One Eleven Heavy :: The Aquarium Drunkard Interview

On its debut album, Everything's Better, rock & roll combo One Eleven Heavy weave together various threads of choogling psychedelia —some Dead here, some Neil Young there, more than a little NRBQ and Little Feat — into a thoroughly joyful statement. A transatlantic affair, the group features songwriters James Toth (Wooden Wand) and Nick Mitchell Maiato (Desmadrados Soldados De Ventura), along with bassist Dan Brown (Royal Trux), drummer Ryan Jewell (Solar Motel Band), and pianist Hans Chew (Steve Gunn, Hiss Golden Messenger).

Transcending pastiche is no easy feat, but the key here is abundant heart. Mitchell Maiato, Toth, and crew are fully in the zone here, guided by "the ghosts of our histories, coming home to roost," as they harmonize on "Valley Fever Blues." Everything's Better is a pure blast to listen to, its boogie contains multitudes.

Everything's Better by One Eleven Heavy

We recently caught up with Mitchell Maiato, who also hosts the essential monthly program the Cosmic Principle on NTS Radio, to discuss the band's unlikely genesis and the tricky matter of authenticity in rock & roll.

Aquarium Drunkard: You and James Toth met about a decade ago. What did you guys bond over, initially? Did the idea "we oughta start a band" pop into your head pretty quickly?

Nick Mitchell Maiato: Yeah, it was in Manchester, over a beer, before a Wooden Wand show I’d booked. Leah [Toth, occasional AD contributor] was there, too. I think we first bonded over a shared kind of chirpy, enthusiastic but world-wearied, tongue-in-cheek skepticism about the whole underground scene, if I’m being totally honest. [Laughs] What a curmudgeonly opening. No, but we just hit it off, all three of us. We got to talking pretty quickly in terms of a polemic for a new approach to representations of folkloric aesthetics. About the precarious position of underground artist who takes a sort of romantic approach to hearing music - putting the primordial beauty of the aural above the political in terms of validating what enters our own sound worlds. And how there should be room for everything, within reason.

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