guess the scene is small and you’re also familiar with other acts in this genre, such as of course STORMZONE?
Yes, Stormzone is a great band and are friends of ours! Steve Moore from SZ played in Maverick for over a year during the Cold Star Dancer era, he is a great guy and a phenomenal player. You are correct in saying that Melodic Rock is not common in Northern Ireland. We are one of the only bands playing this style in the whole country. Northern Ireland has a ‘heavier metal scene and there are many very talented bands here who play more aggressive styles. But I do think this is part of the reason why the name Maverick appealed to us, we do things our way and we do feel like we stick out like a bit of a black sheep here in NI. But it is something we are used to!
I had a holiday in Belfast/Bangor/North Ireland the year before corona hit us, how is the situation at the moment in your area?
Ah very cool! I hope you enjoyed your time here! The situation is quite grim as I’m sure is the same with you. We have strict quarantine laws which made recording the album very difficult. It is hard to complete writing and recording when you are not allowed to be in the same room! Plus the extended lockdowns left long periods where we could not record. But we can’t complain, many bands had to postpone albums entirely and some bands even broke up during this period. We are just proud of ourselves for pushing through and releasing an album we are truly proud of. Luckily restrictions are slowly lifting now so we are very excited to play some European shows in support of this album, eventually!
Did the pandemic influence you during the creative process of the music and the lyrics of the songs on the new album?
In a way, yes! This is the darkest maverick album in terms of production, tone, and lyrics. I think that unconsciously covid, lockdown and the situation that faced the world contributed to this tone. Although some of the albums were written before covid, lots of the finishing touches, edits, and changes were made during the lockdown. Plus I think there is a little more fire in my voice on this album, I think this was because we were all experiencing a feeling of being trapped and this was a way to release some tension for us all.
Can you please tell us also more about the other songs on the new album Ethereality?
The central theme of this album is dealing with and trying to overcome feelings of pain, loss, addiction, sadness, lust, and being trapped. So although the lyrics are darker they have a bright and optimistic overtone. Many of the songs are about coming to terms with and overcoming these feelings, not being victim to them. So it is in many ways a story of strength.
‘Falling’ is about someone overcoming an addiction.
‘Thirst’ is based on the vampire film ‘The Lost Boys’ and the lead character dealing with the reality of what he has become and deciding to use it to fight back.
‘Never’ is about someone who is dealing with and getting over a hard breakup.
‘Switchblade Sister’ is about a man who is being emotionally and physically used by a femme fatale and has finally opened his eyes to the fact that he can never be with the girl in a conventional sense.
‘Bells Of Stygian’ is about the bad side of organized religion and how it can promise salvation at the price of compromising one’s soul.
‘Angels 6’ is specifically about a jet fighter pilot on a routine flight encountering a hostile enemy craft and fighting to save his life.
‘The Last One’ is about coming to terms with the loss of a loved one and reassuring them that they will meet again.
‘Dying Star’ is about someone having an existential crisis about the meaning of life when gazing at the stars at night, imagining a distant supernova and thinking of how insignificant human life is by comparison, coming to terms with this and realizing that life is to be enjoyed, not feared.
‘Light Behind Your Eyes’ is about a person who has destroyed their own relationship but is taking responsibility for it, owning up to their weakness, and expressing guilt at how they negatively affected their ex-partner.
Finally, ‘Ares’ is simply about the Greek god and is told from the perspective of Ares himself as he brags about his power, might, and cruelty. This song is a little different as there is no underlying meaning past the story of Ares himself.
I know this is a very long answer but I like talking about lyrics and song meanings! But in Maverick we want people to take their meanings and interpretations from these lyrics, some of them are intentionally ambiguous and vague so people can decide what the song means to them.
When touring will be possible again, will you be coming over to Europe?
We honestly have no idea, but I do know there are plans in the works for September where we hope to get into Europe to promote the album. We miss playing shows and we will endeavor to get out into Europe to play and tour as soon as we possibly can. This is the first-ever album that we haven’t been able to promote with shows, it is a strange feeling but let’s hope it won’t last too long!
If gigs aren’t allowed also this year, how will you promote this album besides doing countless interviews, streaming concerts, or already writing for a future album?
If gigs aren’t allowed we will probably arrange some high-quality streaming concerts to give fans some sort of proper experience. It is something that we want to do and something we plan on doing if gigs still are not possible. We also plan on doing a fully acoustic set at some stage too. But honestly apart from the things you mentioned we don’t have any plans, gigs and touring are such a vital part of promoting an album and band that we are a little lost without it. The good thing is that we can now, as you say, work on the next album while it is quiet! Use every piece of time we have!
A few short questions that you hopefully are willing to share with us:
– Favorite band of all times:
Iron Maiden/Blind Guardian/KISS
– Favorite album of all times:
Queensryche – Operation Mindcrime
– Favorite music genre besides Melodic Hardrock:
Alt Rock/Progressive Power Metal
– Best concert ever visited:
Manowar – Earthshaker fest 2005
– Last concert visited:
Evergrey – Dublin 2019
– Best performed concert by your band:
Not sure! My favorites were both HEAT festival appearances, Sursee/Switzerland Headline in 2018, Rockingham 2017, Rock N Loc 2019, Ice Rock 2018, Rocknacht Tennwil 2017 – all amazing shows. Our Belfast album launches in the Limelight are always great too!
– Last performed concert by your band:
HEAT festival Ludwigsburg 2019!!!!!!!!!!! Seems like forever ago now.
– First bought record (or CD):
Marilyn Manson – Mechanical Animals
– Last bought record (or CD):
Turilli/Lione Rhapsody – Zero Gravity (TODAY!)
– Most precious moment in your life (could be non-music related):
Marrying my wife Shonagh and holding my daughter Lorraine for the first time.
– 2020 is…
– 2021 is so far…
– 2022 will be…
A return to the real world! (Hopefully)
Good luck with MAVERICK, fingers crossed the band will be able to tour again in the near future!
Thank you very much for taking the time to interview us, Gabor, great questions!! And thanks for the kind words about ‘Ethereality’, Cheers mate!