It has been three years since last I chatted with a member of the prog-rock band from the Belfast-Rockland area known as The 220s, with Joel Watson (guitar/vocals), Ian Maddox (guitar/keys/vocals), Jason Dean (drums) and James Taylor (bass/vocals). Their self-titled, five-song EP really grabbed my attention, so when I heard they were coming back to Mainely Brews in Waterville to help celebrate the changing of the year, I really wanted to reconnect and see what — if any — changes had come about in those three years. A call was placed to James Taylor on his cellphone.

Q: Do you have a few minutes to chat this evening?

Taylor: Yes, we’re actually at our rehearsal spot getting ready to play. All three of us are here.

Q: Oh, cool! You alluded in one of your emails that there had been some changes in the band.

Taylor: Well, we were a four-piece. We had a keyboard player/guitar player, Ian, and a drummer, Jason, and we have parted ways. We ended up hiring a new drummer who’s a really good friend — Mark LeClair. So that’s the new line-up and the one on the new album I just sent you, “Body Down.”

Q: Is that album a fair representation of what you are like live?

Taylor: Ah, yeah, mostly. There are a few songs on there that spilled over from the first EP that we put out. We wanted to refresh them and kind of update them as we were, and it’s a culmination of that and some new songs we had written post the new formation of the band.

Watson: I think stylistically it encompasses a lot of our live sound.

Taylor: Yeah, and it captures us at that point in time. I mean, there’s a lot of stuff that — since we recorded it — has changed a little bit. What we’re doing now is working on getting a single put together — we’ve had such a crazy, busy year we haven’t had time to actually focus on album promotion or getting visual stuff put together. That’s around the corner.

Q: Well, being busy is a lot better than just sitting around. I mean, getting out and playing really spreads the work in a big way. That really helps a lot.

Taylor: Yeah, I hear ya.

Watson: Yeah, absolutely.

Q: Now, the single you were talking about, is that “Two Mirrors”?

Taylor: Yes, we’re getting sort of a shorter version — radio-friendly version — for that, and we’re actually going to have a B-side on there that’s not on the album. It’s a song we put together that’s kind of an Americana song. It’s a different style, but I think when people listen to it, they’ll think, “Whoa, they play this kind of music, as well?” So we try to cover all of our favorite genres — mold them all together.

Watson: We just like so much music. I think all of us are kind of a little geeky when it comes to how much we love music, so you’ll hear a lot of that on the record for sure, how many different styles we try to tackle.

Q: You seem to be doing a lot of work at Mainely Brews in Waterville.

Taylor: Yup, we’ve been booking there. We’ve got New Year’s Eve there coming up.

Q: That’s the show I’ll be highlighting with this column, actually.

Watson: Yeah. It’s definitely one of the best stages in the state to play on. It’s very close and personal. They’ve got the lights. They’ve got the PA. Everything’s really nice.

Q: And I would imagine the crowds are pretty solid up there, too.

Taylor: Yeah, it’s really cool. There are a lot of familiar faces that come to see us, and that’s really pleasing. There’s a good response to us up there.

Q: When you put on a show, do you basically do your own material, or do you mix in covers, as well?

Taylor: Well, it’s all that and everything in between. It’s a lot of jamming and improv, too. We do specially themed shows, and I’m sure we’re going to work out something special for New Year’s — some sort of secret show. Our fans know that we like to keep things secret until the moment comes, so we can’t say any more about that.

Q: I understand that completely. Is there anything you guys would like to pass on to the folks reading this article?

Taylor: Just to check us out online. The whole album is available and we’ve got a website. Go to www.the220s.com.

Watson: Like us on Facebook.

Taylor: Yeah, that’s right. So just check us out, and if you already know about us, make sure to keep spreading the word and the music around. The music does the work itself,. You know, the proof is in the pudding, as they say. We also try to keep our energy focused on the band, because you get what you put into it.

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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