The retro grandeur that envelops The Marías has resulted in the terminally sleek image and soundscapes of the band. Only coming into existence just over two years ago, the group has taken the spotlight as an upcoming indie darling within LA, exploding onto the national scene with a string of sold out shows, including one right here in Houston tonight at Satellite Bar.
With mega chill bedroom pop arrangements like “I Don’t Know You,” the group has been crafting a sound that comforts the listener, submerging you into an apathetic haze of teen emotion.
Vocalist María spoke with Byline Houston ahead of her show tonight about her burgeoning career and musical upbringing.
Byline Houston: You’re starting the tour today. Where is the band right now?
María: We are on the road, heading to the first show in El Paso. We left last night. I think we are still in Arizona.
Byline Houston: You and Josh are a couple. Your meeting and the consequential formation of the band is pretty romantic. Could you tell us a bit about it?
María: Shortly after I moved to LA from Atlanta, I was playing a lot of shows on my own. Josh was running sound, and that’s how we met and started dating and playing music together.
Byline Houston: How did you get booked on that bill?
María: It was a friend of a friend. She was, like, putting together this bill, and she had me play. And I was one of the last artists to play that night.
Byline Houston: What is your personal favorite song made by the band so far?
María: It kind of changes, but right now, I would have to say… I really like the song “Catalyst” that we play live. We don’t have a recording of it yet.
Byline Houston: Your music definitely has the ambiance of music scored for a 1940s film. The band seems to embody that aesthetic in the video for “I Don’t Know You.” Do you feel that style is becoming a part of the band’s vibe?
María: I don’t know. I think it’s just like the music. It’s whatever we want to listen to. About style, it’s just kind of what we like. It just kind of works out that the song and that style worked together. I don’t think it was intentional. For us, it was just about what we liked, and that changes.
Byline Houston: Do you feel the band is developing a new sound and style now?
María: I guess so, a little bit. “I Don’t Know You” is an example. I think it just happens naturally. If it changes, it’s still us.
Byline Houston: Isn’t it true that one of the early Marias tracks was a music score that didn’t make the cut?
María: Yes, the first two songs that Josh and I worked on together, they were made for film and TV. We had pitched about four or five songs, this was before The Marias was a thing, but none of them got played. But they made it on Vol. 1. We are just really thankful for that. If it wasn’t for that, trying to pitch those songs, The Marias probably wouldn’t exist. It was just the kind of motivation that we needed. We learned we could finish a song in two days. A lot of those pitches were a quick turn around. It would be like, “We need this tomorrow,” but we might get a 100 grand. We were like, “Oh my god, we got to do it. We really need money.” But, y’know, nothing got played, so we didn’t get any money from it.
Byline Houston: What inspires you when you’re writing music?
María: I think just anything, really. New experiences, our relationship, just constantly everything. I think it’s all a combination of our subconscious, and when it comes down to writing lyrics and writing the song itself, it just kind of all magically develops. A lot of times we won’t sit down and be like, “What do you want to write about?” With us, we just start writing and whatever comes, comes out. Usually, by the end of the song, we are like, “Oh, that’s what this is about.” We just work through our experiences and work through our feelings by writing about, and once we’re done, it just makes sense.
Byline Houston: You’ve said in the past music was a big part of your childhood. Could you give us some background on your musical background? How do you feel you have developed as a musician?
María: For sure. Everyone in our family plays. My mom’s side of the family is from Puerto Rico and my dad’s side is from Spain, and we would go to both countries and music was just always there. My uncles played, my grandparents, around every single party, every single holiday, everybody knew how to play instruments. They’d just pick it up and play for the family, everybody. It was just always there. I never knew I’d have a career in music. I grew up in a small town outside of Atlanta. It wasn’t a hub like LA, or New York, or Austin, where other people make careers out of music. It was just a small town. I never thought a career was possible in music. It wasn’t until one my friends from Atlanta moved to LA to pursue music and was like, “Y’know, you could actually pursue music and there’s a lot of opportunities out here. If you are passionate about it, you should come here.” So I packed up everything and drove out. Once I was in LA — I sacrificed a lot to be here — and I thought I would just work as hard I can to make music a career.
Byline Houston: Bands are taking over their own careers in new and exciting ways in the contemporary era of pop music. How do you feel that the business of music has changed in recent years?
María: I think it’s a great thing. I think that there are still artists out there who are a machine for the industry. They are groomed, and all that. But I think a lot of artists, now that we make our own music whenever we want, and we have the tools to write and record wherever we want, whether the living room, the bedroom or the van or wherever. I think it’s made it easier for artist to release music, to make music. I think that naturally it just comes out being their own style. And that way it’s your message, and it’s not anyone else’s idea about what your music should be, or how you should look like, or anything. You just write what you want… We’ve been talking to labels. We aren’t opposed to that. I think that we know what our sound is, and we know what our vision is. So, what a label would do at this point is just help give us support, and give us further reach, because you can only go so far as an independent artist. I just think that the fact that you don’t need a label to create the sound that you want and the vision you want.
Byline Houston: What should we all be expecting at your sold-out show this weekend at Satellite Bar?
María: We are gonna be playing new songs. All songs pretty much from Vol 1 and 2 as well. And some other surprises that we are throwing in.
The Marias will be performing a sold-out show at Satellite Bar this Saturday, April 27, alongside Loyal Lobos and Mind Shrine.