Play It Faster
The Heartbeat of Miss Mae.
Maichina Veri, September 12, 2022 // Brantford, OntarioBrantford indie rockers Marissa Mae and Judah John (of Miss Mae). Photo credit Paul Smith, Photohouse Studio.
During one of the many heat waves of the hot tsunami of summer 2022, Marissa Mae and Judah John meet at the Brantford Skate Park at Brant’s Crossing. The two indie rock musicians make up the band Miss Mae with Marissa, 24, on lead vocals, rhythm guitar and song writing and Judah, 20, on drums, backing vocals, recording and creative input. Together the two create ’70s-inspired indie rock music with a psychedelic, “punky” twist and are one of the leaders in Brantford’s music scene. The band, who has been together since 2017, will be recording their new album later in the afternoon, but for now they are hanging out with BTOWN. We discussed their work, their musical aspirations and the community’s music scene.
Both Marissa and Judah have had musical upbringings. Judah grew up in a “very” musical household and is familiar with multiple instruments. These instruments offer different possibilities for expression. His two favourites are guitar and drums. “I love playing guitar. It’s so emotional. It’s the go-to instrument for writing. But drums I’m definitely more comfortable on. I feel like I can express a lot more with drums more easily.” Marissa, who received classical violin training, had a habit of playing too fast as a child and this speedy habit is still evident in her music today. “I always wanted to play fast,” she explains, and mentions how she switched from violin to fiddle to accommodate her speed. Speaking to Miss Mae, she says, “It’s cool now because it’s a creative outlet that I get to go faster and faster until we kind of explode.”
Chilling with the musical talents of Judah John and Marissa Mae. Photo credit Paul Smith, Photohouse Studio.
With their extensive history in music, it comes as no surprise that Marissa’s and Judah’s influences are vast as well. From ’70s rock, contemporary femme punk, pop, post rock and more, the two weave their musical tastes together to create the unique sound of Miss Mae. Judah credits The 1975 with drumming inspiration, as well as pulls ideas from post rock and shoegaze music. Marissa draws the essence out of other musical talent and uses that as inspiration. “I kind of get obsessed with an artist and just listen to them and suck the marrow out of it until I’m into my next thing and I’m writing a song kind of influenced by that.”
If Marissa is taking the energy and vibes from other musicians, she’s pumping it back into her local music scene. The effects of sound can create visceral and tangible experiences. Marissa tries to harness the power of music in her work as she says, “I want to change the heartbeat of my audience. I want to carry them away with the sound of our music. I want them to feel taken by it. To feel like they see a bit of themselves in it, but also in ways that maybe they weren’t able to express.” Marissa laughs and admits it sounds like a tall order, but she says that’s what she hopes because that’s what she likes in music. Judah aims for another sort of achievement with his music. He says, “I want to inspire people to just do exactly what they want to do and not hold back. When I play, that’s exactly what I love to do. I want people to feel that.” Judah expresses that his answer might be boring, but Marissa quickly chimes in that his answer is “nice” and the two play off each other describing how to inspire and carry their audience.
Inspired minds inspiring each other. Photo credit Paul Smith, Photohouse Studio.
Another goal of Miss Mae is to expand out into Ontario and the rest of Canada. Though just happy to be making music, Miss Mae is not a band for limitations and they do hope to explore, as well as release more music. It should be noted the desire to play outside of Brantford is not a knock against the city. Marissa and Judah both speak to the positivity of the music scene in the community. “It’s a super welcoming community. It feels like belonging. People are interested and want to know what’s next and want to hear what you’ve got.” Judah notes the scene has been changing over the past few years as well. “Our friends and people in our age group, it feels like they’re taking it a lot more seriously,” Judah explains. He goes on to mention the monthly shows in town organized by Bummer Records. Judah also mentions the best thing about the music scene in Brantford is making new friends.
Miss Mae is going “full speed ahead, guns a-blazing” working on their album “Transit Jungle.” In the meantime, you can find their music in the following links below:
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Maichina Veri is a writer based in Brantford, Ontario. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing from Montreal’s Concordia University and has a background in Journalism – Print from Niagara College.
ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPHER
Paul Smith has been shooting photos professional for the past eleven years. After graduating from Applied Photography at Sheridan College in 2008 he returned to Brantford and opened Photohouse Studios with his partner.