Wilmington musicians making up the indie rock/alternative band MEGA – Tyler Halloway (drums), Chris Maloney (vocals), Allan McKinley (bass) and Phil Matarese (guitars, keyboards, vocals) – have released one single and aim to put out a new album in early September, The Valley Spirit Never Dies.
The record was primarily recorded with the help of Nick Krill of The Spinto Band and Teen Men at Dr. Dog’s studio in Clifton Heights, Pa. Additional work was done in home studios around Wilmington and surrounding areas.
“We started working on the record in late 2014 and chipped away as time and budget permitted,” says Matarese. “It’s a record about change. You know, life is constantly changing and that can be both fun and exciting and scary and sad. I guess bittersweet is the word that often describes big changes, and all of those feelings often co-present. I tried to work with that in the way the lyrics and music were arranged. The love songs sound like break-up songs, the songs about changes and loss sound upbeat, the songs about confusion sound less musically predictable.”
Matarese was listening to the band Girls and Pet Sounds by The Beach Boys when he wrote most of the material and he thinks some of that rubbed off too, both in some of the surf rock sounds and in the vocal harmony arrangements.
The band members hadn’t really played together much prior to going into the studio. “It was also cool to work on recordings first,” Matarese says. “The band sorta developed around the recordings, in the recording process, rather than gigging the material then recording it. I love that because it opens you up to what the song can be in the studio and forces you to re-think the material when it’s time play it live.”
Matarese has worked with Maloney, who wrote two of the songs, sings lead on one, and does vocal harmonies, for years.
“He was an integral part of the writing process,” says Matarese. “I had played with the other guys a good deal in the past and in other projects, but the recording of these tunes was the way this band really came together. It was cool to start a project with the bar set high but no real expectations of how we get to ‘the best versions ever’ of a given song. Many of the tunes had only been rehearsed once or twice before recording them.”
For more, visit mega.bandcamp.com.