The next band in The Independent’s coverage of the final four contestants in Jazzy’s Rumble battle of the bands is NEVERMIND, a St. George-based project with hardcore, indie, and shoegaze elements. The group is composed of Austin Mariano (guitar, vocals), Kolton Leishman (bass guitar), Dylan Martinez (guitar, vocals), and McCabe Johnson (drums, vocals). We were able to talk to Austin online to learn more about their writing process and upcoming plans.
Alek Wiltbank: Congrats on winning your first round of the rumble. How do you feel you did at that show and what sort of adaptations are you making coming into the final round?
Austin Mariano: Thank you so much, we’re stoked as ever! It was awesome to be thrown on last minute, and I think it went well being only our third show. Also, the judges had some really great things to say about us. Some adaptations for the final round? Nothing too extravagant. We all love criticism, especially from our friends in the crowd, and quite a few are itching for us to move a bit more during our live sets, so we’ve just been having more fun at our practices and hoping that energy will reflect at the final round.
AW: Your EP came out a few months ago and seems to have gotten some really good response. There’s a lot of strong dynamics throughout the record that push in different musical directions while still remaining true to your core sound. How did you go about writing these songs?
AM: The response we’ve gotten from the EP has been beyond what we could have hoped for, especially from the people in our scene. We thank everyone near and far each and every day for giving the EP so much love! Our songwriting process always comes about naturally and, honestly, quite randomly. I try to make it a key detail to not force myself to write carelessly, especially when I’m in a rut or just not in the mood. I just wouldn’t be able to live with it if it was a lyric or riff that wasn’t thought after. To begin to write a song by myself, I’ll riff away some depressing guitar and usually toy with effect pedals till I have something malleable to show to the guys at practice. The more the songs progress, the easier it is for me to tack lyrics to them. Me and Dylan, our lead guitarist, will usually get together before jams and will literally play parts several times over and over until we find a solid lead part we’re both happy with. Also, our drummer, McCabe, is really earnest in letting me know if a song is just garbage or not, and though it can be a bit harsh at times, it has served as one of the biggest advantages to this band! It’s a strong suit for us, and if one of our mates isn’t happy, none of us truly can be.
AW: So while I’d say you, Austin, do most of the singing and screaming, there’s definitely a lot of vocal input from other members of the band, primarily in the song “Comedy Routine.” Is this vocal interplay planned out, or does it come about naturally as you construct the song?
AM: As far as the vocal diversity, I’ll usually write with the other mates’ vocals in mind. There are also some vocal parts that just came about from messing around at practice.
AW: What sort of musical influences does NEVERMIND have both individually and as a band?
AM: We’re all influenced by different bands and genres alike, but we all are really bound to creating that depressing sound, or what McCabe likes to call “Southern Sadness.” So though a part in our songs may be influenced by pop, math rock, indie, or even ‘80s hair metal, we’ll always be sure it doesn’t shy away from the sad vibes we try to maintain for NEVERMIND.
AW: Something I’m really excited about is this upcoming northern Utah, Wyoming, and Colorado tour that’s planned out with Sleep Dealer. What are you looking to get out of these shows?
AM: Yes, we’re really excited for the tour! We’re really hoping to just build a closer bond with the scene that these places have to offer and honestly just have a blast! We also just bought a van. We call her the “Steel Dragon.” It’s very nice!
AW: After this tour, what plans does NEVERMIND have going into the future?
AM: After tour? Just play more shows locally and hopefully more in the Salt Lake City area. We want to release a couple more videos for our EP, broaden our fan base, write more, and more importantly set up a couple good tours for this summer.