Dimensional, Visceral, Introspective, Cerebral, Imaginative, they are great words aren’t they, and are words that best describe the collective chemistry that pumps through the veins of Maitreya, all with a very unique individual voice to be heard.

The true magic that lies within is reflected through the heart of their music which is a genuine representation of a much larger energy as a collective musical entity. Their expression of various philosophical spectrums, whether it be Political, Social, Psychological, Emotional, and Spiritual from existential philosophers like Nietzsche, Camus, Sarte, Mill, Rousseau, or Jreg they fully enrich their lyrical content, giving them a vessel to express their multifaceted interests, bringing those views to life as an artistic entity that exists in the band today.

Formed in high school around 2013 and based in Whitby/Oshawa, Ontario, Canada, the early origins of the band started to stir when founder members and guitarists Mark Wylie and Matt McCabe skipped class, got high, started to jam, and wrote a song with mind blowing results. Now both reading off the same page, the realization kicked in that they had a certain musical chemistry together, and kept the spark alive for the next few years, exploring a deeper consciousness within their creative flow. As the project grew and members joined, this predominantly remained as an instrumental project until their vocalist joined in 2016.

Now, with a back catalogue of material, the boys went on to play at the Oshawa Music Hall opening for The Divided Line to a packed house along with The Rivoli in Toronto. Along the way they have played alongside Arkona, Adversus, The Frame Defect, Pillars of Autumn, Devouring Saturn and Her Majesty The King, all racking up their recognition and portfolio of experience, yet are still regular faces in their local circuit at the Atria in Oshawa and Sneaky Dee’s in Toronto, with a line-up that now consists of Mark Wylie – Guitar, Matt McCabe – Guitar, Matt Cutrara – Vocals, Lyam Morrison – Bass, and Steven McMillan on Drums.

Matt C, found his voice at home where his mother would encourage him to sing in front of the family. From there he took up guitar by grade 7. It wasn’t until the 9th grade that he found the real power and potential within his voice, whereupon he focused on his screaming technique, moving on to teaching himself piano by grade 10. Now inspired by Tesseract,

Protest The Hero, The Contortionist, Breaking Benjamin, Periphery, Between The Buried And Me, Twelve Foot Ninja, The Dear Hunter, and Vulfpeck, Matt continues to push the boundaries of his vocal abilities, evident in the performer you see and hear today.

Mark started his journey originally on piano aged 12 moving on to guitar around the same time, and has quite an eclectic inspiration ranging from from Miles Davis, Allan Holdsworth and Pat Metheny influencing his Jazz interest, Koan Sound, Trifonic and Pendulum within the Electronic genre and sphere, Meshuggah, Periphery and Animals As Leaders in the Metal world.

Matt M, first picked up his axe at 8 years old, and now approaches 20 years of shredding. His inspirations lie across multiple genres, from Job For a Cowboy to Josh Groban including Protest The Hero, Invent Animate, Veil of Maya and even such Broadway Musicals as Wicked, Rent and Les Miserables, all adding to his repertoire and portfolio of sound.

Lyam, followed in his father’s footsteps, taking up guitar at a young age, but migrated to bass around 12 where his focus still lies. Inspired by Who bassist John Entwistle, along with bands such as YES, Nine Inch Nails, Black Sabbath, Funkadelic,

The Contortionist, and The Ocean, Lyam now cuts that perfect groove in the rhythm section with compadre Steven on drums.

Steven started pounding the skins at 13 years old inspired by Protest The Hero, Veil Of Maya, and Pink Floyd to mentor his style, and now sits proudly on the riser powering his machine for the band with a masterclass of syncopation with partner in crime Lyam on bass.

As a band, this multifaceted compendium of influences sculpt the band today, leaning on Periphery, The Contortionist and Tesseract for their general direction.

In a recent interview I asked Matt C what drives them as a band, he told me;

“Mark is definitely the singular driving force behind the band, and we literally wrote a song about it called Catalyst which features as a single off of Hyper Reels. Each band member brings something unique to the table, but Mark is undoubtedly the driving force”.

So I asked Mark what the meaning was behind the band name, he replied;

“Maitreya is a Sanskrit translation for Future Buddha. While none of us are practicing Buddhists, we all felt this type of character was a positive vessel that could embody lore of our philosophical and spiritual musings”.

