10 Questions with ... Mike Mains & The Branches
September 3, 2012
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
- Mike Mains
- Shannon Mains
- David Denison
- Nate Wethy
1) Introduce the members of the band, including musical background and/or personality traits.
Mike Mains has been writing songs for a long time. His signature brand of emotion and intensity attracted the attention of the band's drummer, David Denison, who somehow brought even more rowdiness to the equation. Keyboardist Shannon Briggs (now Mains) was also attracted to Mike's songwriting, and, as her recent name change indicates, Mike himself, as well. She brought with her a sense of quirkiness and a knack for harmonies that would come to play a central role in the band's sound. The ensemble is finished by bassist Nate Wethy, who we regularly credit with saving us from life-threatening situations, most of which we are responsible for creating.
2) What can we expect to hear from Mike Mains & The Branches sonically and lyrically on the album Home?
Home, it has been said, is where the heart is. And for us, that couldn't be truer. Our debut album is one of honesty. Being mostly autobiographical in nature, it contains themes of tragedy and failure as well as redemption and renewal. We like to think that the arrangements for the songs play an equal role in conveying those themes. But there is also a sort of happiness conveyed through the music that is at times the backdrop for otherwise difficult content. Our live show has a lot of dancing and gets pretty interactive, and it is our desire to use the joy and openness with which we address sometimes painful subject matter as a means to convey the message of hope we want people to walk away with.
3) What's the story behind your current single "Miracle"?
"Miracle" is a song about some of the struggles that we've all dealt with but that most people are afraid to discuss openly. For example, a line like "Our little toes have been known to go walking down harlot's streets" isn't the kind of thing you typically hear on your local CCM radio station. But maybe it should be. The song is pretty descriptive, and even goes on to say "We tell them, 'It's alright, come to my room and meet all my demands.'" So, that's not exactly what you'd call a metaphor... But the song ultimately makes it clear that we weren't intended to live like that, and ends with "Don't you know that your body is a temple? So why don't you make a little room for me?" The themes in this song are definitely a little bit uncomfortable for most people who actually take the time to figure out what we're saying, but maybe we should all be made a little bit more uncomfortable.
4) Do you have a favorite song on the album?
I don't know that we have a favorite song. I think we all love playing our song "Stereo" live, just because that's the song everyone seems to know the most, and the crowd gets really into it.
5) Do you have a favorite place to play?
We love playing in Columbus, Ohio. We've played a few places there, and it's been so positive lately. The people in that city seem to get what we're doing. There are a lot of people who like our music, but it's a different thing entirely to feel like people actually appreciate the depth of the art that you create, and that's been really encouraging to see there.
6) Have you had the chance to visit with many radio stations? Any inspiring or humorous stories from those visits?
We have had some opportunities to do different radio and television interviews, and they are always entertaining. Sometimes they're good because we manage to squeeze out some wit here and there, but mostly it's because we are a magnet for awkwardness. On a recent trip to Holland, we somehow ended up on a Dutch radio station, in which we were handed instruments and told that we had an hour to write a song and then perform it on the air. Most interestingly, they told us the title of it had to be "My Life Is Like A Pineapple," so needless to say, it was kind of a bizarre night. I think the performance of it is still online somewhere, in case anyone reading this is looking for an excuse to lose all respect for us as artists.
7) We saw that you took some time off this summer for weddings and family time. How is your fall shaping up? Where might we find you playing?
Gosh, we have so much in the works, but I don't think we are able to announce any of it yet. We have some cool tours shaping up this fall. We'll definitely be on the road in September and November, but we'll be opening for some bigger artists who haven't announced the tours yet, so we have to bite our tongues for now. Check our Facebook and Twitter pages for details, and we'll post stuff as soon as we're able to.
8) What song (any time, any genre) do you wish you had written?
"Blowing in the Wind" by Bob Dylan
9) Fill in the blank: I can't start the day without:
10) Do you have much time to check out other artists' music? What are you listening to right now?
We're pretty into a new band called The La De Les. But we're a pretty ecclectic bunch. The New Jack White album, Gaslight Anthem, Passion Pit, Grouplove, Foster The People, Wilco, Coldplay, The National. Mostly, we like good music. That's, I guess, our primary stipulation.