[INTERVIEW] Mainland

Whiskey, tacos, barbeque and gangsta rap are just a few of Brooklyn-based band Mainland’s favorite things – and the band is one of ours. When now-best friends, and then-un-joined musical forces Jordan Topf (lead crooner) and Corey Mulley (guitar) met at a party in 2010, they knew the formation of a band together was inevitable. As California natives-turned-New York locals, Jordan and Corey enlisted fellow Golden State’ers Alex Pitta (bass) and Dylan Longstreet (drums) to spread the sound, because, as Jordan says,“What’s better than playing in a band with your best friends? Not a whole lot.”

The post-grad libertine life found Jordan a man with a plan…and a van (Lucy). The Mainland boys hit the road, making a quick stop in Austin to produce their EP Shiner with Spoon’s Jim Eno. After self-releasing the four-song EP in early 2014 and showcasing their stuff at SXSW, Mainland found themselves signed to a label – a game-changer that Jordan attributes to Macaulay Culkin. The story starts with The Pizza Underground (Culkin’s pizza themed band) pulling a Home Alone on their booking agent, Jake, leaving him without a ride, and Mainland the heroes to the rescue. En route to New Orleans, a combo gas station/casino was home to a bonding session fed by gambling and whiskey. Far from the shady combo businesses and back in New York, Jake invited 300 Entertainment (Young Thug, Migos, Fetty Wap) to their second Mainland show. “It was a rock ’n’ roll booze cruise, and that’s the show we got signed at!” remembers Jordan vividly.

Fast-forward to the couch, Jordan had just spent a week in Los Angeles working with producer Caleb Shreve (Phantogram, Bear Hands, Ra Ra Riot) on tracks for the band’s debut album. “The album has a lot of different sentiments in it…I just try and create emotional connectivity in our stuff. I just want to make people feel something, feel a part of something,” says Jordan. The connection was obvious when Mainland took the stage at 11 pm on a Friday night in Brooklyn at the Brooklyn Bazaar, drawing the largest crowd of the acts thus far. It’s the autobiographical honesty that Jordan taps into as a lyricist that had the crowd “feeling something.” Playing two songs off their EP during their nine-song set, Mainland’s new stuff was straight fire. Infectious, addictive, and dance-inducing, songs like “From the Ashes”, “Lush”, and “Outcast” (which may or not be their next single) had girls swooning, heads bobbing, and hearts beating in easily recognizable gold. Jordan’s charismatic stage presence and pure energy (think Mick Jagger and James Brown), and the obvious happiness and fun being had, made for some great audience interaction. “Looking for a little bit of disarray”, sang Jordan, which is how they seemed to feel when the crowd started singing along – “That’s never happened in Mainland history!” Jordan tried to capture the moment with a picture, while chants of “One more song!” began.

Photo Credit: Nadine Suleiman

Just two hours from premiering those songs at the Brooklyn Night Bazaar, Jordan spoke about the new direction the band was taking its music – evolving from nostalgic, grungy teen angst to a more pop oriented, yet still rock ‘n’ roll based sound. So what’s next for the rising stars? Mainland hopes to record the album in March, drop a single shortly thereafter, release the album towards the end of summer, and tour across the U.S. (and maybe Canada, eh?) around the same time.

While you await the release of their debut album (eagerly, we should say), you can catch Mainland at DMD Fest in Dallas, Higher Ground Festival in Denver, or in the comfort of your room via Spotify (cd and vinyl also available). Don’t worry, no one will judge you when you can’t stop dancing.

“I’m at this point now that I’m just trying to accept change. We’ve been doing this for almost 5 years, and always hoped for us to get signed and go make an album, but never pushed too hard for it. I knew it would come when it was supposed to, and now we’re ready.”

And so are we.