Recently, the Jamwich team had the pleasure of witnessing these talented, young, fresh faces at Gathering of the Vibes known as, “The McLovins”. After having our ears blown we knew we had to get the scoop on them. Here I sit down with their percussionist and vocals, Jake Huffman and we discuss the upcoming Catskill Chill festival, alternative careers and Playboy magazines.
Kaylee: Hey Jake, thanks so much for being with Appalachian Jamwich today. How has your day been so far?
Jake: My day has been really good. I’m with my mom right now up in Hunter, NY for the Levon Helm Tribute.
Oh that is really neat. We were up at Mountain Jam this year and we saw the tribute for Helm which was incredible.
I love Mountain Jam! We are hoping to play there next year.
Its such an awesome venue – it is more than a festival, you know?
Definitely, we played there 3 years ago and it had just rained so everyone came inside cause nobody wanted to be outside and we had a huge crowd.
It seems like it always rains at Mountain Jam.
Well, it worked for our benefit! So, thank you rain.
What makes The Mclovins special?
We are a little bit younger than most of the bands out there in the jam scene. We are definitely one of the youngest jam bands to start up recently. That is the first thing people notice, is our age The Mclovins have been around…since I was 15 so, for 4 years. We are in the jam scene but we have a more jazz background. We do a lot of improvisation but not just on rock, we do it over jazz chords. It’s more progressive. We have been working on song writing a lot too. I think we have a unique sound that is made up of many different genres and different influences.
What are some of your favorite songs to play on stage?
We go through phases, when Jeffrey was in the band we played a lot of Phish, some Rush, like “YYZ” but recently we’ve been playing a lot of Grateful Dead and we love playing Cripple Creek. We play some weird stuff too like the “Hey Arnold!” theme song.
Speaking of the Grateful Dead, your set at Vibes was jammin’. We loved the covers of Phish and the Dead. Who are some of your other musical influences?
Personally, for me, for song writing I love Jeff Buckley and I love Elvis Costello and Paul Simon. A lot of the structures of our songs have similarities to those artists. Everyone loves the Grateful Dead and Phish, obviously. Mainly, we’ve been listening to a lot of the Dead.
Well, you can’t go wrong with The Dead. Have any funny things happened to you on stage recently?
One time when we were younger, at Gathering of the Vibes, we were playing and it was one of our first huge shows. All of the stage hands were making fun of us for being so young, playing around with us and everyone in the audience is yelling at us, throwing Playboy magazine’s at us. And actually the bouncer took the magazines away and didn’t let us have them because we were too young to have them.
Hysterical. Like you’ve never seen one of those before…
I had never seen one of those before… on stage! Haha.
Hahaha, well is there a “mom” of the group, someone who keeps you guys in line?
I book the shows, Justin and I do the social media stuff together and Jason records the shows and we all kind of pitch in and take care of Atticus. We are all pretty responsible and take care of each other. We are one collective mom!
You are a responsible group!
“Sometimes” is better than none of the time. Don’t be too reckless yet. What excites you most about Catskill Chill?
Catskill is put on by a lot of people that we really love. The people who put it on are really incredible individuals who really like music and helping out bands. We just love playing in front of the patrons at Catskill because they have such a deep passion for music. Attendee’s are really supportive of the bands especially at Catskill Chill and the people we play for, it won’t be the last time we see them. We’ll see them at different festivals and concerts down the road. I’m really excited to meet the other bands there too.
Who particular are you most excited to meet? I mean, we love the entire lineup but whose brain would you really like to pick?
I’d love to talk to Conspirator, I know they are there. It’d be cool to talk to The Heavy Pets. I haven’t seen them in a while so it’d be cool to reconnect.
Where did The Mclovins name come from?
Four years ago we posted a video on You Tube covering Phish’s, “Your Enjoy Myself” and it went viral. Overnight it got 50,000 views. Right now it has around 300,000. I think our video has more views than any Phish YEM video. The first 500 comments on there were, “Wow your bass player and guitar player really look like Mclovin from Superbad” and they just kept focusing on that. They were like, “This band is really good but man, look at Mclovin over there on bass” so they kinda just named us the Mclovins. That’s what people were typing on You Tube and on Phantasy Tour – the video went viral so it was all over the internet forums and jam board. Everyone was saying “Check out the Mclovins, check out the Mclovins” so our fans really named us. It’s kinda cool.
That is really neat and look now, you’ve got Relix and Rolling Stone talking about you guys and giving you some incredible compliments. How does it feel to be recognized by major media outlets?
It is a really cool feeling to be a young musician and to get “success” with what you are doing. It’s really inspirational to know that we are on the right track and what we are doing is working. It gives us a lot of courage to follow our dreams and know that there is a possibility to be successful at what we love to do.
I think that is so impressive to have them back you up because it gives other people the extra nudge to take the chance and listen to you.
I hope other bands start to do it too. A lot of times we’ll see people out there who think, “Huh these kids are doing it, so why don’t I try to do it?” I hope other people won’t think it’s as hard to get recognition.
Going along with what you said, do you have any advice for up and coming musicians or people trying to make it in the music business?
Coming from an artist perspective, the main thing is to make sure that the songs you write and the music that you are creating is very genuine. Polish and make everything you do perfect before you put it out there. If you take the time to really work on your craft and your art and yourself as a musician, it really does show 10-fold on stage. Posting your music in as many places as possible – especially YouTube is so important in this day and age. Really it is only a matter of time before someone listens to you and tells someone and then you get picked up by people.
I really like rocks and minerals. I would do something in the field of geology.
What does your family think about your musical career?
Our families are the ones who helped us get our start the most because when we were 15 and getting a bunch of offers to play shows, we couldn’t play these shows in the bars or festivals without having our parents there. We need a chaperone. Our parents don’t really come to as many shows anymore but they used to come to every show with us. My mom still helps me manage the band now. We have definitely very supportive parents and we couldn’t have gotten nearly as far as we have without them.
What are your up to date performance plans? New releases? Studio time? Tours? Do you have any big news you want to share?
Starting on August 10th we are going on our first tour down south. We are going with the band Flux Capacitor. Five shows in North Carolina, four shows in Pennsylvania, and one or two shows in New York.
I’m so excited for you guys. You are gonna have so much traveling around. Alright, one last question. Describe your band in 5 unique words.
Improvisational – Hmmm — I wish Atticus was here, he is good at these things. Um, happy. Energy… Telepathy – definitely a lot of that happening on stage — Interpersonalization.
Wow, those are really good ones. I don’t think you needed Atticus’s help!
Well, thank you.
And thank you for such a fun interview. Stay in touch and if you are ever in the Baltimore area you’ve got a place to stay with us.
Absolutely, I’ll let you know when we pass through.