McLovins, a goofy jam band turned rock innovators, to play at the Waiting Room

mclovins

The McLovins will be performing at the Waiting Room in Buffalo on Saturday.

The four-member outfit, consisting of drummer and lead singer Jake Huffman,bassist Jason Ott, lead guitarist Justin Burger and keyboardist Atticus Kelly, got their start when they met at a jazz camp in New England.

Originally a pure-hearted jam band, the McLovins gained acclaim through their covers and free-spirited live shows.

The band is trying to move away from their roots as a jam band. Their newest album will be released Oct. 5 – the album will be a progressive rock album instead of a jam album, the band’s first attempt at making a serious music album.

Founding member Jake Huffman talked to The Spectrum about the band’s roots and how their musical vision has changed over time.

The Spectrum: How did the band get started?

Huffman: Back in 2008, Jason and I met each other at a jazz camp. And the original guitar player, Jeffery, met us a few weeks later. We ended up just hanging out and started jamming. A couple months later, we posted a video of us covering Phish’s “You Enjoy Myself” and it went viral. That kick started us into becoming an actual band with gigs and we started writing more music and it kind of snowballed from there.

TS: What kind of chemistry do you have as a band?

H: Four years ago our lineup changed. We got a new guitar player and a keyboard player. We turned into a new band – even though we had the same name, we started becoming a touring band. We spend all the time in the world together, now. We are rarely apart – we are like brothers.

TS: What all changed when the band members changed?

H: Sonically, with more members, we fill more space. It’s allowed everyone to not play as much – when you are a trio you have to play a lot of notes all the time. When we added these two new members we were able to open up and focus on songwriting instead of just jamming. Our new album shows this – its very vocal and lyric based, a completely different sound from when we started.

TS: What is your songwriting process?

H: Our new album is a lot different than ones before. In our previous albums we thought more like a jam band. We would just start jamming and a song would come out of that – then when we played it live it would just be a lot of improv, a lot of jamming. On our new album, no song is longer than three minutes and 40 seconds long. We tried new things, we broke things apart and re-do anything our producer said to work on. It was a very different way of approaching our music and in the end we came out with these tunes that flow very cohesively. Each song is eclectic in their own way – they drive and even through they’re short there is a lot packed into every song.

TS: Where does the inspiration for the lyrics come from?

H: I’m a lyricist who justwrites based on my experiences. I recently just moved to New York City and it’s such a drastic change from where I was living before. That’s in there. I have a serious relationship that I’m in – a lot of the songs are about love and travelling and being in a touring band, but still loving someone. A lot of the tunes are about being at music festivals or being down south to experience new culture. I’m not one to describe what every song is about, but every song has a true story behind it.

TS: What is your favorite part about making music?

H: At this point, having been a musician for more than three quarters of my life, it’s just something that’s part of me now. It’s a form of expression and whether or not I want to express it in the way I do, it’s just who I am - who we are as a band. It’s how we see the world and what we are seeing and reflecting on just comes out in the music, whether in subconscious or conscious.

Brian Windschitl is the senior arts editor and can be reached at brian.windschitl@ubspectrum.com. Follow him on Twitter at @_brnwnd.