By Nicholas Jason Lopez
On Aug. 28, 2020, anthemic emo rock quintet The Maguas released the music video for their single “Seaglass And Springsteen,” hot on the heels of previous singles “Glum,” “Actions Speak Louder Than Words” and “Will It Ever Be The Same,” which accumulated over 10,000 streams in less than four months.
According to the band, the single “evokes the wistful spirit of summer love – from the first passionate kiss to the woeful goodbye, leaving you desperately wondering about ‘what could have been.'”
Following the footsteps of early 2000’s acts like Jimmy Eat World, Bayside and My Chemical Romance, The Maguas haven’t missed a beat since their 2018 formation. After the release of their self-produced debut EP ‘Good Beer,’ the band teamed up with producer Nik Bruzzese (Man Overboard, Casa Loma) at Lumberyard Recording in January 2020 to create their second EP.
The Maguas is vocalist Erik Miller, lead guitarist Matthew Jenkins, rhythm guitarist Daulton Rissinger, bassist Luke Prusinski and drummer Brandon Ossont.
The Music Bugle had the opportunity to chat with the band about “Seaglass And Springsteen” and more.
Music Bugle – How was the band name decided?
Erik Miller – When we started the band, I texted 7 people asking if they wanted to start a band… and everyone said yes. Before settling into the final lineup, our good friend Tommy came up with the name because he has a million – give or take – uncles and they used to call themselves the Maguas after Magua from “The Last Of The Mohicans.” Even though Tommy was only in the band for about a day, the name stuck and we kept it because we figured it’s unique and it’s fun watching people struggle to pronounce it.
Music Bugle – What was it like making the official music video for “Seaglass And Springsteen”?
Brandon Ossont – Truthfully, I was never meant to be in the music video! Our goal was to originally hire actors from around the Ocean City, Maryland area to be in the video, which became much more difficult once COVID hit. Luckily, our friend and actress Melina Barry was able to work with us and make the trip to Ocean City for filming. She was excellent and so much fun to work with! We spent about 10 hours total filming with the great team over at Ionic Development. We’re so thankful to be able to work with Justin, Teresa and David of ID. Their creative genius always blows us away and the final product speaks for itself. My favorite scene to shoot was the “running” shot you see at the beginning of the video! David was sprawled out in the trunk of Justin’s car, as we chased them for nearly half a mile before the shot was finished! It was exhausting, but so exciting to film.
Music Bugle – What are some challenges that come with being in a band with five members?
Brandon Ossont – One of the hardest challenges is simply coming together, especially during quarantine. We do a great job of staying on top of our content deadlines, songwriting and individual practice. However, being spread out currently while we acquire our professional degrees has made it somewhat difficult for all five of us to get together, especially without gigs. As we’ve come to understand everyone’s needs during this time, we have found ways to navigate those scheduling conflicts to ensure we are all available and 100 percent prepared prior to meeting to maximize our productivity when we do get together!
Matthew Jenkins – Luckily, we’ve all been really great friends for many years and we’re usually all on the same page with band decisions, but having five members definitely requires more discussion and planning to make sure everyone’s on the same page. Also, living in different locations makes it tougher to get together, especially with COVID-19.
Music Bugle – If you had the chance to chat one-on-one with one of your musical influences, who would you choose?
Erik Miller – Misha Mansoor or preferably, all of Periphery.
Matthew Jenkins – Ben Burnley of Breaking Benjamin. Growing up in the city of Scranton, I always felt so close and fascinated with Breaking Benjamin since we’re from the same area. I would love to hear his stories about gigging back in the day in the city of Scranton and other venues around the area and see how much different – or the same – the scene was back in the late 90s compared to present day.
Luke Prusinski – Geddy Lee 100 percent. That man is one of the greats. I’d love to sit down with him and talk about wine and bass forever.
Music Bugle – What excites you the most about your particular genre?
Brandon Ossont – For a long time, we struggled to truly define what “genre” our band could be categorized under. As we began writing ‘One Of Us Is Lying,’ we began to realize our “newer” sound was very emotional, raw and anthemic. We felt “Emo Anthem Rock” was a perfect description for what it is that we create together. The room for growth and exploration is what excites me most about our particular genre. We’re free to play around with different tones, moods, and styles without really sacrificing our “sound.”
