Rising back after multiple collapses, New Orleans band Mahayla has just released the much anticipated Electricspaceagesweetheart.
Back in the 90’s Dave Fera, the bands front-man, was quickly snatched from the Richmond indie scene. Than he was handed a major label deal right after his band The Seymore’s very first show. The Seymore’s had a a national tour schedule, a video on Alternative Nation, and even preformed their single, “Arcade Boy” in a cotton Dockers’ ad. Then came the collapse. Record stores disappeared and labels folded leaving Dave and his late 90’s signing-swoop peers were left weeping gently, their guitars without a home.
In 1999 Fera relocated to New Orleans where he formed Mahayla with drummer Mark Davis but after Hurricane Katrina hit the changes and personal demons Fera faced grew to much, nearly marking the end of his career.
Fera shared his struggles in an interview in the December 2013 issue of Antigravity Magazine:
“I was in a funk for three years. I didn’t do shit. I couldn’t write; I just sat on the couch and got fat. I just wasn’t happy.” After a jarring exchange at a gig one night, he knew he had to pull himself up again. “One night at the Howlin Wolf, someone asked me if they could come over and talk about songwriting; and the way they put it was like, ‘Now that you’re done, would you mind sitting down and plucking on the guitar and talk about song crafting?’ I was a little taken aback by the bluntness and assumption. It made me realize I was wasting years of my life.”
Seven years after he put them on pause Fera turned to Mahayla bandmates Mark Davis, Ike Aguilar (guitar) and Chris Johnson (bass) to help lift him from his funk.
The familiarity and comfort with his bandmates spurred a writing spree. Electricspaceagesweetheart was recorded in parts by Chris George at the Living Room Studio and with Better Than Ezra’s Tom Drummond at Fudge. These two settings and engineers helped create Mahayla’s psychedelic Americana sound, which should be the soundtrack to every teenage make-out session. This new burst of creative energy has already lead to enough material to fill the next Mahayla record and another side project, The Grasshoppers —a bluegrass outlet whose first album is currently being recorded at the legendary Studio in the Country.
Mahayla’s resurgence has seen them share the stage with the likes of the Meat Puppets, the Breeders, Sebadoh, Cracker and Camper van Beethoven. They have also taken their show on the road, including a very successful showcase at SXSW. They have fully committed to their craft, investing every resource they have into not only songwriting, but also packaging and promotion. They started their own label, Serial Lover Records, to serve as a vehicle for not only Fera’s output, but also the projects of the satellite musicians and collaborators Mahayla and its members work with. A reignited passion, a new maturity, an understanding of past mistakes and an album loaded with their own recipe of indie-pop has ushered in an exciting new chapter to one of New Orleans’ longest tenured alternatives to its brass and jazz heritage.
Louisiana record release shows:
March 28 – Chelsea’s Cafe – Baton Rouge
April 5 – Artmosphere – Lafayette