Written by Natalie Melendez, Photo by Nicole Mago
It’s been an eventful last 12 months for indie rock band, Whitehall. The Charleston, SC-based four-piece (vocalist and guitarist Paddy Mckiernan, guitarist Avery Greeson, bassist Brennan Clark, and drummer Davis Rowe) released an EP, signed to a new label, moved to Brooklyn, toured with the legendary Goo Goo Dolls, and recently wrapped up a run with Arlie and The Sewing Club. Now, the band is patiently waiting to check off the next big thing on their list: the release of their third full-length album, Maizy, on May 5th.
Maizy is the culmination of years’ worth of growth — in every sense of the word. It’s the first album Whitehall traveled out of state to record, and it’ll be their first release under the Southern California-based Enci Records. Maizy also sees the band mature creatively. On the already-released “Pull,” “Rose,” “Don’t Check Your Phone,” and “Dogfights,” the band establish a new dynamic sound and tackle the themes of overthinking and indecision with greater wisdom.
We caught up with guitarist Avery Greeson ahead of the Maizy release to chat about the album and their recent endeavors.
Natalie: You guys just released an EP last year, and this year you’re all ready to release your third full-length album with all-new songs. What was the recording process for that? Were you working on both at the same time, or is the album something that happened entirely after the EP?
Avery: The new record, Maizy, was our first destination recording experience. We were still living in SC at the time and we drove across the country to LA to work with an amazing producer named Kevin Ratterman. It was a dream to get to work with Kevin, who is incredibly accomplished as a producer and musician. His work ethic and professional ear did not disappoint! All the new songs were written last April over a two week period in the mountains of North Carolina, whereas the previous EP from 2022 was mostly leftovers from our 2021 album, Swordfish Catcher.
Natalie: Your last four singles share similar themes of overthinking and indecision. Are these overarching themes in the rest of Maizy?
Avery: The last four singles are definitely a good barometer for how the rest of Maizy feels. As we've gotten a little older and made more and more music, overthinking and indecision remain a steady theme, but we like to think we're interpreting it all in a more mature way. That's what we like to think though. In reality we are just trying to get through life without constantly vibrating in anxiety like a Dr. Katz cartoon.
Natalie: What musical influences were you inspired by this time around?
Avery: Maizy is inspired by a greater convergence of tastes between the four of us than previous records. Over the last two years we've really been into Pavement, going as far as covering "Grounded" for a tour. We're also constantly inspired by the Pinegrove, Built to Spill, and louder acts like Idles.
Natalie: What would you say is the most defining aspect of your upcoming album—the thing that makes it the most unique from your past releases?
Avery: As a band, I think our answer would be the production. As much as we love the sound of the first two albums, the songs on this one really shine, largely due to Kevin Ratterman's contributions. There were vibe gaps in the demos that he filled expertly, whether it was writing parts himself or guiding our thoughts from idea to reality.
Natalie: I saw that you guys recently moved to Brooklyn. What new musical opportunities has that brought for you guys, and has it changed your creative process at all?
Avery: So far, moving to Brooklyn has been a huge inspiration to be more creative. There are so many amazing artists packed into the city, several of whom we've met and made good friends with. As far as our process goes, we've been on the road so much that we've only really had time to brush up on old songs and learn to arrange the new songs from Maizy. We are renting an actual practice space now, which is different. We've always just had practice in one of our bedrooms in Charleston, but that's much harder when you share an apartment building with at least 30 other people.
Natalie: Near the end of last year, you were on tour with the Goo Goo Dolls. How did that come about, and what was it like?
Avery: The Goo Goo Dolls tour was the highest honor of our lifetimes so far. We weren't sure what to expect, but everyone on the tour was so kind and supportive. We were tiny fish in a big pond, so the band and crew being so helpful made the whole thing perfect. We recently signed to a great label called Enci Records out of California, and we attribute getting this tour to their magic.
Natalie: You’re nearly three albums in and have been touring consistently for the last several years. Are there any other goals you want to achieve in the near future?
Avery: Our next big goal, now that we've conquered North America, is to expand rapidly. Watch out South America, we're coming! If you could just invite us, that'd be great.