Interview + Exclusive Video: Mag Tard – “Stayed at Home”
These guys quite possibly have my favorite band name of all time. Mag Tard (a reduction of “Magnificent Bastard”), the Macon-based band was hard at work in 2011 with the release of their EP Did You Mean Mustard?, a slew of shows around the area and most importantly, the filming of their video for their song “Stayed at Home”. The guys in Mag Tard have the wonderfully refreshing ability to pull from their unique musical backgrounds and create a sound that’s all their own. I sat down and talked with the guys about the video, their EP and how to cultivate a music scene that will organically grow. We we’re thrilled to find out that they wanted to debut their video for “Stayed at Home” with us and we hope you enjoy it!
TBI: What prompted you all to record a video for “Stayed at Home” rather than any of the other tracks from Did You Mean Mustard? (their EP, released in Spring 2011 named after a prompt from Google when searching for the band)
Justin Cutway: It wasn’t our first choice, but the guys from Carbon Film suggested we use Stayed at Home. It is definitely paced more like a soundtrack score than many of the other songs on the EP so it lends itself to video more easily. It’s also an excellent reminder that Mag Tard can slow it down, without losing our edge.
Chris Nylund: There was much debate and several video ideas that were tossed around. We eventually decided to go with both the song “Stayed at Home” and the concept because we felt like it was a great way to introduce some of our newer material while providing some exposure to our beloved downtown and some of our favorite folks that spend their time (and money) there.
Vinnie Thomas: It wasn’t MY 1st choice, but given the ORIGINAL conceptual directions of the video, it seemed to have the most effective dynamic feel…………………… (Translation: paper covers rock!)
Dan Zook: I’m just the sax player; I do what I’m told. I’m just glad they picked a song that I play on. ;-)
TBI: The video’s concept is quite literal and yet thoroughly organic.You all chose to focus on featuring the authenticity of the community that’s been built around downtown by filming at local hotspots and featuring friends and family. What involvement did the band and Carbon Film have with one another to convey the idea behind the track?
JC: The boys at Carbon Film know us as Downtown regulars, so when they suggested we film downtown it made perfect sense to us. After that it was just a matter of choosing our favorite places. We wanted to make sure we could film places where everyone would be completely comfortable.
VT: I was actually doing mission work in Ethiopia, so most of the details had been fleshed out before my return.
DZ: Carbon Film was the brains behind the video (obviously), and we loved the idea of including our favorite faces and places downtown. For being such a small community, the downtown people and businesses do an amazing job of embracing a vast spectrum of music, art and personalities. We just wanted to embrace them back … in a non-icky kind of way.
TBI: Each of you clearly have varied musical backgrounds and influences. Are there artists that everyone can agree upon enjoying and others that only one of you prefer?
JC: This topic comes up on a fairly regular basis when we get together and we still haven’t really come up with very many artists that we agree upon. We’re usually in pretty close agreement about the classics. Things like the Rolling Stones, David Bowie, The Commodores, anything from Stax or Motown, Fugazi, The Ramones, make the cut. After that we split quickly. I tend toward the lo-fi, folk, psychedelic thing.
CN: As the rest of the fellas have pointed out, we have some basics that we can all agree on (Bowie, the Stones, Classic Soul, early punk rock) but there are definitely other choices that none of us can agree on. I’m a huge Springsteen and have only recently snuck a cover into our set and even then, I pretty much play it by myself. Dan occasionally tries to get me to listen to Steely Dan and has yet to convince that it’s worth the trouble. Vinnie’s musical taste is so varied that I very rarely agree to listen to music in his car unless he clearly states the playlist before it starts. Justin and I agree on a lot of stuff and he introduces me to lots of new music but sometimes I swear he listens to what can only be described as a mix between whale noises and half-assed Stephen Malkmus. All that being said, I definitely think our common ground and staunch differences help us create interesting material.
VT: WELL…………. this is clearly a loaded question. My musical background is soulful, classical, AND rockin’! Being in love with all types/forms of rhythm (the basic temporal element of music concerning recurring alternation of contrasting elements, such as stressed and unstressed notes in music: beat, cadence, measure, meter, swing………..whether irregular or regular), I usual like what they like as well as the things they dislike. My motto is; just dance and it’ll be OK. ahe ahe!
DZ: For the most part we all like different music. The fraction of music that we all do agree on tends to be out of respect for the artist rather than true enjoyment. The upside is that we all benefit from exposure to tunes we wouldn’t normally listen to, and the music that we produce tends to have a unique quality due to our diverse input. Wow – that sure sounds fancy … the actually process is much much messier.
TBI: Everyone in the band is involved with the community in different ways than just playing music. What do you think Macon needs the most to start setting itself apart from the other cultural hubs in Georgia?
JC: Right now Macon and specifically downtown just doesn’t have enough residents to make that push toward cultural hub. We need to continue to get the word out that Macon has supportive and dedicated groups and individuals that can help you begin to master your craft here in a safe comfortable and low-pressure environment. Once prepared, we need to get artists, bands, musicians, filmmakers, and the rest to start getting out of Macon to showcase the talents and resources we have here to the state and region. We can’t convince culturally minded people to come to Macon unless they know the pioneering has been done already and they will be able to fit into the city and its culture.
CN: A complicated question that many people that are far more important and powerful than me can’t seem figure out either. I think downtown Macon specifically has a solid core group of musicians, artists and supporters that needs to be expanded upon. When I talk to touring bands that come through Macon, they’re always pleasantly surprised by the hospitality and intrigued by the history but this is where the problem both begins and ends. Macon’s history and architecture is enough to attract folks but there’s not enough to sustain their interest. I agree with Justin’s sentiment in that we need MORE people to support the events and businesses that already exist. I’m not saying more businesses are not needed but I think more time and effort should be spent convincing people from the community and elsewhere to come out and support these things, whether it’s the Big House Museum, a show at the Bookstore, an art opening downtown or an event at the Grand. I feel like all of us could wax poetic on this issue for much longer than you would like, so I’ll step down from the soapbox now.
VT: I live in another city (Gripp-town), so I’ll defer that question to the other kids.
DZ: Four good funerals … maybe more. It seems to me that the old guard in Macon needs to unclench and let the younger and more progressive people take the wheel. And for the love of all that is holy, do something about the dilapidated buildings downtown! It sure would be nice if photographers and filmmakers actually had to jump in their car to get a shot of crumbling infrastructure.