Maple Mars is back with a pop-solid new album, Someone’s Got To Listen (Big Stir Records). Rick Hromadka and Steve Berns talk about how the album came about.
Maple Mars has more than just one good songwriter. How critical can you be of each other?
RICK HROMADKA: We can all be critical of one another. But we also give each other room to do our own unique styles.
STEVE BERNS: I think after all these years we can tell each other things we like and don’t like. We have a good time and joke around a lot, but we can give each other feedback without hurting anyone’s feelings. Most of the time, LOL!
How did the new album come about, and how was the song selection determined?
STEVE: Rick can answer this best, but he is very prolific and had a lot of material. He will usually send us a demo of a song and we listen to it and give him feedback as to whether we feel it’s right for us as a band.
RICK: I went through a songwriting spurt between 2018 and early 2020. I made a bunch of demos and had the guys decide which song should be in Maple Mars and which songs should go to my solo album (2020’s Better Days), which I was also working on at the time.
At some point, you must have known that you had enough beautiful songs for an entire album, or do you always have doubts?
RICK: At this stage of a game we all pretty much know what songs are working and which songs are not. For instance, our song “Silver Craft” was originally written for my 2014 solo album entitled Trippin’ Dinosaurs. I played all the instruments on that album and wasn’t happy with the way “Silver Craft” turned out, so it sat on the shelf until I presented it to the band, and we finally recorded it. It came out better than I had envisioned it would.
The industry has changed, they say, but twenty years ago, you would travel all over the world to promote such an album and make the fans scream everywhere. How often do you dream about that?
STEVE: Rick can answer this. He knows we want to go play shows. I think we will do some touring in the US and possibly overseas.
RICK: I think every band/musician dreams about that. We definitely want to do more traveling. Look for us in 2023.
Oh, that guitar sounds great on “Someone Take The Wheel”. Raw emotion can arise in one go, but I can also imagine that it was endless puzzling to get that right?
STEVE: There are a few guitars in that song. We always mess around with various guitar sounds in the studio Sometimes you get it right away and sometimes you’re just looking for something different. Rick played the rhythm with a distorted electric and I played a pretty raw sounding fuzz guitar part. The combination works really well. There are other sounds in there like a rotary sound in the intro and re-intro, and some harmony guitar parts in sections. I’d say for me this is one of the most complicated songs to play because of all the different parts and sounds I used on the recording.
Maple Mars is:
Rick Hromadka: Lead Vocals, Guitar, Piano, Keyboards
Steve Berns: Guitar, Vocals
Ron Pak: Drums, Vocals
Joe Giddings: Bass, Vocals