Q+A With Maison Hall

Indie Aus rockers Maison Hall have today shared their new rambler Montreux, a love letter to the connection between the left and the right
sides of the brain. The duo, made up of Ben Byron and Joe Kneipp, have also announced a colourful, eccentric video to accompany the track.
This is Maison Hall’s first release since their 2017 debut album It Was Never About Me. We caught up with Maison Hall for a quick Q+A

Hi Maison Hall, thanks for taking the time to chat with Hear 2 Zen, what have you been up to today?

Hi, thank you for chatting to me! I’m having a very relaxing day so far, I’m drinking a coffee at my partner’s place 🙂 

Tell us about yourselves, how long have you been performing/creating music for? 

Since I was a little kid – when I was about 5 my aunt heard me singing songs from Disney’s ‘Mulan’ and encouraged my mum to get me music lessons. My dad had always regretted not being afford the opportunity to get lessons when he was younger, so thankfully everyone was on board from the start! I think I started writing my own songs when I was about 10 – the first song I ever completed was about a trucker coming home to see his family, I think it was called ‘Road’. It was a certified banger. 

Who are your greatest inspirations?  Why?

I mean, my family. They’re the best – all of my albums are dedicated to them, and they always will be. 

How do you create music?  Are you lyrics/story driven, or does the music/melody come first?  Explain your process.

I was talking to someone about this the other day. I think my method is a little more contrived than others. I really do just set aside some time to ‘make a song’. So that’ll usual involve me opening up a project file on Logic, and then fucking around until I come up with a riff or a beat that I think is worth expounding upon. Then I do that until I have a skeleton instrumental structure. If I’m flowing, it’s pretty quick, usually only about 2 hours. Then it’ll sit on the shelf for MONTHS before I either discard it, or listen back enough to come up with vocal ideas. 

What has been your greatest challenge so far in performing/creating music?

The distance between Ben has I has certainly been a factor. And performance-wise, COVID has certainly fucked things up. But we’re going to keep at it! 

Tell us about your new single, Montreux, how did it come about?

Montreux is a celebration of the fact that Benny and I are still making music, despite our lack of pecuniary success, our relative obscurity, etc. We’re friends first and then musical partners second. But I love doing this, and I love doing this with Ben. We don’t the validation of enormous critical/commercial success for this to have meaning (though not going to lie, making more money off of this would be sweet haha).

The specific inspiration for Montreux was a conversation I had with someone about the commitment of artists. Their thesis was essentially that you can’t claim to be committed to music if work/study/do other things. I was basically like “no dude, doing other things reinforces your commitment to your art!” Artists who work day-jobs often go straight from that work into writing/rehearsal – that demonstrates an incredible work ethic! 

What advice do you have to artists who are just starting out?

I would say – be authentic, and don’t equate suffering with good art. Take care of yourself first. 

Tell us your favourite Zen practice.

I absolutely should work on practicing mindfulness more often haha. I would say, walking meditation. No music, no distractions, just mindful walking. 

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