I took a cosmic trip inside the minds of Rochester band Maybird on Sunday Sept. 7. Fresh on the scene, the interesting personalities of Maybird’s members correlate with the interesting sounds they produce. Maybird is a sonic experience that one would expect to find at a well-known club in the East Village of New York City or perhaps opening for respected groups such as Delicate Steve or Deerhunter.
Maybird was originally called The Josh Netsky Band and it wasn’t until the summer of 2013 that the permanent lineup formed. “Before last August, Maybird was just sort of a revolving door of people playing drums, bass or whatever—you never really knew what you were going to get,” lead guitarist Sam Snyder said.
Current co-lead and pedal steel guitarist Kurt Johnson came into the picture when asked to cover a gig for Snyder. Snyder was able to make the show after all and the two ended up playing together for the first time. The result was a blend of raw sounds that the band agreed was exactly what it was looking for.
With Josh Netsky on vocals and guitar, his brother Adam Netsky on drums, Johnson on lead and pedal steel, Snyder on lead guitar and bassist Mike Schuler, Maybird creates a euphoric sound that is distinctly its own. The genre-defying band displays a maturity that can soar anywhere from mind-numbing psychedelic pandemonium to catchy indie-pop hooks reminiscent of Australian band Tame Impala.
“Tame Impala will come up at least once in every rehearsal… it’s almost like a joke between us at this point,” Johnson said. Although it can be easy to create a saturated sound with an abundance of layers and effects, the band has managed to steer clear of sinking into such trite acoustics.
The general feeling of respect between band members is apparent. “I wouldn’t mind going deaf, as long as it’s by Kurt…not Josh—he’s loud,” Snyder said. Despite silly quips, it is obvious that Josh is definitely held in a positive light by the band.
“I’m totally under a spell by Josh’s songs. They mean a lot to me—I’m haunted by them sometimes,” Johnson said.
For the most part, Josh brings the ideas to the table and the others take those ideas to the next level. Josh said that many of the melodies and chord changes actually come to him in dreams. The lyrical content, however, is deliberate.
“I try to sit down and actually write something meaningful,” he said.
The Netsky brothers recently made the move to Brooklyn, New York, while the rest of the band remains in Rochester. The band members said they aren’t too worried about the effects of the move.
“There’s definitely a community of really great artists here that [we] will always want to share time with,” Sam said. It makes sense—right now they’re still the big fish in the small pond, whereas Brooklyn will be a completely different story.
As both musicians and people, the band gives off a positive vibe that reflects the excitement about its future. Maybird even has a new album in the works.
“The next album we’re working on is very Maybird through-and-through and much more in-your-face psychedelic,” Johnson said.
To experience Maybird, check out Maybird.bandcamp.com which features the band’s sole album Down & Under as well as an earlier EP. Be sure to check out “Two Horizons,” a standout on the record with its eerie lyrics, hypnotic drum beat and tasteful instrumental layers. Whether it’s the quiet lull of “One Wing Only” or the raucous commotion of the track “Maybird,” the band’s dreamlike sound is worth checking out.