Q: You’ve been recording your debut solo album since 2019 and it’s expected to come out later this year. Tell us a little bit about the inspiration behind that album.
MARIS: The main inspiration for the album was the desire to veer away from the standard alternative rock tropes and try to use horns, strings, percussion, and synths to fill out my arrangements. I wanted to do more experimenting while still writing catchy and memorable melodies and parts.
Q: You were the frontman to the band “White Flash”, what happened and why did you decide to go solo?
MARIS: We had both creative and logistic differences. The members were living all over the place and I think we all wanted different things. I felt like I was in between a rock and hard place. MARIS (which is my middle name) allowed me the freedom to write for myself again and not be worried about writing to fit into a five-piece alternative rock band.
Q: If you could go open a show for any artist who would it be?
MARIS: Paul McCartney, assuming I wouldn’t be too nervous to open my mouth and sing.
Q: Which instrument is your favorite to play and why?
MARIS: I grew up playing and writing on piano throughout high school and college Piano will always have a special place in my heart but lately I’ve been gravitating more towards guitar for new inspiration. I’d consider myself an amateur on guitar, which allows me the freedom to come up with more out-of-the-box ideas as a songwriter.
Q: You have an interesting sound, blending alternative rock/Indie rock with synths, horns, and strings that we love. Why this instrumentation?
MARIS: Like I said earlier, I wanted to try something fresh and different. A lot of my main influences including The Beatles, Radiohead, and Sufjan Steven all use a variety of instrumentation to get the emotion of their songs across. I feel like the variety keeps the listener always on edge of their seat anticipating what’s next. I never want to get too predictable with my sound.
Q: What can we expect from you next?
MARIS: Believe it or not, I’m in the process of finishing off another album to be released early 2022. I pushed this current self-titled album back a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic so there’s certainly a lot more music coming your way in the next year or so.
Interviewed by Stephanie Pankewich