California trio Modern Maps are a mysterious bunch – just try Googling them, it’ll turn up naff all. What we do know? The trio recently to Rise Records, and at the time this issue of Upset lands (hello), there’ll be a debut album too. Vocalist Trever Stewart lifts the lid on some of the intrigue.
Hey Trever, how’s it going?
I’m doing this interview from the comfort of a bubble bath… so today is going quite well so far.
Nice. Introduce your band – who are you all, and how did you come to form Modern Maps?
We are a three-piece rock band from Los Angeles, California. Our band consists of; Trever Stewart on vocals, Matthew Hall on drums, and Dominick Hall on guitar. Modern Maps was born when brothers, Matthew and Dominick, decided to post an ad to Craigslist searching for a vocalist. Lucky for me, they weren’t psycho murderers, and my vocal tryout went really well.
We all grew up listening to music such as The Cure, Third Eye Blind, Radiohead, etc. Our friendship clicked, and so did our influences. We began spending the next few years writing music, booking shows, and genuinely falling in love with what we were creating as artists. Now here we are putting out a full-length album via Rise Records, and we couldn’t be more happy more about it!
What has band-life been like so far, did everything slot into place fairly quickly or has your debut felt a long time coming?
Band-life while preparing for ‘hope you’re happy.’ has been incredible! Fortunately for us, Rise Records has backed our vision 100% since day one and gave us as much time as we needed to bring the record to life. We can breathe easy knowing that we’ve given all eleven songs the attention they deserve and it makes me feel like we are right on schedule.
You’re very difficult to Google you know, did you have an online purge before the new album lands? Is this a fresh start?
Oohhhh that’ll change soon enough. Yes, this is a completely fresh start for us. We wanted our first impression to be of our most true form as artists. We feel like this record is the best representation of who we are and it marks a perfect launch point for our career.
How did you end up signing your record deal with Rise?
We flew up to Portland, Oregon last year to demo just two songs with our close friends and producers David Knox and Ryan Furlott. After completing the demos, they reached Rise’s ears. They were so fond of those two demos that before the end of the day they offered us a record deal and had us march our butts right back into the studio to keep writing until we knew that we had a full-length record that we were proud of. We are so grateful to be members of the Rise Records family and having their continued support.
Is your album title ‘hope you’re happy.’ sincere or sarcastic?
Both. Depending on the tone in your voice, it can go either way. It could be honest, or it could be a giant middle finger. In this circumstance, it’s a form of goodbye, and it’s honestly both.
What were your key sources of inspiration while you were working on the record?
‘hope you’re happy.’ is an extremely personal collection of music that details the loss of love and the rolling wave of self-doubt that comes along with it. The inspiration behind this record came from exploring those events and translating them into music.
…Also BBQ’s, Mario Kart 64, and Teddy and Maggie the studio dogs.
Do you have a favourite track on the release?
I do! It’s a difficult task to choose just one because this record has such a wide array of sounds, so I’ll give you two. The tracks ‘Ahold of Me’ and ‘Something Different’ are both very close to my heart. When I listen to these songs they reopen some scars and they’re hard for me to listen to. Which I think is a good thing, right? Haha.
What do you think are some of the main challenges facing up-and-coming bands at the moment?
For me it was finding my confidence. There are so many amazing pieces art in the world that it’s so easy to get discouraged about your own. Not just bands, but all artists should understand that just because there is so much incredible art in the world, that doesn’t mean that it’s any better than your own. If your art is a true expression of yourself, then it’s one of a kind and a masterpiece.
Do you have a big summer ahead? What are your plans?
Ohhhhh yes, we do have plans, and we couldn’t be more happy about them! Our album ‘hope you’re happy.’ debuts on 1st June! We will also be dropping some exciting tour news in the near future so be sure to follow all of our social media accounts and stay tuned!