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Maestria New-Yorkaise

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What's behind these multiple aliases : Maestro Echoplex, songs written by Johnny Fontaine, and when you answer by email you sign Andy... ?
Ha... Good question. I wish I knew. All I can say is that I regret doing all of that now. There will likely be a name change in our near future to something that doesn't sound so damned goofy, and I'll be putting my real name inside the next album. I'm in the process of analyzing my own motives for burying myself under two aliases, but I haven't come to any conclusions yet. I'll keep you posted. In all likelihood my theories will eventually surface somewhere down the line.

You recently settled in New York. Why did you move from DC to NY ? We imagine your music in an area like Chicago or Louisville rather than in the Big Apple, nowadays famous for the revival of rock & roll (The Strokes...) ?
I actually didn't move for any musical reasons. Actually, that's probably only partly true. DC is a great town, I met a lot of wonderful people there who remain good friends of mine, and I go back fairly often. But its musical scope is limited a bit by the Dischord legacy, which is an unfortunate consequence of the amazing things that the label and its bands have accomplished. I have a lot of respect for Dischord, and especially for Ian MacKaye, but my musical intentions right now don't have very much in common with them, and in DC's independent music culture, the hard truth is that if you make music that doesn't sound like it belongs on that label, you're a bit on the outside.
It may be that NYC is thought of as being the center of the rock revival, but that's only one little piece of what's going on. There are tons of other good bands that don't sound anything like the Rolling Stones or Velvet Underground that are doing creative things around town.
To answer your question, though, I moved mostly because my girlfriend was living in New York and because I needed a change of pace.

By the messages in the news section on your website, you seem to have a lot of fun playing live. How does it feel to be able to play your music in Europe Holland (VPRO) and Belgium (Dour Festival in July). (We hope to see you in France soon...)
It's a great honor and great pleasure to bring our songs to Europe. Getting invited to the VPRO festival and the Dour Festival was a wonderful shock. Until then I hadn't even considered the possibility that we would get to play in Europe, and definitely not before we've even released our first full-length album. We still haven't even done a full tour in the United States!
To be honest, performing used to be something that I didn't really look forward to. I didn't fear playing shows, but it always seemed that writing the songs was more rewarding to me. Part of that was that I used to be nervous about actually getting up in front of people, but with every show I'm getting a bit more comfortable with my role, a bit less self-conscious. At the risk of sounding like a new-age hippie type, I'm also learning to appreciate it more for its communal aspects, for bringing people together in one place and harnessing all of the energy that the audience and the musicians bring into something bigger and more beautiful than either were alone. It's something that I always knew implicitly from going to many concerts and having had some transcendent experiences, but I don't think that's something that most live performers appreciate instinctively.
Hopefully we'll be able to tour a lot more after the new album comes out. We would love to be able to come back to Europe and to go to some of the places that we've never played at before, like France.

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