The Mae Shi Reunite!
In the meantime, they've all gone on to other projects; co-founder Jeffrey Byron has worked with Busdriver, Brad Breeck is a television composer, Tim Byron became an attorney, and Ezra Buchla develops music software and synthesizer firmware.
But tonight -- at Sean Carnage's weekly Pehrspace event -- The Mae Shi will return to the stage with this complete line-up, which originally made a splash on the local circuit with their raw, almost chaotic sound and in the early '00s and emerged from the acclaimed DIY scene surrounding downtown venue The Smell. As for the name, Jeffrey claims he doesn't recall its origin and it doesn't have a meaning.
We caught up with Jeffrey Byron and Ezra Buchla separately to talk about all this craziness.
What brought you back to The Mae Shi?
Ezra Buchla: We're just doing this one show because Kyle Mabson asked us. Personally, I thought it seemed kind of funny to do it at a small place for no money. There could be a lot of gross ways to do it as a comeback or an attention grab. I thought it would be fun to do it for our community and our friends.
What are your thoughts about what was going on in the L.A. underground during the time you were in The Mae Shi? Was there a lot of inspiration surrounding you?
Courtesy of The Mae Shi
Buchla: I think to some extent, we were influenced and inspired by a lot of the bands from The Smell scene at that time, bands like Godzik Pink and Polar Goldie Cats, who were doing really deconstructive things, combining certain elements that were exciting and appealing and direct with other elements that were disruptive or alienating. That's kind of what we wanted to do.
I think maybe even more so than the downtown acts were the younger bands coming out of the Inland Empire, where we lived, especially the Riverside scene.
At that point in time, so many bands were coming out of the Inland Empire. What was going on there that ended up spawning all these bands?
Buchla: Honestly, I don't know. Boredom. Dissatisfaction with popular culture and the fact that there actually were places to play. A little bit, not very much.
During the time you were in The Mae Shi, the scene surrounding DIY spaces, The Smell in particular, started getting some mainstream exposure. Did that affect the band at all?
Buchla: Yeah, I think it was a big motivation for me to leave the band, actually.
Why was that?
Buchla: I don't know. I was sort of averse to the attention and, perhaps, the idea of moving into more mainstream directions of songwriting. But, that's just a personal tick. It's probably why I've had this pattern of starting bands and quitting them when they get successful.