Daulton Rissinger – The emotion that goes into this genre of music and the theatrics attached to it are super exciting to me. When you listen to our genre, you feel this raw outpouring of emotions. Whether it’s nostalgia or sadness or longing, there’s a deep emotional connection to the music itself. I also always grew up idolizing larger-than-life musicians – i.e., Metallica. They always made a show feel like a can’t-miss event and I think in our genre, there is the perfect amount of making a show feel unique and personal and also larger-than-life. I look at shows, like The Wonder Years for example and there is this excitement and energy that runs deep. Chanting the lines to every song, jumping around, the lights. Everything about the show and music feels like a can’t-miss event, but also super personal. I want our live shows to resemble that.
Music Bugle – How would you compare your newer music to your debut EP ‘Good Beer’?
Luke Prusinski – Sonically, our newer music showcases each member’s influence in the band. Our debut EP, ‘Good Beer,’ was mainly comprised of older songs individual members had made over the years. When we formed as a band, we revamped those older songs and gave them all a “Maguas spin,” but it was never a completely collaborative process. ‘One of Us Is Lying’ is what our band sounds like when we all come together and write from scratch.
Erik Miller – We really worked a lot on how we could make things better and we learned an immeasurable amount working with Nik at The Lumberyard. It took us a while to figure out how to portray what felt we were all about, but I think this EP is the first stage of what that looks like. With ‘Good Beer,’ we said, “Here are some songs” and with ‘One Of Us Is Lying,’ we’re saying, “Here are some Maguas songs.”
Daulton Rissinger – I think we were more open to different ideas on the newest EP. ‘Good Beer’ was very grungy and had different sounds throughout, but mostly minor in tonality and structured similarly. I think with ‘One Of Us Is Lying,’ there’s a better place to the songs and a wider range of ideas overall. As a band, we never want to just write the same songs over and over. It’s important to us to express all our musical tastes and we do that better in ‘One Of Us Is Lying.’
Music Bugle – What do you miss the most about being on tour?
Matthew Jenkins – Exploring new places and meeting new people.
Erik Miller – There’s something you get from playing shows and connecting with people in that way that you can’t get anywhere else.
Daulton Rissinger – The camaraderie between all of us while traveling. We’re all just a bunch of best friends and being together on the road is always just joking around and having a great time.
Music Bugle – How have you been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
Matthew Jenkins – Not being able to play and be together with the band as often definitely has me down in the dumps. Also, not having any income from playing live shows with the band makes it a little more difficult as independent artists to fund our upcoming projects that we have in the works.
Erik Miller – I’m super grateful this all happened during our planned release cycle because it’s certainly difficult to get together and create as much as we’d like to and of course, shows hardly exist.
Music Bugle – What has been the most productive thing you’ve done while in quarantine?
Matthew Jenkins – Personally, I completely remodeled my home studio, which is located in the sunroom of my house. I ripped out the old carpet, replaced the floor, painted the walls and installed new furniture and acoustic treatment. Feels really great to have a fresh place to work on all the new ideas for The Maguas, my personal projects and clientele work.
Erik Miller – I spent a lot of time experimenting with different styles of music.
Music Bugle – Away from music, what’s something people might be surprised to find out about the band?
Brandon Ossont – I’m currently in my second year of veterinary school at Virginia Tech.
Erik Miller – Well, we didn’t even consider writing our own music when we started and we certainly never planned on pursuing it in this way. Also, Matthew Jenkins is a Sorcerer.
Matthew Jenkins – I brew my own beer and have a degree in Civil Engineering that I’ll probably never pursue.
Luke Prusinski – Probably our respective backgrounds in academia. I’m pursuing a computer science degree. I’m a diehard gamer. I’ll take on any challengers in “Rocket League.”
Daulton Rissinger – I am a diehard sports fan and absolutely love diving into stats and analytics. I research players’ stats daily. I also graduated with a double major in college and took four years of French.
*Photo Credit – Jordan Mizrahi*