Blue Hill-based jam band Merther looks forward to getting back to Mainely Brews

I really enjoy chatting with new-to-me acts, and such is the case with a quintet of musicians who have formed a jam band that goes by the name Merther (Tony Margaronis, bass and backing vocals; Cam King, guitar and vocals; Kyle Chick, percussion; James B. Morang, keys and backing vocals; and Josh Bowden, drums and backing vocals) and they play in a style they call Psychedelic Dub Funk. I discovered they were coming into Mainely Brews in Waterville on Saturday, Aug. 22, so a phone interview was arranged that had co-founder Cam King calling from his Dedham home to fill me in on his group’s history, sound and vision. I began by checking to see if the information I received about them being based in Blue Hill was correct.

King: Well, we started in Blue Hill in 2012 and we played out of there for the first two years, but we don’t practice in Blue Hill anymore, we practice in Dedham in the Bangor area.

Q: How did your band come to be a jam band, and how did your particular style develop?

King: Well, we definitely took some inspiration from all the jam bands. We weren’t quite as structured as Phish or the Grateful Dead, but we do take a lot of influence from them. You can hear it sort of in our sound, but we are definitely more of like a free-form jam band. We will do an entire 10 or 15 minutes of just literally straight improv. It just sort of happened, really, we’ve written songs — we have structured material, but there’s always sections of each song that are completely improv. It’s basically the music that we like and we try to incorporate everything: there are elements of jazz, there are elements of funk and reggae and psychedelic rock. It’s just all the music that we really enjoy. So that’s really how our sound has sort of morphed throughout the years.

Q: So that means, even if it might be the same structured song that people are familiar with, it could be different every night.

King: That’s sort of what we go for and that’s why there’s a group of people who follow us around and go to all of our shows because they know it’s not going to be the exact same show as the last time they saw us. You never know where the jam is going to go, it all depends on our moods at the time and where we’re at in our lives; you can hear it, it’s all put into our music. That’s what our aim is to do is to give people a different show even if they were to see us three times in one weekend.

Q: Now have you performed at Mainely Brews before?

King: Yeah, we’ve actually played there twice. We played there in August of 2014 and we played there this past May and we’re going to be going back this August, too, on the 22nd.

Q: How do you find the crowds there?

King: Honestly, I love the scene there. There’s a ton of people who really like the music that we play and we always get a pretty good group of people dancing for us — that always feels really good. We people dance, which they do at Mainely Brews all the time. It sort of creates this energy flow between us and them. It’s like a kinetic energy flow that sort of fuels itself. We’ll be playing our jams and we’ll be feeding off the crowd’s reaction. That’s what I live for, that’s personally what I love because I think it’s like a sacred kind of reaction.

Q: Is there anything you’d like to pass on to the folks reading this article?

King: Well, I guess just that we’re here and we’re not going to stop doing what we’re doing. We do it for the love and we do it for the fun and we encourage everyone to do what they love to do and encourage others in doing what they love to do. If that were to happen then we feel like the world would be a better place. So, yeah, do what makes you happy — that’s what we’re doing!

Q: Watching you guys perform on those YouTube videos it’s easy to see that Merther is definitely doing what they love, that’s for sure.

King: Yeah, absolutely. We all share this dream and we’re all in it together… the dream is to be able to do what we love to do and not have to worry about being caught up in the rat race or worry about making three hundred bucks at the end of every week so that we can survive. Yeah, so that’s what we would probably pass on to the people reading this: if there’s any inspiration that anybody can take from what we’re doing it just makes us that much happier!

Lucky Clark has spent more than 45 years writing about good music and the people who make it. He can be reached at [email protected] if you have any questions, comments or suggestions.

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