Maimo is a Minneapolis, Minnesota based lo-fi producer and songwriter. Maimo grew up in the Chicagoland area and has been playing the guitar since the age of 9, and he first started to write music at the age of 14. His past projects include Kudu Fang, a progressive rock quartet, and Proper Folk, a dub/afrobeat/dream pop quintet.
Maimo’s debut release is called “Standing on the Ground”. Immediately the listener is confronted with a very characteristic guitar tone that only hints at lo-fi. The vocals that ensue are great; rhythmic, soulful, and definitely indicative of a lo-fi vibe. This song has a refreshing arrangement, with all sorts of guitar sounds, some of which are so out there that they even resemble other instruments such as the organ. The mood of the vocals is at once melancholy and hopeful, striking a strange but satisfying balance between two opposite emotions. The way that the guitar and the vocals interact together rhythmically is a really gratifying thing to listen to. About three minutes in, the song undergoes a tremendous dynamic shift that somehow just fits in perfectly with everything else. Saxophones, of all instruments, are then introduced and utilized to great effect. Maimo clearly has a handle on his abilities and has cultivated a truly unique sound. We recommend you check out “Standing on the Ground” today!
Listen to “Standing on the Ground” here and get to know more about Maimo below!
Hey, thanks for chatting with us! Would you start by describing a bit about your background and why you became interested in music and songwriting?
I'm from a small suburb of Chicago called Lisle. My parents both played music growing up, so I grew up listening to a wide range of musical genres. A lot of jazz, soul, rock and pop oldies from 1960-1980, My mom has a terrible memory, but can probably remember the lyrics to every song ever made from that time. She says that when I was in the womb, she would put speakers up to her stomach and I would kick along with the beat. When I was a little older, I remember being totally absorbed for hours in complete amazement by all the textures and colors that music painted in my mind. I never lost that joy and curiosity that good music brings. I got my first guitar in fifth grade for my birthday. It was a burgundy Fender Stratocaster, and I've been playing music ever since. My parents recognized my passion before I did, and made the right decision getting me a guitar that year.
Who would you say are your biggest artistic influences?
Although a solid record or a great live performance makes me wants to do nothing but write, my biggest artistic influences aren't usually musicians. I'm most influenced by the idea of music as a therapeutic device. I always been fascinated by sonic qualities and the emotional responses they produce. For example, binaural beats are incredible. It's simply two frequencies played at the same time in different ears that cause specific reactions to occur in your brain. That's amazing to me. Or the opposite, sound deprivation and the ability to make your mind fill in the blanks until you hallucinate. I feel good music is the happy medium between those ideas, It can be a cacophony or a deliberate silence. Both are overwhelming to the senses and need each other the same way that tension and resolve need each other in a good story. Music is just that, a story.
You use a lot of really interesting sounds on your new release, “Standing on the Ground”. Does this eclectic mix of things come naturally to you or do you think a lot about what you want to do in a song?
Thanks! When I wrote "Standing on the Ground" back in 2017, I was listening to The Eagles and a lot of disco music. I don't think the song sounds anything like either, really. That being said, I don't usually attempt or not attempt to make anything sound like a certain musician or group.The influence came in the form of lyrics as I listened to Trump's inauguration on the radio in a van I was driving for my job at the time. I was dumbfounded like a lot of us were (and still are). Things felt bleak. It was a cold winter in Minnesota (as they usually are) and I was going through a turbulent time personally. Though the song doesn't have any real political connotation to it, I felt hopeless, frustrated and alone and the creation flowed naturally.
Would you mind describing what your writing process is like?
I don't write with any particular method. I approach every song differently, though most of the ideas I consider worth something start as loops. Since I write and record everything by myself, I typically do a lot of writing with loopers which can be somewhat maddening. Just ask my girlfriend who has to listen to the process in our home. (Thanks, Angelique.) Most songs I write come out all at once. I've set up my studio to track songs as quickly as I can be inspired. Some days, I enter my studio and come up with absolutely nothing. Some days, a wave of inspiration finds me and within a few hours a song is done.
What can we hope to see from you in the future?
Hopefully more music sometime soon! It took three years to find the right eight tracks for the record. I must have written thirty or forty songs before I could narrow it down to something cohesive. My next move is to shoot videos for as many of the songs as I can. I don't know much about cinematography, but I enjoy everything DIY and I plan to keep it that way with my videos.
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