by Lauren Rosier
One of my favorite things about this opportunity is really being able to talk to bands and solo artists and learn more about their stories as not only musicians, but as human beings. I had the privilege to speak with two of the founding members of the band Magic Man, Alex Caplow (lead vocals) and Sam Vanderhoop Lee (guitar and keyboards), a few weeks ago about the beginnings of the band, musical influences and many other things.
The indie rock band formed in 2010 and they have been on overdrive ever since. They’ve gone through lineup changes, released the EP You Are Here in 2013, signed to Columbia Records, and then released their debut LP, Before The Waves in 2014.
“It started in college,” Caplow explains. “[it] was something that we did. College parties, living rooms.”
Lee adds, “It’s been incredibly fun. We started out amazed and humbled, then people started out asking if they could pay for it.”
Synth-based music has been one of the most explosive sub genres lately and Magic Man is definitely one of the biggest bands popularity wise in the scene today. As Caplow mentioned, they’ve been playing music together since they “could play music.” Though, synth pop wasn’t always the exact genre they were playing. Caplow explains, “[We] played in a lot of different bands: garage rock, electronic drum sounds.”
“When we first started playing music, the Killers, the Postal Service, and Arcade Fire were huge influences. Songs were more lo-fi, a little more electronic, experimental, pop song structure, gravitating towards modern synth sound,” Lee explains. “Now we try to listen to top 40 stuff like the Taylor Swift album.”
The passion for music that the band has is beyond any specific artist or genre.
“If you love music so much, no matter the song or genre, you can find a melody that you enjoy,” Caplow describes.
Magic Man is from the city of Boston; a city that had a very great DIY scene. “[We] played a lot of basement shows and living room shows. There’s something special about everyone on the same level with the sweaty energy. No monitors and all hearing the same thing and feeling the same thing,” Lee says.
So a band whose beginnings come from house shows have now found themselves touring with the likes of Walk The Moon, Haerts, St. Lucia, Sir Sly, and are now on tour with Panama Wedding and Tigertown.
It’s always going to be a different experience being on the road with multiple different bands and Lee notes, “it’s a great way to learn and there’s always something to learn from other bands whether it be how they attracted a crowd, musicianship, habits, how they warm up.”
It’s been such a short ride in the scheme of things when you look at the overall picture of some bands’ careers. In four short years, Magic Man has accomplished quite a bit, and hopes to accomplish much in the coming years.
“The sky’s the limit. Looking forward to doing some international touring, an excuse to travel,” Caplow says about the future.
Lee adds, “We love playing shows, writing music, and just want to keep riding the roller coaster.”
Magic Man will be performing at Union Transfer with Panama Wedding and Tigertown this Monday evening at 7:30 p.m.