I followed this up by asking what they have learnt about themselves as a band on their journey so far, Lyam started by telling me;

“For me a big thing has been voicing my opinion whenever I have something to contribute. Even when someone has a pretty good idea of what they want to accomplish it’s always better to add something to improve it. Subtle things can drastically bolster the flow, even when something doesn’t get used the contribution helps draw out the best in the creative effort”.

Mark went on to add:

“Patience and non-attachment have been big things for me. It takes a lot of time for things to come to fruition, and in that time that’s when the growth happens. I’m the If You’re Not First, Your’re last type of guy, so I like things to be done in a rush – which is not how bands operate when dealing with the livelihoods of four other people. Also, learning to detach yourself from the outcomes or the product of your labour. You only set yourself up for failure when you create expectations of the results. Just gotta let it be and be steady on the course”.

Matt C told me;

“One of the biggest lessons we’ve learned is how to stay organized and how to structure our writing/business process. Someone has to be the hard ass to keep us on track, and someone has to inject some fun chaotic energy into the process. Both roles are equally important to the stability and growth of the band”.

I went on to ask Matt C about their songwriting process and how they would overcome any creative blocks, he explained;

“Mark will write the skeleton of most instrumental demos, and the rest of the instrumental band will contribute adding flesh to the bones. lyrics and melodies are added on top of the demos. Sometimes we have a strong conceptual basis for songs, and sometimes I use my own personal inspiration”.

Mark added,

“To overcome creative blocks, there are a couple strategies I use. One you have to mix up your process – so whether that’s creating new tones, writing in a new style, exploring new keys, emphasizing a role on a secondary instrument. Whatever it is, don’t do what you normally do. The second thing I will do is actively look for inspiration and then steal or imitate something to get the ball rolling.

A third approach is to look outside of music, I find inspiration in philosophy/spirituality, in visual art, in movies etc. Sometimes you need to take breaks which isn’t the answer people want to hear. The other thing that is important is keeping your ego in check.

Don’t fool creative blocks as really being an overbearing ego that is judging what you write too early in the process.

Sometimes the silliest 10 seconds of music for me launches my best songs, and if I had judged how insignificant those first 10 seconds were I wouldn’t have arrived at the good stuff minutes in”.

As the lead vocalist, I asked Matt C if he has the same persona on and off stage, and if there is anything he wished he had known before starting a career in music, he went on to say;

“That’s actually something I’m in the process of learning, is what kind of stage presence I would aim to create. My persona off stage is very goofy, wholesome, slightly chaotic, and mindful. But I still at this point in my musical career am still in the process of creating the conceptual ideal of what I want my stage presence to be. I wish I had taken my piano more seriously because in the past year it has immensely benefited my writing”.

Finally, I asked the lads what they enjoy the most about being in this, they replied;

“Playing music with friends is incredibly rewarding, whether it’s on a stage or just in our jam space. Becoming a cohesive unit with other people is always enriching regardless of what you’re working on together. We would say that the feeling of a room filled with swirling sounds and people you love is a highly spiritual experience that I can’t get enough of, along with being able to creatively express ourselves alongside people you love who also share a similar creative vision”.

And that brings me nicely to the album in question here, Hyper Reels.

Almost creating Chill Out Metal, these boys have most certainly pushed the boundaries of what can be achieved in their genre, or have they created a new one here, as they utilize every ingredient possible in their vast recipe book of inspiration, to create this delicious soundscape of multifaceted mayhem.
Laced with a cacophonous collection of moods, this whole album takes you on a rollercoaster ride of emotion that crashes through the airwaves like a runaway train, before setting you free on a sea of tranquility with a multiplex of ambient textures and syncopated rhythms, then stoking the engine once more for the ride of your life.

The hard to soft vocals here, from demonic screams to dulcet tones, walk you though the storyboard and your own minds eye, for as brutal as the core of each track can be, those shades of darkness are coloured in such a way that they lead you to the light, leaving you in a more thoughtful frame of mind. After all, you have to fight the fight before you find your peace.

At this point in any article, I would be picking 4 tracks that would tempt our readers into buying this album, but I’m sorry, I can’t do it, the whole album is genius. If you want to take a chill pill with a difference, yet still keeping yourself on the edge of sanity, I suggest you press play, pick a link of your choice below and get these guys in your collection as soon as its available on June 25th.

Star Rating – 10/10

To close, I asked the band if there was anything else they wanted our readers to know, they wrapped things up by saying;

“We’re working on a new album expecting to follow up Hyper Reels in 2022”.

So why not clear a space in your collection and give Maitreya a try for 2021.

                                                                                                               © Stargazer Music Magazine 2020

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