Austin indie pop band MCG has only been around two years, but their dedication, talent and sound are that of a seasoned, mature band. Their recent vinyl release party at Empire Control Room drew an excited crowd, ready to dance, and MCG did not disappoint!
I sat down with the band after the show to get an inside look at their quick rise in Austin.
Melting Pot of Musicians
When I first sat down with MCG, I quickly detected an undeniable bond between the band members. While guitarists David Tenczar and Andrew Bennett, drummer Drew Silverman, and bassist Jay Cesak all credit the start of the band to lead singer Mariclaire Gamble, she humbly insists they wouldn’t be where they are today without each and every member.
While Gamble’s unique sound and quirkiness, reminiscent of Florence and the Machine, may have been the original inspiration for MCG, after meeting with the group, it’s clear the band has become a musical melting pot of collaborators.
And here’s why. Respect. They all truly respect each other, not only as musicians, but also as people. This is reflected in their amazing chemistry on–and off–stage. They credit their success to each member’s dedication to the group, and their collective ability to be musically vulnerable with each other. They take the time to perfect their own individual styles, learning new methods and sometimes even new instruments, so they can bring their best to every rehearsal. They also push each other to become better musicians.
Guitarist David Tenczar recounted a time when he asked Andrew Bennett to cover a more technical guitar part of a new song. Rather than taking the lead, Bennett pushed Tenczar to learn the sequence, which he did. This simple gesture is what makes MCG so successful as a band. They lift one another up, which, in turn, makes them better collaborators.
Even bassist Jay Cesak said he couldn’t carry a tune. But after a lot of car karaoke, he flawlessly harmonizes with the band.
New EP: “Outside”
Their new EP “Outside,” is just a small taste of what the band has to offer. At $5, it features the songs “Start Over” and “Bombs Away” with a digital download of the song “Outside.” But rather than sitting back and listening to their in-studio sound, the best way to experience MCG is in person.
Everyone Has a Spirit Animal
I would do MCG a disservice if I didn’t make mention of one important aspect of their band/show: spirit animals. As with anyone’s spirit animal, they’re meant to be a representation of traits and skills a person possesses.
Gamble is the often misunderstood, but trusting, red Panda; as a lead singer this is apropos. Tenczar is the loyal, yet fierce, Fox; he handles all the “business deals” as any clever fox would. Bennett is the wild, yet tamable, Mustang; let him loose on a guitar solo and you’ll see his wild side come out. Cesak is the wise Bearded Screech-Owl; he’s been playing music since he was 15 years old. And drummer Silverman is the grounded and strong Sun Bear; keeping everyone on track and on beat. Like in the wild kingdom, these animals do not seem a likely group. Yet, together, they each bring something to the table.
What I’m trying to convey is that it’s easy to sound good if everyone has the same style. But to be able to sound as good as MCG does with a melting pot of styles and influences? Not so simple. Spirit animals aside, each member of MCG contributes something unique to the band, which adds layers upon layers to their music, taking the sound to a whole new level. Simply put, that’s impressive.
MCG Upcoming Shows
Like I mentioned, one of the best things about MCG is their stage presence. They know how to put on a good show! They have an upcoming gig on Feb. 26, 2016 at Cheer Up Charlie and are playing a handful of SXSW showcases. They also play pretty consistently in Austin and the surrounding area, so you’ll have plenty of chances to catch them.
For tour dates, social media and merch, check out mcgtheband.com.
@jpino9 wants to know:
Who’s your favorite indie pop band in Austin?