Mainland Talks Debut Album & Return to NY

When Mainland called in from California, they were days away from leaving their hometown for a long drive. “We’re driving from L.A. to Cleveland for our tour with the Mowgli’s,” said singer Jordan Topf. “It’s a big week for us.”

On the road for about five weeks, the band will hit several cities across America, including a stop at Brooklyn’s Baby’s All Right on March 1. It marks a return to the city where Topf met his band members—guitarist Corey Mullee and bassist Alex Pitta—and, in 2011, formed the band. Concertgoers can expect to rock out to their latest single “I Found God” and the recently released “Hometown.” Both will appear on Mainland’s unnamed debut album set for release this year. “Putting out our album has been a long ride,” Topf said. “We’ve been waiting for the right moment and this year’s our year.”

The group spoke more about their music, moving back to Los Angeles after nearly eight years in New York and their aspirations.

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You’re all from California but managed to meet in New York City.
Jordan: We were all in college at the time. Our bass player Alex, he’s from San Diego, I’m from Santa Cruz and Corey is from Berkeley. We bonded over the same music that we like and the fact that we were from California…We recently moved back to California to get our album together. We’ve been through a lot as a band and we’ve written a lot of songs; we just wanted to come back home to write this first record and record it. We will be hitting the studio in April to finish recording the album. It’s about almost a fourth done.

Why was it important to move back home to record this album?
Jordan: I think we needed a fresh perspective. We found ourselves coming to L.A. a lot to write and to record. There’s something about where we all come from that’s really inspiring. Coming back after a lot of touring that we did and making a change was really important for our evolution.

How would you describe your sound to someone who hasn’t heard the band before?
Corey: Recently, we distilled it down to the words honest, cinematic and bold. It’s hard to boil down the band’s sound for somebody but we like to do it like that.

How does the songwriting process usually happen?
Jordan: We start with lyrics a lot and then we’ll build music around the vibe of the words and what the song is saying. Our new song “Hometown” is definitely like a concept. I thought it would be cool to write a song about that feeling of running away from your hometown to something greater and chasing your dreams in a bigger place like L.A. or NY. But it’s always different. For “I Found God,” we wrote the melody based off a musical idea of a piano chord progression. That one started with music and then I wrote the lyrics in a restaurant in L.A. We take a lot of time on the lyrics—where we are at in the world, what you say is so important.

And your video for “I Found God” features real-life couples. Why did you go that route?
Corey: The aim of the video was to show how the relationships between these people served a transcendent role in their lives. Using real people instead of actors is such a cool way of making it very relatable and not just have a characterized version of what it is. We wanted to show it first-hand, show that chemistry on the camera.

You’ll soon be coming back to Brooklyn for your show. What can people expect?
Jordan: We’re playing a lot of new material and some of our older classics…Our songs are pretty high energy so expect a lot of energy.

Corey: Expect a wild time. We’re going to be playing Baby’s All Right, which is a really fun venue. We’re super excited!

Anything you’re looking forward to doing when you return?
Jordan: Revisiting some our old haunts, seeing some old friends. I think we all love and miss just walking around the city. That’s something you can’t really do in L.A. but in NY you can just walk from the Lower East Side to SoHo to Union Square.

What’s next for the band?
Corey: We’ve got a lot of hopes and dreams. Touring is a big part of that; radio is a part of that dream, too. [We hope to get] a lot of reach with our music, start getting into new people’s sound systems, their cars and their headphones.

anna halkidis

anna halkidis

Anna Halkidis is a web editor at Long Island Pulse. Feel free to reach out at anna@lipulse.com or on Twitter @annahalkidis.