Sunday, October 21

Alum Marc Maynon mixes genres on ‘Download Jesus’

Digitally released in October 2013, "Download Jesus" is the first professionally produced album by alumnus Marc Maynon.

Digitally released in October 2013, "Download Jesus" is the first professionally produced album by alumnus Marc Maynon. Courtesy of Marc Maynon

In 2005, UCLA alumnus Marc Maynon snuck into a music practice room in Shoenberg Hall with his friend Bobby Parker. Since that day, the pair has traversed the Sunset Strip and venues across Los Angeles and San Francisco.

“I think it started when we snuck in and (Maynon) played the piano and I played a trash can with drumsticks,” Parker said. “It was pretty ridiculous.”

Maynon’s most recent album, “Download Jesus,” released on Oct. 19, 2013. He said his album takes listeners through four tracks of builds, backing instrumentals and arrangements. He has trained in singing, acting and dancing, and earned a degree in musical theater.

While at UCLA, he played two shows at the recently closed Westwood Brewing Company along with Parker as guitarist. At the time, they played together in a band, Leonine, which Maynon said had a classic rock sound.

Maynon and his band members would travel to Venice, Pico-Robertson and the Sunset Strip to play at concert venues and open mic shows, which Maynon said opened up the doors to a non-college environment.

“Playing music live in L.A. was sort of responsible for getting us off campus, which I think is just as valuable of an experience for a student at UCLA as staying on,” Maynon said. “I think that going off campus is where you find more of who you are as a person and not just a student.”

“Download Jesus” is Maynon’s first professionally produced album. During the writing and recording process, he said that he also promoted the album and tried to raise funds for it. Maynon’s brother Joshua Krey, a graphic designer, created the artwork for the album and plays drums on the record.

“I call it folk-rock pop,” Maynon said. “The album has (several) major influences: ’60s psych rock, late-’90s-to-early-2000s Brit pop, classic rock and classic folk rock and glam rock”.

The album title, “Download Jesus,” was influenced by a concept from the movie Underworld.” Maynon said that in the film, when a werewolf bites somebody, it “downloads” the entirety of its consciousness into the one it has bitten.

In addition, his father, a pastor, enjoys sharing scholarly papers on theology with Maynon and receiving feedback. Maynon said that one day he came to wonder, “What if, in a way, we are downloading Jesus’ consciousness” similar to the phenomenon in “Underworld.”

Parker plays guitar on the first track of “Download Jesus,” titled “Man of Many Faces.” He said that the album is personal but also very easy to connect with and is layered with many sounds that Maynon has experimented with.

“It’s definitively rock,” Parker said. “Some of the songs have that Billy Joel-esque piano rock, and then there’s some that are more on the folk side, like Cat Stevens and Neil Young. It all has this ’90s Brit pop filter as well.”

Maynon and Parker have composed music for a short film by director Herman Ming titled “Techno Bubble.” Ming said that Maynon is able to adapt to anything that he needs to do musically.

“There aren’t any sort of limitations on his part, in terms of genre or style of music,” Ming said. “He has his own personal interests, which is very apparent in the album he just released; but in terms of working with others, he can adapt.”

Ming, who has been to several of Maynon’s shows and performances at open mics in Los Angeles, described the musician’s presence on stage as energetic and able to capture the spirit of the songs as well.

“It’s a very fun album to listen to,” Ming said. “It’s a combination of a slight pop sound, but then also a hint of melancholy and nostalgia.”

Maynon said his background in acting has given him a love for the stage. He currently resides in San Francisco, frequently playing open mics at notable locations around the city.

“(Bobby G’s Pizzeria) has to be the coolest open mic venue that I have ever seen,” Maynon said. “They have a house band that will play your songs with you, and almost all the time if you go, you will play. By far, for me, it’s a huge step up from the places I used to play in L.A.”

Maynon said that the open mic venues in Los Angeles are generally oversaturated. He has played frequently around Los Angeles for the past seven years and recorded several other independent albums along the way.

“If you are really crazy about music, then go for it,” Maynon said. “Make it your thing and stop investing to try and put yourself out there. Take that one thing you love and do it.”

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