Rising to the national stage (with help)

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The five-piece, Providence, RI-based synth pop act Magic Man, who are currently touring with Walk the Moon.

by Chris Leo Palermino

By the time a band develops this expansive of a sound, it would be only be surprising if industry and blogosphere folk didn’t catch on.

For Boston/Providence-based synth rock act Magic Man, it surely wasn’t an overnight success: vocalist Alex Caplow and guitar/keyboardist Sam Vanderhoop Lee began collaborating as a laptop duo in ’09 during college. The duo, which has since expanded to a full five-piece band, reappeared with the soaring single “Paris” in February and since formed a relationship with Neon Gold/Columbia.

We chatted with Lee after they released their major label debut, “You Are Here,” on how to write ‘triumphant’ songs, working with Alex Aldi (Passion Pit producer) and playing to crowds of young Walk the Moon fans.

Metro: On your bandcamp, you prominently call yourselves a ‘triumphant synth rock band‘ which is quite the proclamation. How does Magic Man live up to the expectations?

Sam Lee: It’s a reference to one of our favorite bands, Explosions in the Sky, who [at one point] posted a listing which said ‘triumphant rock band seeks drummer.’ It’s a little silly, but we try to pack as much emotion into our shows as possible. We only put out stuff to people that we’re enthusiastic about and that really helps, especially live.

Metro: Magic Man just released their first release on Neon Gold. How did they find you?

S.L.: Lizzie from Neon Gold [ed. note: also co-leader of indie pop act MS MR] found us on bandcamp and had a good response. We’re big fans of their blog, and we ended up working together. Everybody’s really happy about it.

Metro: “You Are Here” has Alex Aldi, who worked with Passion Pit, mixing and producing. How was working with him?

S.L.: So, we met Alex Aldi through Passion Pit’s manager. It was our first time working in a proper studio and we were picky because we’re so used to working on our own. He’s an incredible producer and helped with production, polishing, finding the right songs. He’s got the whole package, from production to mixing.

M: You guys sure have gotten a lot of opportunities. What would you say the best moment has been so far?

S.L.: Our first show with Walk the Moon, at the Pavilion in Columbus, Ohio [on August 30] — walking on stage to a packed crowd and playing new material. Also, when we finished the EP, I brought it home and played the whole thing to my parents. [They] said, “hey, this is pretty good.”

M: Well, both of those are pretty awesome moments. How has the tour opening for Walk the Moon been going?

S.L.: It’s really great. They have a younger fan base, so there’s always people there while we’re playing. A lot of the Walk the Moon fans are younger and want signed CDs — which we’ve never done before. We’ve almost sold out.

Listen to their debut EP, “You Are Here” and catch them with Walk the Moon tonight at Terminal 5. 

This is part of a Metro Boston and New York music column called Locally Amped. Follow us on Twitter @LocallyAmped.


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