Maple Hill, an alternative/pop-punk band from Ithaca, NY released their debut album "Headspace" back in February and are now fighting for a spot on the Ernie Ball Stage during a stop on Vans Warped Tour.
Kristian (guitar/vox) and St. John (drums) have been playing together for nearly 10 years but have never done something as serious as this. While looking for guitarists for their last band they discovered Max and Joel and were unable to choose between the two. After trying to fit them both in, St. John tells us, the realized they had become an entirely different band. They decided to re-brand themselves and haven't looked back since.
The name Maple Hill comes from an area of Ithaca where Kristian lives. "We spent a lot of time bonding and chilling there, growing together, and we felt that those experiences really built us into the people and musicians we are today," says bassist Joel Beckwith.
Much like Boston, Ithaca is a giant college town with a vibrant culture that revolves heavily around music and art. "Alternative and punk music aren't a popular genre," the band told us. "There really isn't a local scene for bands like ours, though we're trying to help it make a comeback. Being in a college town like Ithaca is cool because you're surrounded by so many young people, mostly college students, who play a large role in social media and young culture," they continued. "It's also great to be able to play for students from both Ithaca College and Cornell University."
The band is currently trying to earn a spot on the Ernie Ball Stage at the Syracuse date of Vans Warped Tour. "It's been going well so far," drummer St. John told us. "We've been plugging the competition on all of our social media outlets, telling our family and friends about it, basically everything we can do to get the word out; at this point in the competition it's just about online activity on our page. That's always an interesting battle because it's based on internet popularity instead of music quality. We're looking forward to the stage of the competition where our music will be judged by the Warped contest panel consisting of Kevin Lyman and Chad Gilbert. We're probably going to be running some sort of giveaway this month or next to get more people sharing."
Maple Hill put out their debut album in February and have seen some great feedback. "We're currently working with a PR company that has connected us with some awesome music blogs/magazines to do features, interviews, and album reviews," said Joel. "We have also seen some internet responses from people all across the world! It's a great feeling to know that our music has reached that far."
Their writing process is "inconsistent but collaborative" according to St. John. "Most of the time one of us will come up with a riff or even an entire skeleton for a song before we take it up to my bedroom to start demoing out. Then I'll usually work the song some more, writing drum parts/grooves, adding or removing entire sections, and improving the overall structure. Once we have the basic format for the song, the rest of the band will start to write their parts and share other ideas. Sometimes we will all write parts for each other. We have very open writing process where everyone is free to work on whatever parts that need it.
The band did a week-long tour and played shows in several states across the northeast. They're planning for more touring this summer, as well as some exciting shows. "Like" them on Facebook to be the first to know when they announce a show.