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The Maloy Brothers blur country, rock boundaries

The Maloy Brothers blur country, rock boundaries

Will play Pauly's Hotel in Albany Friday night
The Maloy Brothers blur country, rock boundaries
The Maloy Brothers
Photographer: Kiki Vassilakis

The Maloy Brothers, a genre-bending band out of Clifton Park, are always experimenting with their sound.  

And that’s a good thing. 

With songs like “Boston,” they lean toward rock, but singles such as “In It” are solid country. 

And while country can seem like a tribe, a cultural identification as much as a genre of music, the Maloys' music removes that codification, stripping the sound back to what it really is: music.

Brothers and founders of the band, Alex, 25, and Chris, 28, grew up in Valatie in Columbia County. Chris picked up the piano at a young age before he began playing saxophone and guitar. Alex followed suit, picking up the guitar as a teen, though he focused on songwriting. In high school, they were in a pop-rock band called Civilian (though only after Chris begrudgingly let Alex in). Chris went on to study music at Schenectady County Community College before transferring to SUNY Oneonta, where Alex was studying anthropology. There they played in a rock band called Stay Gold, performing mostly in Oneonta.  

It wasn’t until 2015 that they officially became The Maloy Brothers, blending country with rock, pop and soul. They do just about everything together, and it’s apparent not only in their banter but in their music. 

Before their show at Pauly’s Hotel in Albany on Friday, in which they’ll perform with bandmates Nick Cavin and Jarod Grieco, the two sat down with The Gazette to talk about beginnings, country music and brotherhood. 

Q: So you’ve been playing together since 2008, [first in Civilian and then Stay Gold]. How long did Stay Gold last?
Chris: Stay Gold didn’t really end, it just fizzled out. We roomed together at Oneonta and we started writing songs together. Alex started really getting into country music.
Alex: I don’t know what happened. I heard a Jason Aldean song and I was like "Excuse me, I didn’t know that country could rock." From there it just evolved. I roped [Chris] in, I got our mom listening to country music, which she would never do. 

Q: Why country [music]?
A: I think I just fell in love with the songwriting. It was just so different and formulaic almost.  
C: I think partial credit has to go to Tim Lynch -- the guy that we recorded with who owns The Recording Company. I think [he] had been talking about us two writing songs together, and without even looking up from what he was doing he just said, “The Maloy Brothers” 
A: And everything fell into place. 

Q: So what drew you to your style that’s [a mix of] rock and country?
C: The song “In It” is the most country on the EP we’re recording. The rest is more rock. 
A: Except that all the songs have banjo and mandolin. So I think the textures are still country. We’ve been [exploring] playing them as if they were rock instruments. It’s been a lot of fun. 

Q: What’s your songwriting process [like]?
C: It starts with Alex. 
A: Usually I’ll have an idea pop into my head. Then I’ll come up with a rough structure and I bring it to [Chris], and we hash out the rest together. 
C: I help him edit a little bit. Not to say that he needs editing, but if he has an idea that he’s been obsessing over then I can come in and go "I can hear this coming next,” because I’m a little more impartial at that point. That’s kinda how we wrote, “In It.”  
A: That was actually really funny. That song just happened when we were practicing and I had this idea, and he [said] "You’re going to sit down and in five minutes write it." [At first] I was like "No, I want time to think about what it should really be about." Which was stupid. 

Q: Do you think the genre has changed since you started listening to it?
C: I think country is really interesting because in a way it’s its own music industry, in its own bubble. It’s infecting what’s on the radio now, too, but there’s your Luke Bryans and your Florida Georgia Lines. But there’s that newer class, like Brothers Osborne and Chris Stapleton. It’s not necessarily more traditional, [but ] it’s more organic. It’s coming from a slightly different place. It’s interesting to see the tide shift. It helps us, too, because the first couple songs that we recorded were us really trying to fit into that "radio country." Then when we did “Boston.” We kinda said screw it. 
A: [We wrote] the song how we felt it should be written. If it’s too rock, that doesn’t matter.
[It was] the first time we did the rock thing but [weren’t] afraid to throw banjos and mandolins into it. People liked it the most. 

Q: Do you feel supported as musicians around here?
A: There’s definitely a good community. Everyone has been really supportive. 
C: I think we are a little weird because a lot of times people have a certain, I don’t want to say prejudice because it’s kinda a strong word, against country music. If you’re not into country music you’re way out of country music. But we don’t really play by the numbers country either, so . . . we’re a little too country for rock and a little too rock for country. 

Q: You mentioned that you're working on an EP?
C: Yes. It’s all done being recorded. 
A: I’m thinking we’re going to put it out in the fall.
 
Q: What’s the funniest thing that’s happened [onstage]?
A: When we were playing at the Fox (in Oneonta) one night, we covered “Fast Car” by Tracy Chapman and [afterward] a burly dude came up to us, gave us a $20 and was like, “Fast Car” is my favorite song. Thank you so much for playing it. It was [a] tender moment. 

Q: Who do you take inspiration from?
A: This might be because I just saw her show, but Taylor Swift. I think she’s the best writer. 
C: The Night Game, Jason Isbell and his band. 
A: I think both of us really love '90s alternative rock.
C: Matchbox 21, Eve 6, Gin Blossoms.
A: I mean we’ve covered all of those bands. 
C: But even in terms of the arrangement of production, it has a very specific sound. 
A: Looking back, those are country.

Q: There [was] another band called The Maloy Brothers from years ago . . .
C: Our boys! 
A: We finally got them off of our Spotify account. 
C: It was confusing for a few years. I bought their CD. 
A: It’s scary though, because I’m like, “Or is that just us in the future.”
C: They’re three years apart like us, too. They could be us. Time will tell. 
A: That’s their album name.
C: It’s kinda scary. 
A: A little prophetic. 


Real Talk, Tiny Hueman, The Maloy Brothers, and Luciano Ferrara 

WHEN: 8 p.m. Friday 
WHERE: Pauly’s Hotel, 337 Central Ave., Albany
TICKETS: $7
MORE INFO: paulyshotel.com

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