Josh Eagle & the Harvest City and Broken Ring, along with Maza Blaska, all perform TONIGHT – Friday, April 13, 9PM – at The Adelphia!
Colleen Carow Interviews Maza Blaska
How did the group become Maza Blaska?
“We sprouted from a 6 song demo titled, “White Stone”. The tracks were written, recorded, and produced by me in my dorm room while I was studying abroad in Jerusalem. I communicated my ideas with Sam via email, phone and skype. My idea was to form a band around those original songs. A number of the band members expressed interest in the demo online and offered their support. When I returned home I was eager to start preforming and contacted a slew of my friends I had played in a previous bands with. At first, we we’re a very open group with a flexible line up that would at times include up to 10 people on stage. Since then we have slimed down our set to 6 solid core members.” -Yoni
Yoni’s time in Israel had an influence on the songs on your CD. What are you finding as influences these days?
“My time abroad was extremely influential on my ideas and opinions about music. Living with people from all walks of life I was introduced to a world of music and sound both traditional and modern. My fascination with world rhythm and melodies has only grown since then. A huge influence is playing with 5 other musicians who all have different tastes in music. Everybody brings something unique to the table and we are open to pretty much everything. We are definitely influenced by pop music mainly from the 60s and 70s which contributes to our sound.” -Yoni
What is the hardest part about making music, writing songs?
“I find it hard to complete a song. I enjoy jumping around with multiple ideas but this makes it very difficult to complete projects.” -Yoni
What is the most joyful part about making music, writing songs?
I find a lot of joy in creating things, and I love to sing. I think that singing is a really natural, hugely expressive way of creating for me. -Sam
One of the delights of Maza Blaska is the textured, layered effect of the instruments and vocal harmonies. What drives the inspiration for your instrumentation … how does it happen?
“Storyteller” is unique, because of the way the instrumentation was built in and around our efforts in the studio. When the band first started, we were rearranging and composing with what Yoni had done with “White Stone” in Israel. The songs developed primarily for the adaptation that would be most convenient and fun for us to perform locally. When we were presented with the opportunity to record at Ohio University, we wanted to expand the instrumentation to fully take advantage of the time and incredible resources that had suddenly become accessible for us to create a larger, more complete project. The inspiration for the instrumentation on “Storyteller” happened through sharing the song with a small circle of musicians in a variety of venues over a long period of time. We sought out pianist, Dane Terry and multi-instrumentalist, Tyler Evans specifically to play on the album because we wanted the songs to be full and beautifully arranged with a lot of texture and atmosphere. A lot of it came together in the studio, but we were lucky enough to play with them live several times and kind of develop that instrumentation further.
The vocal harmonies have developed over time in that same way with Blake, first in the studio and continued into the live setting. Yoni and I are consistently focused on developing interesting chords and harmonies to sing. Writing happens in all different ways, but usually starting with one thing and expanding upon it, over and over again. Then editing, which has largely been a group effort.
Eddie Ashworth, the Professor we were working with who definitely earns the title of Producer on “Storyteller” had a lot to do with the actual layered effect of the instruments and vocal harmonies on the recordings. We learned a lot from working with him and continue to develop songs with him at his home studio, The Oxide Shed.” -Sam