Intertwining nostalgia, dancing hearts and inspiring songwriting—Magic Man is ready to embark on a new journey by going on their their first co-headlining tour.
You might recognize them from their song “Paris,” which has over 15 million plays on Spotify, or from their track “Tonight” on the FIFA15 soundtrack. The band, which originated in Boston, is finishing up their second album that will be released later this year.
Before they kicked off their tour in Carborro, North Carolina, I chatted with Sam Lee, who plays the guitar and keyboard and is one of the co-creators of the group, along with frontman Alex Caplow. Lee and I talked a bit about pear cortatas (yeah, first time I’ve heard about them, too), their collab with The Knocks and 9:30 Club’s cupcakes. See them play there on April 10. Get your tickets here.
Karla: How excited are you for the Hotline Spring Tour?
Sam Lee: I am incredibly excited. I mean I love all tours, but this one in particular because it’s almost a year since we were on tour so I’m super pumped. We’ve been in the studio for the past two months in New York, and then we were working on the album before that. We get to play all these songs live so yeah, I’m pumped.
K: It seems it’s going to be fun because you have The Griswolds and Panama Wedding! How do y’all get along with them?
S: To be honest, we really don’t get along at all but that’s okay. Just kidding, we’re all really good friends. We’ve worked with Panama Wedding many times before, and the Griswolds, we’ve played a bunch of shows with. We’ve become friends from sort of traveling and shows, touring with the same people, they are awesome. Touring is kinda like a family—when you’re on the road with the same people for like a month, two months, so I couldn’t be more excited to be with these dudes.
S: They’re awesome, incredibly talented, all great people and all really fun to play with. It’s kinda fun to play with new musicians that bring new styles that kind of have new approaches to the songs, so it’s really awesome to hear fresh perspectives on the songs that we’ve been playing for a couple of years, and now new songs that we’re actually working on for this tour. So it’s been great! Can’t wait to hang out with them.
K: There’s news that you will finish the new album before the tour starts. How is it different than Before the Waves in terms of sound and your approach to it?
S: We’re in New York finishing it up now, it’s nearly done. So if all goes according to plan, it should come pretty soon. Um, in terms of Before the Waves, I mean, I feel like it was kind of the first time we really wrote a record and everything so we were kind of still learning how to process and this time around we kind of had a better sense of what we wanted. We knew that we wanted to take the energy from our live shows, bringing it to the record and sometimes that meant stripping back the production, having fewer layers, and we wanted to push ourselves in both directions. You know, have bigger moments and smaller, intimate moments and then also try a bunch of different, sort of, try to push ourselves in terms of style and genre a little bit, not just—not that the first album was a one trick pony, but we do feel like we found a sound and kind of honed in on it and we’re trying to diversify a little bit.
K: I know that geography played a big role in Before the Waves—is there anything like that that is core in the new album?
S: Hmm, that’s a good question. Not as many place-name songs this time around, although I think we will have one about our hometown Boston. This time around, there’s obviously a lot of things that have changed in our lives from being just college students to being touring musicians and just kind of what it’s like being away from home for so long and being away from your friends, family, people you’re in a relationship with or whatever. Yeah, I feel like not as many place name songs. I think we tried to get a little more personal with the lyrics and everything this time around and try to figure out what we want to write about and how we want we want to say it. Hopefully it worked.
K: You were featured in the album 55 by the Knocks! How fun was doing that collaboration?
S: Yes, the song “Cinderella” that we did with them was awesome. Those guys are great! We definitely played a bunch of shows with them and have known them for years, so it was fun to finally get in a room and play on their album. They’ve been working on this for quite some time, and everyone’s so excited for them that they got it out and they’re doing so well. It was a great opportunity to, like I said before, try something that we wouldn’t do in our own music.
K: If you were a dessert, what would you be?
S: Realistically, I’ll probably be another helping of the entrée because that’s always my move, I’m not a sweets person. I’m always hungry and I have a very fast metabolism so I would sneak in another helping. But, my mother makes a really great pear crostata—a pear pie tart thing—and that’s awesome, that’s my current favorite thing. My mother is great. I was home the other day to get all my stuff for tour and I got some great desserts—I always look forward to having them.
K: What cities or venues are you most looking forward to play at?
S: Definitely 9:30 Club—it’ll be the first time we play there headlining or co-headlining, playing last which I’m really excited about and I obviously love playing at all the cities. I’ve never been to Edmonton, Canada, so that’s probably not an answer everyone says, but I’m sure it’s a wonderful place. I’ve never been there so I’m excited to play. Obviously excited to play the new songs to our friends and family in Boston, it’s been awhile since we’ve done a full tour show there. We’re finishing the tour off in Florida, and we haven’t been there in two years or something. Excited to just lay on the beach at the end of tour.
K: Magic Man has been a band for six years—
S: Oh shit.
K: What’s in store in 2016 for you?
S: Obviously the big thing is hopefully getting this record out to the world like I said, we’re almost done. I’m so excited to get that out, and really, I’m sure every band says this, but I can’t wait to get on the road again just play more shows, play for more people and get back to doing what we do.
K: I think it’s beautiful how you interact with your fans and how they respond and interact with you guys!
S: Yeah, I feel like we have the best fans. We couldn’t do it without them. Some of these fans have been fans for years now and we get to know them and see them at our shows and see them at shows of our friends’. It’s a collective Magic Man family.
K: What is your goal as a band?
S: Become rich and famous, own an airplane … When we started this band, we weren’t trying to do anything. We weren’t even trying to find a record deal. We put our music online for free, we really just wanted people to hear it and play shows and have a good time doing what we love. That’s still the goal and now with this record, we’re lucky enough to have a slightly wider audience and to be able to play to larger crowds of people. We still feel like we are in that DIY show in Boston. What it comes down to is, we love doing this and it doesn’t feel like a job at all. We love doing this every day—writing, touring or collaborating with people like The Knocks, you know, all this stuff is a dream come true so we’re going to keep living the dream as long as possible.
Featured Photo Credit: Courtesy of Jessy Gonzalez’s Flickr account.
Karla Casique is a sophomore journalism major and can be reached at email@example.com.