Interview: Coley Dennis of MASERATI
Maserati is a band that has had a tumultuous ride — as a driving force in the experimental-post rock resurgence in Athens, they have had great highs, and with the death of their influential drummer, great lows. I had an opportunity to talk to founding member and guitarist, Coley Dennis, over a PBR at SXSW 2013 about these issues and moving the band forward.
Our meeting was impromptu: sitting on a couch in Valhalla, an Austin Bar, at 1am. I bought the beers and we jumped into serious discussion pretty quickly.
I only touched for a second on the issue of Mr. Fuchs. Most who know the band well know the tragedy. We turned the conversation to the positive. Coley said “the creative process was hard. We knew we wanted electronic drum elements on the new record, but really wanted acoustic drums on the record and live.“
Enter the future: Mike Albanese. Mike is an Athens icon: drummer for cinemechanica, Bit Brigade, Powers (my personal favorite), and many other incredibly technical Athens bands. Coley described the decision to bring Mike on full time as “an easy one.” “Mike is our bro, he understands what what were trying to do with the band, he’s a fan of the band, and we’re a fan of him. It made sense.“
We shifted the conversation to the the new record — a stunning display of intelligent, mathematic, kraut-rock-esque Athens rock jams featuring a precise blend of guitars, synths, and drums (and a favorite of 2012). I was surprised to find out that the majority of the guitar work on the record is that of Coley, while fellow guitarist Matt Cherry focused more on groundwork electronics and synthesizers and editing in the writing process. Guitar duties are then divided up between the two players for live performance while the synths and electronic drums are solely the controlled by Matt on a sampler.
The flow of the record is smooth and we can expect even more of that in the future, according to Coley. The band has been working on an extended “dance rock banger” piece with movements that transition into one another to create a “singular, 20-minute-long, piece of art” that they then “could release on a 12-inch”. We certainly look forward to it, especially after the great strides made on VII.
We finally talked about the immediate future in terms of live performances. They got offered an opening spot from good friends STS9 for shows in St. Louis, Milwaukee, and Chicago immediately following their SXSW performance. Coley explained that he was “going onstage in Austin at 1am, playing for about 45 minutes, and then driving the first shift of a 13 hour trip to St. Louis.” After these shows they’ll spend a month in Europe.
It’s about this time that he had to go set up. The band went straight into the first ten seconds of San Angeles and Coley’s amp blew a fuse. Luckily So Many Dynamos’ guitarist could lend an amp. The unity between these bands at SXSW is pretty cool. Despite, for good reason, bands like Maserati sometimes referring to it as “south by south stress.” Maserati started their set and killed it. It was a great show to accent an awesome conversation.