MindMaze – Commitment, Determination, and Resolve Part II

Monday, 24th April 2017

Dead Rhetoric: Can you think back to a period in your life where you had to break through a personal fear, and what did it take to make it to the next level?

Teets: The biggest thing that was kind of a stepping stone was biting the bullet to make the Mask of Lies album. Prior to that, I was young and naïve to think the world worked on the old-school business model. You form a band, gig and gig to create following, create a demo and all the stories you hear from the 70’s and 80’s about the band came up from nothing to get a demo in the hands of the right person to generate a following, a label signs them and everything is great. Around 2010-11, I came to the realization from talking to some people I knew in other bands that were older with more industry experience, they told me that is just not going to happen anymore. Especially in this kind of music- maybe if it’s more commercially viable rock, it’s a different story. In this underground metal sub-culture, you have to do it yourself. You have to take the leap, see what happens, and then kind of go from there and build on it. We just decided that we couldn’t wait around anymore to gig locally and hope something happens. We had to make a real album, even if it’s not of the greatest quality, we have to do this.

Dead Rhetoric: What would you consider your favorite failure within MindMaze, and how did you build upon this to become stronger as a result?

Teets: Hmm (laughs). That’s a good question. There were two things that have happened in the last couple of years that were kind of eye opening experiences. One was when we had our falling out with our previous drummer who played on the first two albums, who was my best friend at one point. I don’t want to get into the details, but there was a lot of personal negligence on everyone’s part of just ignoring a problem and hoping it would go away rather than addressing it. It blew up in everyone’s faces. Some of the personal residual guilt, blame and anger is one of the factors that inspired the concept of what this new album is about. What we learned from that is everything has to be out in the open, if a band is going to thrive and survive there can’t be secrets, there can’t be grudges. Everything has to be on the table, otherwise you are going to create an unhealthy environment. It’s like a relationship or a marriage- you can’t really have success with it if you are going to have secrets and not be totally forthright with each other.

The second one was while we were crowdfunding to raise money for the new album Resolve, both Sarah and I said some things that really rubbed people the wrong way. We put our foots in our mouths, it was a perfect storm of saying the wrong thing at the wrong time for the wrong reasons. We had a lot of people who were upset about it, and some of them that were fans that were upset about it. If somebody who is a fan is upset with something we’ve said or done, it says to me that we need to back up and look at this. The high of coming off the Saxon tour, we needed to take a few steps back and realize that we aren’t in a position to act this way or that way, words matter and the context is important. Sarah and I are perpetually learning that lesson over time, of how to have better people skills and have a better public image thing.

Dead Rhetoric: Do you find there has to be a difference between the transparency of how you are personally on social media versus the band representation?

Teets: Definitely. And it’s something I struggle with. I created two Facebook accounts years ago, with that intention. This is my music Facebook, I was going to only add other fans, networking contacts, other bands, music friends- and I wasn’t going to do anything but post positive reinforcement, great stuff about us and the music I like- and then I was going to keep all this other stuff on my personal page. As time goes on, it’s been harder and harder to balance the two. Myself like so many other people, social media attention does make you feel kind of good. The lines starts to blur, like do I say this even though I probably shouldn’t say this, even though a lot of people probably like it and think it’s funny, but it might piss some people off. Sometimes I misjudge and I have to pay the price for it. Most people who are really in our corner appreciate the honesty, appreciate the openness. My big rule of thumb is I stay out of politics, I don’t do sports on social media. Music is really my life- and if you are going to hate me, hate me because of music, don’t hate me for any other reason (laughs).

Dead Rhetoric: What’s on the horizon for MindMaze beyond this upcoming tour with Arkona and Sirenia across North America? Have you mapped out ideally what could happen over the next twelve to eighteen months?

Teets: Yes. At pretty much at any point over the past couple of years we’ve sort of had a rough sketch of where we want to go from wherever we are, where we want to be in six weeks, six months, a year. We have a couple of different ideas in mind. Financially I don’t think another tour on this level is a viable option this year, just because it takes so much to put forward. I don’t think we will lose a ton of money on this tour, I think it’s a good thing to do- these tours require you to put a lot of money forward, and it’s a gamble even if it seems like a sure thing. We have jobs and personal lives where we can’t just tour all the time. Most of us have jobs that are fairly flexible, we still can’t be gone for more than 3-4 weeks at a time, we can’t do that every other month. We need to keep our jobs and keep making money to pay our bills and pay our rent. None of us are in situations where we are coasting on other people. A lot of the younger bands, these are people who are still living with their parents, they have jobs but can quit their jobs to go on tour and their parents can pay their rent, it won’t be the end of the world.

A fourth album is going to be in the plans. We’ve started to kick a few ideas around. We are tentatively going to come back from the tour and take a good two to three months off from playing at all, and spend our band practices kicking around ideas and formulating some songs. I don’t know how much material we are going to come up with, that will determine how soon we move towards doing the next album. I don’t want to rush it and just crap out material, at the same time it’s going to have to happen sooner or later. We are trying to plan some little things later in the year, probably in the fall. We’ve had some positive experiences in Ohio and Michigan, and the support tour is weirdly skipping that entire area. We may organize a thing on our own to play a long weekend out there, and do shows locally and regionally. We want to try to go back to Florida, but that’s going to probably be early next year. Maybe get in the studio March-April of next year, plans are always subject to change. This album was slated to come out last fall- I never anticipated to take two and a half years between albums. It just happened because of losing a drummer, doing some touring, it took our focus away on doing this material. You have to give people a chance to miss you and want to hear it more. I don’t want to bludgeon people with material- it takes them a decent amount of time to get into it.

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