Thursday, February 21, 2008

Across the great divide
Catching up with Spanish Prisoners

It's been several months since former Columbus musician Leo Maymind of Spanish Prisoners ended a 10-year stint living in Ohio, in favor of a move to Brooklyn, NY.
So I have been following his progress out east, and really, the move never slowed him down at all. He continues to tour and do shows as much as he can.
Then I noticed he got a great bill opening up for a sold out show at the Highline Ballroom, featuring folk legend Daniel Johnston. So if you are reading this in New York show up early tonight (Feb. 21).
He also has a short stint opening up for John Vanderslice in April. I felt it was time to check up with Leo on the progress he has been making out east and comment on the east coast/midwestern divide:
PEOPLE WITH ANIMAL HEADS: I've been watching your progress since you moved out to Brooklyn. You never really missed a beat in terms of doing shows, despite a new town. Are you still booking your own, or did you finally end up getting some help?
LEO MAYMIND: Still doing my own booking, DIY-style. It wasn't that hard of a transition despite the move because I had already played in New York a few times on tours and knew most of the venues around town that I respected. The wonderful dudes at my label, exit stencil recordings, are helping set up a few dates on a tour we're doing in April after "songs to forget' comes out nationally April 8th.
PWAH: Why did you decide to move to Brooklyn? What have you learned about the east coast scene, in relation to the Ohio/Columbus scene?
LM: I decided to move to Brooklyn for lots of reasons, some musical, some personal. I wanted to be closer to my brother, girlfriend, and other friends that already live here. I'd lived in Columbus for over 10 years and just felt I needed a change. I also just wanted a bigger pool of musicians to play with and collaborate with. I also just love New York City, it's my favorite city in the world.
PWAH: How did the Daniel Johnston show come about?
LM: I asked the venue if we could open the show, they checked with Daniel's people, and said yes. Same way as all the other shows we've done.
PWAH: Now that you've been immersed in the "hostile" ground that is New York, how do you feel people out there view the Midwest rock scene? I'm curious what someone like yourself (as a newly moved artist) has noticed.
LM: I haven't found New York to be that hostile. I've already met so many great musicians and people that we've shared bills with, including but not limited to:
the antlers
salt and samovar
the lisps
sharon van etten
I don't think New York musicians are more hostile to each other than Midwest musicians. Since moving, I've tried to get in touch with countless cincy bands and most just ignored me completely, and that rarely happens here. maybe they saw brooklyn on our page and got turned off. Anyway, I don't think people here really think about the midwest scene enough to view it any particular light. There is so much going on in brooklyn and new york that you dont need to really look elsewhere for new music (though of course you should).
PWAH: Musically, how have things been going for you? New band? Recording again?
LM: I've been playing live with a full band, which is definitely helping bring these songs to life on the stage. I also just got a practice space in Williamsburg (does this make me an official Brooklyn musician?) and have been writing a little bit of the next album, slowly. Not sure yet how or where I'm going to record it. Might take the reins again myself but would be really nice to let someone else take care of recording and I just worried about playing.

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