I met with the band Transcending Maya at their Eugene, Oregon studio tonight (live audio clip of interview can be found here: http://www.voices.com/talent/demos/view/78531). With the last round of the semi-finals for Eugene’s 2011 Last Band Standing coming tomorrow night, the guys are working hard to perfect their material they will be performing for this crucial performance.
Transcending Maya is Bowie (front man/vocals, samples), Cody Richards (djembe & bongo drums, guitar, tribal flute), Josh Wilson (bass), Jason Fenrite (guitar), and Craig Sorenson (drums). I had previously reviewed this band when they played (see column dated May 13, 2011), noting this unique group that incorporates different time signatures with a world music fusion mix into a pretty hard rock foundation for a blend that “transcends” (for lack of a better word) across commonly-defined alternative rock genres. They’ve been compared to everything from Tool to Maynard, while I was reminded of early Incubus. It’s really hard to define the sound of this group.
Cody told me that the band’s current name (which was originally “Path”) started with his interest in Mayan culture and history – they then added “transcending” in front of it. He later learned the word “maya” means “illusion” in Sanskrit which, when paired with “transcending,” made the name become something that really captures what this band is trying to formulate musically.
They have a double-edged purpose for their music – they want to challenge fellow musicians who hear them, and at the same time they want to capture the audience with something each individual can identify with. When I asked them if they were doing anything special to prepare for the show tomorrow night, Bowie was quick to answer that they don’t view this as a “competition” – he noted that they will be playing “with” rather than “against” the other bands. His hope is that folks who come to hear their respective “favorite” band will hear TM and, at the very least, enjoy their music (regardless of whether they vote for them or not).
Even when they practice or do studio work, they work with a full light set up (and incense – too bad they can’t do that in the clubs where they play!) to incorporate the totality of what they are feel their music represents into every session. While they don’t have an album complete at this time, they are hoping to have that finished before the end of the year. In the meantime, they do have several songs you can hear on their ReverbNation (http://www.reverbnation.com/#!/transcendingmaya) and myspace (http://www.myspace.com/transcendingmaya) pages – you’ll want to take a listen to those for sure!
As a last statement, what they really want to be known for is as a band that gives a “unique experience” to all who hear them. I think that defines them nicely.