Maudlin Magpie's Jason Horodyski on songwriting and names
Jason Horodyski got a bit of a step up early on, playing shows with Ian Cooke and Emily Frembgen. From the onset, his literary approach to songwriting shone through, and the subtle resonance and clarity of his songs spoke to a spare style that gave the melodies and textures space to communicate to listeners — and between performers — in a deep but gentle manner.
Over the last handful of years, Horodyski has worked with talented collaborators including former Des Tours bassist Adan Hernandez; genius multi-instrumentalist and singer Robin Walker of Cougar Pants; and Chris Bullock, who gave the Nicotine Fits soul with his keyboard work. All three contributed to the latest Maudlin Magpie release, the poignantly evocative Two Maple Keys.
Maudlin Magpie's latest lineup — Katie Gold, former keyboard player with Lady Parts; drummer Luis Chaves; and bassist Lander McLees — will help bring Maple's songs to life for this show. We recently spoke with Horodyski about how he got into songwriting a little later than many of his peers, and about the humorous and poetic meaning behind the name of the band whose earnest but never dire music is anything but laughable.
Westword: You only started writing your own songs a few years back. What sparked your interest in doing so?
Jason Horodyski: I think I tend to be more of a quiet guy in terms of what I really feel and what I think about. With music, it's something that feels innate to me, and it's a way of communicating things that are very different from what you might expect. I'm a very even-keeled kind of guy. Just sharing in the pains of humanity and recognizing the commonalities between people and how we suffer, I think, in a way, was helping the universe fit together for me. The way I talk about it, it sounds like my music is confessional, but it's not autobiographical.
Maudlin Magpie is an interesting and suggestive name for a band. How did you come up with that?
It was a joke between my friend Naomi Greenstone and I. Maybe it's sort of a self-criticism, with the "magpie" being kind of talkative and a little too wordy. The English side of me going from writing short stories and paring it down and saying something that I wanted to say was kind of tricky at first. The "maudlin" side was interesting. I thought Nico said, "rigor maudlin," but she's actually saying "We will go wanderin'" in "Venus in Furs." I just thought it was interesting because it was tied into Mary Magdelene, who is often portrayed as an overly sentimental woman. It's also kind of a pejorative term used toward women at that time. It just stuck.
"Maudlin Magpie," as in sad-bastard music, perhaps.
Yeah, "Beat the critics to the punch," as [one critic has] said about the name.
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