Honoring the region's fertile musical history, Mapache impart their Panamerican spirit on the traditional sounds of California.
Mapache formed back in January of 2016. How did you guys meet? What were the first collaborations like?
We met in high school through a mutual friend. There was a group of people that skated in the park in the afternoon and that's where we first hung out. We got together a few times to play guitars and sing, and started playing in bands together. Our music style has been pretty similar since we started, just singing and guitars.
The music of Mapache is raw and refreshing with the clean resonator guitar accenting your harmonies. What are some of the influences for the band's sound? How does living in California attribute to the atmosphere of your songs?
We both have a deep love for the southern California landscape, culturally and musically and geographically. We love the sounds of the San Francisco scene, the Dead, Jefferson Airplane, and the Bakersfield scene, and all of the southern California stuff- Byrds, Beachwood Sparks, CSNY. Growing up here there was also a ton of amazing Mexican music that has influenced us a lot. Sam lived in Mexico for a few years as well.
You guys have played some pretty impressive stages for having very little recorded music out there. How have you managed to get the stage time and who have been helpful folks in the California music scene pushing you guys forward?
The Beachwood Sparks guys are family, and they have helped us out more than we can say. A lot of our gigs have been through them, or people we've met through them. They're all super amazing dudes and we have a ton of love and gratitude for them.
The debut record comes out this fall on Spiritual Pajamas Records. What was the recording style for the album? Do you guys have experience recording or was this the first go at laying tracks down?
We tried to make the album pretty similar to our live performance. Its pretty stripped down. We threw in some bass and pedal steel and percussion here and there. We've recorded a few times, but never at a place like Valentine, or working with people like Dan Horne who produced the record, and Austin Mccutchen, and Brent Rademaker and a bunch of other rad dudes who helped us out a lot.
I've always found it interesting how country music takes on a different identity across the country, though ultimately withholding many core tenets. How would you describe California country? What makes your style of songwriting such a unique sound and sensation?
County music has always been folk music and people's music, its held on to some of its musical southern and Appalachian roots but it always talks about the people where it's made, so California country sings songs about this place and the people who live here and what's going on around here. We just love this music, and love playing this music, and we're trying to honor this rainbow of musical traditions that are super rich where we grew up.
We were lucky enough to catch a Mapache set at Huichica Sonoma in June. For an acoustic duo, the live performance requires some level of openness without the reliance of other instruments filling space and time during the show. Have you guys always enjoyed performing? What have been your favorite types of gigs to play? Anything in particular that makes performing difficult?
Performing is always fun, its hard to think of a gig that was a bad time. We've been super lucky to play a bunch of amazing spots in California that are just awesome to visit anyway. We've played a lot of loud bars, which can be challenging, so its always a treat to play somewhere where people are super engaged, but its pretty much always fun, thats why we do it.
What type of things inspire creativity for your songwriting? Do you have a process for writing music or is it a dynamic and fluid approach? Are there things that hinder your creativity?
We just write songs about our experiences and our thoughts and we think people will relate to them. We write songs together and occasionally on our own.
You guys are going on a string of dates up the West Coast including a stop in Felton, CA with Beachwood Sparks. The Sparks have been an influential outfit for years. Are there added pressures to a gig like that? What can folks expect from a Mapache show? Will others across the US be able to hear your music live in the near future?
We look up to those guys a ton, so theres a little pressure of course, but at the same time, they're family so its mostly just super fun to be playing together. You can expect us to play honest, and were gonna do something from the heart. It's just us and our guitars. We're working on some shows for the west coast and southwest and hopefully some east coast stuff too. We're just stoked to get the record out and play and hopefully do some traveling.