Mauno Reveal the Vision Behind Their "Com" Video and How Relinquishing Control Makes Better Music

Mauno Reveal the Vision Behind Their "Com" Video and How Relinquishing Control Makes Better Music
Photo: Henry Acteson
The percussion rattles like shattered glass, then the driving guitars kick in like hurtling objects on a collision course, before frontman Nick Everett begins singing in a wailing high croon like a man who's just been bruised.
 
Considering such hard-hitting playing from Halifax indie rock quartet Mauno, what else should Everett and company have done in the video for "Com" than press their faces against a piece of Plexiglas, all the better to see their smushed-up features, as if they were attempting to mimic insects crashing into a windshield.
 
Thinking back on the fun, vanity-free yet vividly memorable clip from the single — a highlight from their recently released album Tuning — Everett recalls how it was inspired by guitarist Scott Boudreau's "nephew in an Instagram video."
 
"Scott had a piece of plastic, and he was rubbing his nose into it," Everett tells Exclaim! "You can hear this kid in the background giggling, so we just decided to use our faces as instruments in the same way for the video."
 
Bassist Eliza Niemi adds that "We had to clean out our noses really well for this video, because we were pressing our faces up against the Plexiglas and after my first take it was covered in snot."
 
"I hired a director and said 'Please do exactly this,'" Everett adds. "Then I gave everyone specific orders for their shots, and before long we had a fun, unique video for only about $200."
 
While that sense of fun permeates much of Mauno's playing, such direction from Everett is a rarity. Everett collaborates with Niemi, Boudreau and drummer Adam White in a free flow, and they all strive to avoid being tyrannical visionaries. For instance, the slow grooving Tuning highlight "Anything Anymore," could be mistaken for a song by Niemi, seeing as it finds her singing distinctive lyrics like "I don't want to smoke anymore… without you."
 
Yet she recalls that: "Scott wrote that song, and originally the lines were 'I don't want to wait anymore,' and it started to change. Nick started singing it and I started singing it, and we came up with a bunch of different verbs we wanted to use. Some of them were funny, like 'I don't want to sing anymore' or 'I don't want to fuck anymore.'"
 
Everett says that lighthearted, collaborative approach works best for Mauno, "because having any control over it is an illusion, and an ego trip. The whole process is about collaborating. Scott and I were in a band before, and I tried to micromanage, and we all hated music by the end of it.
 
"It's also about not being really precious with the ideas," Everett adds. "If the band votes on an idea I have, and it's three against one, then that's fine. Sometimes you need your friends to tell you to drop it. It's like having boogers on my face, and I need my friends to tell me I have boogers on my face."
 
Then Niemi quickly cuts in, with another giggle: "No, no, that was me with the boogers, in the 'Com,' video."
 
Tuning is out now on Idée Fixe Records. Check out the "Com" video below.