Being from Edinburg, Texas, a self-described small town, the members of the band Mayberry (Andrew Vela, Brayden Dillard, and brothers Esteban and Hector Rodriguez) feel that they have to work harder to succeed than if they were from a larger city. They do not see this as a slight, however. For them, the hard work is worth it. Not only does this small town of Edinburg have an affect on their work ethic, but it also has an affect on their writing. Here, we chat with lead singer Esteban Rodriguez about the band’s Texas influences, favorite (or not so favorite) parts of touring, and unreleased songs from their Beautiful Mess EP, released this summer, and more.
Cliché: Being from Texas, what are some of your Texas influences?
Esteban Rodriguez: Being from South Texas is wonderful. The scenery and culture play a big impact when it comes to writing lyrics for a song. Since the weather down here is always changing like crazy, it’s good to a certain extent. On rainy days, I can get into a certain mood and vibe and just write what I’m feeling, and on days where it’s extremely hot and humid, I can also get into a certain “summertime” mood and write some upbeat, fun songs. Being from a small town really helps my drive in knowing that I’m not from a huge city in Texas like Austin, Dallas, and San Antonio, for example. I’m from Edinburg, so it takes more push and hard work to get my name out there, but I’m not complaining. It’s worth it.
How did the group form? I know you and Hector are brothers, but was it the four of you straight away? Or did you meet at later dates?
Yes, at the very beginning, I had a couple of friends helping me out on the instruments. After months of practice and focus, I decided to take the band more seriously and to the next level. I got Brayden on drums, who I had known for a while since I played bass in his band in high school, and Andrew and I met at a church retreat and hit it off perfectly. I soon recruited my younger brother to play bass and the rest is history!
You released your EP Beautiful Mess in July. Explain your feelings about that.
I’m happy and relieved. It had been over a year since we had put out any new music, so it felt like a big relief getting our fans’ ears some new music and being able to promote and play new jams at our live shows.
Were there any songs that didn’t make the EP that you might release at a later date?
Oh yes, for sure. We’ve got a couple. Since we decided to make it a six-song EP, we felt it was right to pick our top favorite songs and put them out together. We’ve got songs that are country/R&B-ish that didn’t quite fit the EP, but there’s no doubt they’ll be released sooner or later.
Do you guys tour a lot? What’s your favorite thing about it?
We have before, but the thing with touring is that if you can’t pack a venue with 200-300 people a night while on tour, then it’s kind of pointless. Some bands think it’s the coolest thing in the world, touring and playing shows in different cities, when in reality it’s a waste of valuable time and money if you’re showing up and playing to an empty venue. You gotta be smart and patient when it comes to music. Once you know for a fact that you’re gonna have a crowd at every show in every city you book, then it makes sense and it’s totally worth it. You gotta build your brand and name first before you try to skip to that step. My favorite thing about it is being able to travel and see fans sing along to your songs. It’s also really gratifying to win over a new fan after a great set.
What are your goals as a band?
To continue to make a name for ourselves, create great music, and play as many shows as possible. As an independent artist, it’s a lot harder to do things on our own, but with help with our newly-found management team, things are looking bigger and brighter than ever.
Well, you’re gonna have to follow us on all social media outlets to find out! We’re on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram @MayberryBand. Tune in for more music, shows, videos, and updates.
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Mayberry Opens Up About Latest EP, ‘Beautiful Mess’: Photographed by Stewart Clementz