“We don’t necessarily identify as a straight-up jamband,” Eric Maier, part of the newest Burlington, Vt., sensation Madaila, admits. While they don’t willingly lean into the jamband label, they have no qualms about recounting their past adventures following another famous Burlington outfit.
“We were driving around with Phish when we were 17 and 18,” Maier recalls. “Whether or not it’s overtly present, there’s a lot of that jam influence.” Maier remembers playing in the pre-Madaila outfit Chamberlin and purposely straying from the jamband influence. “We were kind of resistant to it because we wanted to do something else and we didn’t want people to start reducing us to that.”
Madaila—an anything-goes- psych-pop quintet that finds Maier teaming with primary songwriter Mark Daly—rose out of the ashes of Chamberlin. The two actually attended first grade together and started playing music together in high school in a jamband called Pale Moon. “That was super fun, classic, youthful energy and basement parties—getting super stoned, lots of jamming and all that fun,” Maier reflects. Madaila burst onto the scene with The Dance, assembling a full band that also includes Willoughby Morse, Dan Ryan and Jer Coons. After sharing the stage with fellow Vermonter Grace Potter, as well as Mac DeMarco, Deer Tick, Delicate Steve and many others, the group dropped their sophomore album, Traces, in November.
“We were just trying to build off The Dance,” Daly explains. “We wanted to make this one a little more ambitious and complex. I’d say it’s a little more unique. It’s more rocking than the first one.” Though Daly primarily tracked The Dance himself,
Traces showcases the entire ensemble. “Everyone gets to shine and put their own spin and touch all over the record,” he says. “It’s definitely more conceptual and freakier and psychedelic and philosophical, but it still has a lot of catchy and danceable tunes.”
Daly and Maier are quick to gush about Burlington, even giving back to the community with Madaila on Main, a festival featuring numerous local acts. They will return home to ring in 2017 with a spot at Higher Ground and routinely make it a point to visit the Nectar’s stage, the very venue where another Burlington outfit honed their chops during their formative years.