WRBB’s Craig Short got a chance to have some real talk with Mauno after their set at NxNU. Read on for their thoughts on hot dogs, Chad VanGaalen, the DIY scene in Halifax, and much more…
Craig: So I’ve heard that you’re named after someone’s grandfather? What’s the scoop there? Who was grandpa Mauno?
Eliza: Grandpa Mauno was my dad’s dad. We originally chose the name because we liked how it sounded and how the letters looked. We were sort of spitballing words and naturally I said my grandfather’s name.
C: Well, of course.
E: Yeah, there’s probably some psychological Freudian stuff happening there. But then it took on another meaning because my dad’s grandpa was really musical, and my dad was really musical, but my grandpa Mauno wasn’t musical at all. So we’re reclaiming the lost musicality of my lineage.
C: I also saw that you guys toured Europe with Chad VanGaalen. Sounds exciting!
Nick: Yeah we met up with him and went on tour for about two and a half weeks. And it turns out he’s a really, really sweet human being.
E: We were all a little scared but then they were just super friendly and humble.
C: Well, he does have all those body-horror lyrics going on.
Adam: He’s got body-horror everything *laughs*. His whole way of making conversation is pretty terrifying. It’s full force all the time.
C: Well this actually brings me into my next question. I was listening to your music earlier and then I got some suggestions coming up, but none of them sounded that similar. The only common thread was that they were all Canadian. Is that a common thing, with people just lumping all Canadian bands together? Is there anything unifying them?
Scott: There’s definitely not one sound. That does happen, and I don’t really know why. There’s so many fewer people in Canada, but I feel like you can’t walk down the road without bumping into three guitar players. It’s pretty wide ranging. I guess we are just lumped together because we all look the same and sound the same. *laughs*
C: How would you describe the scene in Halifax? It’s not really a place I know much about.
E: I think like any place you’ve got pockets of different genres. But I always found it had a pretty strong DIY scene.
A: And there’s a really great art school there, so every year there’s a new group of artistic young people that populate the city. I think that plays into the DIY thing. There are all these people that moved to Halifax to make things. And there’s not a whole lot to do there, so you end up making even more things.
N: It’s really good too because – well, it’s 12 hours from Montréal, so other than Fredericton, which you can get a show in, there’s really not any place to play for a touring band. If you’re going out there, it’s a commitment and most people just don’t make that commitment. So there’s a vacuum of music [around Halifax]. Unless you’re making it, it doesn’t exist. But if you want to make it, you can.
C: So would you say that you guys have that DIY mindset going?
N: We did at first! We did absolutely everything ourselves. And then it became too much. We were realizing we couldn’t make all the art as well as we possibly could. We used to do everything, like the album artwork and poster artwork and show booking and… you just can’t do it all.
A: You’re not even making music anymore at that point.
C: Well, speaking of making music, were any of those songs you played in the set new? I didn’t recognize a few of them.
N: Yeah, some of them were new! They’ll be on the next record that we’re recording in October. And we’re actually going to record with Chad VanGaalen. He’s got a studio in his back yard and we’re going to go out there for a little while.
C: Oh, that’s awesome! Are you going to get some ambient recordings from there? I was just reading about how you put samples like that in the latest record [2017’s Tuning].
N: Yeah, well with that, we recorded it, and at first it sounded like it was made in a vacuum. So we were like, “what’s missing?” And we realized it was being made in absence of context, so we sort of reintroduced the context. Which is just the sounds of Halifax.
C: Is it important to you to have thematic consistence like that for your albums?
N: It kind of just came about. The theme just defined itself out of necessity.
C: So I’ve got a bit of an odd question. I’m interested to hear your take on it, though. Is a hot dog a sandwich, yes or no?
S: …no. Absolutely not.
N: Why not?
S: What do you mean why not?!
C: Yeah, can you defend your argument?
S: I would say just generally no. Just an instinct. Gut feeling.
C: That’s valid.
S: Because of the bun! A sandwich has to be open. And a hot dog is closed off on the bottom.
C: So what would you say about like, a pita pocket?
N: It’s a hot dog. It’s its own thing; it’s its own category.
E: It’s in the sandwich family, like a pogo stick or a burrito.
S: It’s not in the sandwich family; it’s in the hot dog family.
E: Oh my god.
A: Think about a pita or a souvlaki or something.
S: That’s a hot dog.
A: It’s like a U-shaped thing with chicken all in the pocket. It’s a pocket.
N: Alright, so there’s all these outliers, but there’s a general umbrella of food.
S: What’s the general consensus? Are people out there thinking hot dogs are sandwiches? Because I’m about to knock this microphone over if that’s the case.
C: There are people out there who think that, yes… my question is: when is it going to be useful for you to refer to a hot dog as a sandwich? No one’s going to know what you mean.
S: So you’re on our side.
C: I’m on your side, I was just making sure who I can and cannot trust.
N: Well, I’m happy to have passed through your vetting process.
C: You’re already here, so there’s only so much I can do now.
A: Now we’re going to go into the back back room and do the real interview. *laughs*
Want to hear the full interview? Give it a listen below and make sure to keep up with Mauno on their Facebook and Bandcamp!
[mixcloud https://www.mixcloud.com/wrbb/mauno-interview/ width=800% height=120 hide_cover=1]
Photos by: Christian Triunfo, Maya Dengel, Sarah Sherard, and Emma Turney