Bandsintown Big Break: You’ll Fall Hard For The Marías’ Sultry, Psychedelic Soul

Don't miss an exclusive playlist of the band's choicest tracks!

By Min Chen - Dec 12, 2018
Following the recent release of their second EP, Superclean Vol. II, Josh Conway and María of LA-based psychedelic soul band The Marías share more about the group's origins, their songwriting approach, and how they survive on tour. Don't miss an exclusive playlist of the band's choicest tracks!

Helping music lovers find new acts to obsess over is kind of our thing. With so many emerging artists to choose from, we wanted to let you, the fans, in on who’s going to be everywhere soon. That's why we're excited to announce Big Break, a new feature that highlights everything you need to know about the fresh faces turning the industry upside down. From the secrets behind their viral tracks to their big plans for the future, read on for the 411 on the industry's most promising up-and-comers.

It’s impossible to spin up Superclean Vol. I, The Marías’ 2017 debut EP, without falling hopelessly under its sensual, languid spell. Within it are slinky rhythms (“Basta Ya”), gently pulsating riffs (“I Like It”), and nocturnal moments (“Superclean”) that showcase the Los Angeles outfit’s supreme grip on groove and atmosphere. Once listen and it's clear why the band has dubbed their sound 'psychedelic soul'—even as it swirls with a heady sensuality, it retains a tender, seeking heart at its center.

Since joining forces in 2016, LA native Josh Conway and Puerto Rican-bred María have perfected their sultry musical blend, and roped in three close friends to supply lush backing–Jesse Perlman, Edward James, and Carter Lee. From their Hollywood Hills base, the five-some explore the alluring reaches of funk, jazz, lounge, dream pop, and soul, pulling together the diverse tonal influences that give their tracks that smooth eclecticism. Hear it for yourself in the playlist below, compiled exclusively for us, in which the band line-up their all-time favorite songs.

 

Now, there’s more where that came from. The band’s second EP, Superclean Vol. II, hit the airwaves last month, containing a fresh batch of velvety numbers including the tropical swoon of “Cariño” and irresistible funk of “Clueless.” Already riding high on ones-to-watch lists, The Marías are now trailed by a growing fanbase that greets them at any one of their moonlit shows. On the eve of them breaking big, we tracked down María and Josh for a chat about their beginnings, their LA neighborhood, and their Ones To Watch tour. And mark your schedule with the band's forthcoming tour dates, including their much-anticipated LA headline show on March 29.

 

We’re absolutely loving your new EP! How should Superclean Vol. II be best enjoyed?
María: Best enjoyed with headphones on, drinking wine on a balcony with an amazing view— like in a treehouse in the forest or in the middle of the desert watching the sunset.
Josh: I think for optimal enjoyment, you should listen to it on headphones while skiing or snowboarding. I’m not sure why, but I feel like that would be most enjoyable.

“Clueless” is an absolute stunner of a single. How does a song come together in the band? Does it begin with a sound, a groove, a lyric, or…?
Josh: Maria and I usually start with a melody or a groove; but writing always starts somewhere new every time. “Clueless,” in particular, started as a melody sung by Maria, accompanied by a bass line sung by myself. A lot of our songs start out acapella like that. We have fun doing it too.

What first drew you together to make music as The Marías? Do you remember the first song you wrote together?
Josh: When we first started making music together, there was no “Marías” or any official project. We had just started dating and we both enjoyed spending time with each other writing or recording. The first song we wrote together was “Déjate Llevar.”
María: After we wrote “Déjate Llevar” together, I knew we had a special chemistry and that we’d write more songs together.

 

How would you describe the band’s dynamic in three words?
María:
Boys annoying me.
Josh: Work, laugh, work.

Your music definitely captures the cool, sensual enigma of Los Angeles and the Hollywood Hills. How have those environments been significant in influencing your songwriting?
María: There’s magic and history in these hills, and I think we pick up on a little bit of that energy. It’s hard not to. It also makes us work harder. When we walk our dog, Lucy, around these hills and neighborhoods, we pass by amazing homes with nice big yards, and we dream of living in one of them one day. Lucy keeps bugging us about having a yard to run around in.

What surprised you the most when The Marías played together for the first time? And what continues to surprise you with each live show?
Josh:
When we first played together, I remember thinking how easy it felt. Obviously, we had never played together before but it felt like we had been for years. I still get surprised at our telepathy at each live show. We’re always on the same page while performing and all it takes is one glance and the other person will know exactly what’s going on.

What will you be packing for the band’s Fall run of tour dates?
María:
This next tour I definitely want to pack things that’ll entertain me more in the van: books, a sketchbook, a writing pad, some thread to learn how to embroider, film for my Super 8 camera, maybe even a coloring book. I get really angsty and frustrated when I feel I’m not creating or doing something productive.
Josh: I like to pack as light as possible for tour because we usually do laundry any chance we get. Clothes-wise, it’s mostly sweat pants and T-shirts. And vitamins. A lot of vitamins. Being in a van for 6+ hours every day with the same group of people can get stuffy, and no one wants to get sick nor do they want to get other people sick. Although it’s almost inevitable.

How do you spend your down time on the road?
María: The only down time we have is in the van, and there’s A LOT of down time in there. During our last tour, I was reading Brian Wilson’s autobiography and listening to the inspirations/influences he mentioned in the book and following along and listening to the Beach Boys discography. I also listened to a lot of podcasts. My top three favorites are Radiolab, The Joe Rogan Experience and StoryCorps.
Josh: When we’re in the van, I usually like to make beats on GarageBand because it’s easy and fun. Other than that, I drain my battery using my hotspot for Netflix and such.

What is your biggest, wildest hope for The Marías?
Josh: Stage choreography and pyro, Backstreet Boys-style.
María: To tour the world with a traveling animal rescue or vet service. I don’t know what the logistics would be for that, but something animal-related.

What first comes to mind when you hear the phrase “Big Break”?
Josh: Joey Tribiani as Dr. Drake Ramoray. It was his big break. The Marías

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