Genders returns to Fayetteville after Built to Spill tour

Genders / Courtesy

Portland, Ore. band Genders is a self-described casual rock-and-roll band made up of singer/guitarist Maggie Morris, guitarist Steve Leisy, drummer Katherine Paul, and bassist Matt Hall.

The band’s songs are warm and textural, often hiding a pop song within a wall of sound. Genders’ excellent debut GET LOST is full of unexpected stylistic shifts and lyrical depth, and this is just on the record’s first two songs.

You may have caught the band in Fayetteville last Fall, or in Little Rock opening for Built to Spill – if not, they’re back in Arkansas at the Lightbulb Club on Wednesday, Sept. 17 for a free show. Very recommended.

Who: Genders (Portland, Ore.) / LLinda (Fayetteville)
When: 9 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2014
Where: JR’s Lightbulb Club, 19 N. Block Ave.
More: Free / Facebook event

I talked to Maggie Morris about Genders on a tour break in Colorado and here’s how it went…

Give us a brief history of Genders. How did the band begin? What were the early influences? What did you want to write and sing about?
Genders began after the breakup of my previous project with Steve and Matt. The three of us continued, looking for the perfect fit for a drummer. It just so happened that Katherine’s musical project ended around that time as well, and we asked her to join the band. As far as songwriting goes, I just tend to write about personal things, a lot of times failed relationships… I definitely use it as a form of therapy. I write about things that I want people to understand about me, and often find a great sense of comfort to hear that people relate to them.

What was it like to tour with Built to Spill? How did that experience affect the band?
I would say that it was a dream come true, but it was a dream so far fetched that I didn’t even allow myself to dream it! I’ve loved that band for over 10 years, to go on tour with them still blows my mind. They are such a hard working, kind hearted group of guys. It was really inspiring creatively and professionally and forced us to up our game. It was an incredible experience, through and through.

I hear there’s a new EP in the works – any details you can share? Will you be playing the new songs at the show?
We just finished recording a five-song EP with Larry Crane at Jackpot Studios, it was a great experience. We still need to go back after tour to mix and master it, but they are already sounding great. We will be playing almost all of the songs at the show.

What have you been reading and watching lately? Has it seeped into the new songs?
I’ve been reading a lot of metaphysical type of books, self help books on mindfulness, and just started rereading my Spanish textbook on tour. I am kind of in this state of obsessively trying to reach a higher consciousness, to be open to new things, to be in the moment. I think it is affecting my songwriting in the way that I reject less of my ideas and stay open and creative. I think I reached a moment of over thinking some of what I was writing. Trying to move away from that, trying to explore my mind with a greater sense of freedom and confidence.

If you could trade places with any band – which band and why?
Tough question! I feel really lucky to be in a band with people I consider friends, I have had many band members in the past and I know how special that is… But I do wish that we could trade places with a band that was touring South America and or Europe. Anywhere outside of the USA, really.

You’re coming back to Fayetteville, Arkansas!?!
I really like it there! We showed up pretty late the last time we were there so we didn’t get to see much of the city… But we all had the best night! We met so many cool people that I felt instantly connected to, like we would be friends if we lived in the same town. I’m really excited to come back and I hope some of the same crowd comes back to party with us.

What are your favorite tour activities? And what can we expect the the show?
Tour activities include a lot of gnarly food, a lot of sitting, and a lot of waiting around. It’s hard to get actual activities in sometimes. But I just really like to walk and wander around a new city and pretend I live there, then only use my maps to get me back when I really need to get back to the venue. The show should be great, we have a fill-in bass player this tour, our friend Ethan Pierce. Matt had to stay home to work. But we got some new songs up our sleeves that we really love playing… We think you will love them too. Really excited to see y’all again!

Genders – “Technicolor Vision”