Have You Heard: Mr Maps

19 July 2012 | 12:10 pm | Staff Writer

Get to know Brisbane instrumental rockers, Mr Maps.

How long have you been together?
The band has been around since early 2008, and the current line-up has been together for a bit over a year now.

How did you all meet?
Within the convoluted web that is the Brisbane music scene. I met Andrew through the early Hangar days in 2007, and we got to know Jac through that scene as well – I was a huge fan of his band Re:Enactment long before he joined Maps. I met Briony through QUT years ago, but later learned that she and Jac had lived in the same house once… another testament to the weirdly insular nature of this city. And our friend Matt O'Neill introduced us to Mitch, who slotted in perfectly.

You're on tour in the van – which band or artist is going to keep the most people happy if we throw them on the stereo?
Ooh, good question… Probably Flying Lotus or something electronic like that. Anything too similar to us will be contentious.

Would you rather be a busted broke-but-revered Hank Williams figure or some kind of Metallica monster?
Well we seem to always choose nerdy and esoteric over poppy and lucrative, so perhaps Hank. Instrumental music is something that will always struggle to gain mass appeal, so Mr. Maps does seem a labour of love at times. But in a way that's what keeps it satisfying for us.

Which Brisbane bands before you have been an inspiration (musically or otherwise)?
When I was a young 'un I was a huge fan of Taxi and Every Man & His Llama – I was a sucker for killer musicianship. More recently though, Ponyloaf, The Rational Academy, Hunz, Skinny Jean, and To The North have probably all influenced what we do. When you have a sort of community of people all going to see each other's bands, it seems inevitable that you'll take bits and pieces of inspiration from each other.

What part do you think Brisbane plays in the music you make?
I'm not sure that Brisbane really has a “sound”, and if it does I don't think Mr. Maps would exemplify it very well. But as I mentioned above, I think it's mainly in the cross-pollination of ideas between the other bands and musicians that surround you. The Hangar scene was pretty instrumental in our development. We've been really lucky to be part of such a supportive community – it makes it easier to forget about money or success and just have a great time playing music together. So in that sense our immediate scene has played a bigger part than the city itself. However, I think Brisbane's relatively small population and non-committal attitude toward gig attendance (or paying for music in general) does prevent you from taking it all too seriously, which is a good thing.

What reality TV show would you enter as a band and why?
Big Brother, because it's basically hanging out for three months in a lush house with free food. Plus you could just ignore the other housemates and it wouldn't matter at all until we all inevitably turn on each other and become total outcasts.

If your band had to play a team sport instead of being musicians which sport would it be and why would you be triumphant?
Basketball, no question. We would be impenetrable. Our offense would be Andrew, because he can dunk without jumping, and Jac, because he is spry and quick. Defense would be Briony on distraction duty with Mitch agitating the opposition by endlessly complaining about having to engage in physical activity. And I would... co-ordinate.

What's in the pipeline for the band in the short term?
We're about to release a split 7” with Hunz. It's gonna be a little clear vinyl disc, with beautiful artwork by Hunz and a single from each band on either side. It'll come with a digital download and some bonus tracks as well, for those who prefer the iPod listening experience. We launch it at The Judith Wright Centre on Friday. We've also got a Melbourne trip coming in August, as well as an instore at Tym Guitars on Saturday 11 August. And after that, Jac heads overseas, which will leave a big question as to what we do next. But we do plan to keep the show rolling in some form.